Q&A On Experiences Of Ramadan And Reverting To Islam
Dawud Lynas from Dewsbury New Muslims was asked to answer questions regarding his experiences of Ramadan and his experiences as a revert to Islam for the Paigaam Publications Magazine.
Q1. When did you embrace Islam?
I Converted to Islam in 1998 at the age of 19 whilst studying at university in Leeds.
I became interested in Islam at 18 after a Muslim friend gave me a book on the Scientific Miracles of the Qur’an, as he new I was looking into my native religion of Christianity. However, the bible gave me no real answers to my most important question as to what is the purpose of life? And what will happen after death. I was immensely intrigued about the notion of there been a final prophet which was prophesied by the prophet Jesus in the Torah and the injeel. After reading only until the end of the 2nd chapter of the Qur’an, I wanted to take my Declaration of belief in Islam.
Q2. What was your first Ramadan experience?
I remember fasting in the shorter days around December where Iftar was at around 4pm. My experience was spiritually cleansing, as I found that I could focus on increasing my knowledge and worship with out worrying about my stomach for a while. I loved participating in iftars at Muslim friends houses and enjoyed the taraweh prayer where I could listen to the Recitation of the most beautiful thing I had ever heard.
Q3. How does it differ to your Ramadan now?
Throughout my Journey and since my conversion, I now realise that the month of Ramadan is not all about abstaining from food and drink, or relations with ones wife from Fajar until Magrib, its about raising your standard as a believer, to do more prayers, do a good turn with both non Muslims and Muslims, guard my tongue even more from backbiting, controlling my gaze etc
Q4. How good is the link between reverts and the wider Muslim community?
I think the Muslim community can always do better. 15 years ago it was really uncomfortable to walk in some mosques, where people just stared at you with out coming over to welcome you. As an Englishmen, I was always brought up that it is rude to stare, however, there are something’s may be we just have to accept or Should we! The problem is that nearly all mosques don’t provide talks in English, they give a talk before Jummah prayer in Urdu but hardly in English, and I fear for the newly converted that they may be put off by this, which is an important point as to the Muslim community that facilitating for the English Speaking Muslims. However, now mosques are becoming more aware that there are those native to this land who are converting and want to integrate with the wider community and slowly but surely it is improving.
I think converts have an un realistic expectation that when they convert all Muslims are great and follow the religion as it should.
Q5. What do you think needs to be done to improve relations between reverts and the wider Muslim community?
1. Every Mosque should have a an outreach worker who is in charge of Looking after New Muslims and facilitating non Muslims to be welcomed in the mosque to spread the message of Islam. I think this person should be a native as they understand how to approach there own people better and can empathise with their needs.
2. Jummah Prayer Translated into English and other talks
3. A Safe space or center for new Muslims and a place where we can attract non Muslims to learn about Islam and get over the misconceptions arising, a promoting the peace and tranquility that Islam has to offer