A special time for Muslim converts

Grace (second from right) usually break fast with her university friends (from left) Mohd Izahar Sabtu, Nurul Mazni Sawal and Nur Fatiha Mokhtar.

RECENT convert Grace Aisyah Humairah is fasting for the first time this Ramadan and finds she is able to do so with ease.

The 24-year-old student said she could manage to fast for only two days last year, before she embraced Islam.

“I tried to fast but I could not do so for a full month. However, this year, I have not skipped a day of fasting,” she said.

Aisyah, who converted in March, said fasting now came easily to her.

“I do not feel tired or hungry. Sometimes I do not wake up for sahur (pre-dawn meal), but I can still last until it is time to break fast,” she said.

The broadcasting undergraduate who is studying in a public university in Shah Alam, said she would usually break fast with her brother or friends.

Alif usually break fast at the mosque where he would help prepare the buka puasa dishes in a few dulang.
Lee helping to prepare the dishes served in a dulang.

“Even though my brother is Christian, he sometimes buys me food for buka puasa,” she said.

Aisyah does not usually break fast with a heavy meal.

“I prefer something light, generally a few dates and a glass of water,” she said.

Aisyah will be going home to Limbang, Sarawak during the university’s semester break.

“Although my parents are Christians, they have been very supportive of my decision to convert to Islam.

“My eldest sister is also a Muslim convert, so food is not a problem at home,” she said.

She added that she and her sister were looking forward to celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri together for the first time.

“We have even bought our baju raya. We decided to wear white as it symbolises purity,” she added.

Meanwhile, 41-year-old Alif Lee has been trying to fast every Ramadan for the last 14 years.

“I have been studying Islam for a long time, but it was only recently that I decided to convert,” he said.

Lee, who converted in February, said he had initially decided to fast because he had many Muslim friends.

“Even though I have been fasting for the past 14 years, the feeling this Ramadan is different as I have completely accepted Islam as a way of life,” he said.

Lee, a single father, prefers to break fast at Masjid Al-Irsyad in USJ 1, Subang Jaya.

“There is a feeling of togetherness when you break fast in a mosque with fellow Muslims. It is also more meaningful,” he said.

Lee helps the mosque’s committee members in preparing the dishes to be served in a dulang (tray).

Having a meal in a dulang where a few people eat together is encouraged.

“It strengthens the feeling of friendship among Muslims,” he said.

Lee may not be able to go back to his hometown in Kelantan for Hari Raya as he might have to work.

“I will probably spend the first day at the mosque and am looking forward to it,” he added.

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