This article aims to provide some tips especially for those of our brothers and sisters who fast while living and working in non-Muslim countries or with non-Muslim friends and colleagues, with regard to coping with such surroundings and giving dawah. Many of these tips are applicable for when you fast outside of Ramadan as well.
- Gear up! Start by warming yourself up for the approaching routine both spiritually and physically. For a spiritual set-off, listen to recitation and translation on your way to work. It will refresh your memory for Qiyam-ul-Lail. Also the more you remember Allah, the more you will refresh your soul. As for physical and material preparation, get your groceries and other shopping done as early as possible. It will save you time for ibadah and Islamic recreation in Ramadan, and will also keep you away from malls and other places of “shar” where it’s difficult to guard your gaze and mind from distractions.
- Actions speak louder than words. The best way to approach someone with good advice is to begin and establish it from your actions and deeds. You will be maintaining a tight schedule in Ramadan, with all the meetings and appointments that you have to keep up along with the beautiful additional ibadah activities. You will be sleeping less due to the taraweeh prayers being late, if it’s the summer in your region. With all of this attributing to bring you to the edge, you will have to strive more than usual to remain calm and gentle. To bring the best in such circumstances is easier said than done, but your actions will set up a base for dawah and will influence those around you to be motivated from you. Follow the sunnah of the beloved Prophet Muhammed and sincerely set up the best behaviour you can come up with.
- Give people what they ask for and address the general curiosity. Your non-Muslim social circle will be curious about fasting and the changes it brings in your routine. Let them know that fasting is not just restriction from food but it is the purification of soul from all the worldly desires. It is an exercise to give up our bad deeds for Allah’s sake and to strengthen our bond with Him . Also, by denying the pleasure of this world for Allah during the fast, we learn to appreciate and be grateful for all what we have. It makes us feel compassion for the poor. In short, it’s training for us to increase self-control and accountability, to gain Allah’s closeness and love, and to give us a clear insight into the purpose of our lives:“O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)” [2:183].
- Do your homework beforehand and keep up your patience. Before speaking to anyone about Islam you should prepare for it.
“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and kind advice and debate with others in the kindest of manners for your lord knows best who has strayed from God’s way and God knows best those who are rightly guided” [16:125].
Talk to them in such a way that it will engage their curiosity and will be informative. You should be prepared to answer their questions so that their doubts will be removed. Do not go into the details of fiqh, but rather, concentrate on the basics. Also keep in mind that they might have some very piercing questions because of the propaganda about Muslims and Islam. Therefore you must not lose your patience while answering their questions. Find grounds to agree by telling them about similarities between their religion and ours. Always keep your manners and gestures positive.
- Create opportunities for giving dawah to your Muslim brethren who do not practice fasting. You can host an Iftar dinner at home and think of recreational activities like inviting your friends to some charity program in Ramadan. Take this opportunity to directly or indirectly approach the topic. Do not lecture them on their wrongdoing or tell them that they are misguiding their lives. Rather, explain to them through your reasoning that Islam and its teaching will make their lives better and fill it with inner peace. Tell them your own experiences that how Ramadan has made you better. You can also invite your non-Muslim acquaintances to it, so that they can be influenced by the collective sprit of the Ummah and the good deeds that the spirit of Ramadan evokes in a Muslim community.
What practical tips have worked for you when fasting amongst those who do not fast? Share with us in the comments below!
About the author:
Ayesha Khalid is a Software Engineer who writes in her free time through blogging and writing articles. You can visit her blog: Akz Archive.
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