'It made me feel different in a better way'

It made me feel different in a better way
"My body felt lighter and I felt more energetic than when I eat during the day."

Dubai - It was mid-Ramadan 2014 where Kerimov went to his university's mosque and decided to adopt Islam as a way of life.



by

Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Thu 8 Jun 2017, 8:21 PM

Last updated: Mon 12 Jun 2017, 5:48 PM

Three years ago, Alex Kerimov was an atheist. But his perception of life completely changed when his curiosity about Islam led him to read about the religion.
Being surrounded by Muslim friends, 27-year-old Kerimov said he was introduced to the religion indirectly over the years. In fact, the first time he ever fasted was in high school at the age of 16 as a non-Muslim.
"Everyone around me was doing it. All my friends, including my two best friends, were Muslims so I did it to feel the less fortunate who don't have much food," noted Kerimov of Russian-Azerbaijani origin who's been a Dubai resident since 1996. 
Starting to fast in the summer, he said the difficulty was in not having water, especially during the sports class. However, the experience made him feel "different in a better way". "My body felt lighter and I felt more energetic than when I eat during the day."
It was not until 2014 that Kerimov had an epiphany. He always saw two ends of the spectrum through his experience with Muslim friends, which made him raise the question. "I was surrounded by practising Muslims whom I felt peaceful around, yet I also saw the other side that ignored Islam and sometimes refused to acknowledge it as their religion.
"I wanted to know more about the religion that many people seemed to either follow it as a way of life or fully ignore its presence." 
Reading books and the Holy Quran, what intrigued Kerimov, he said, are the facts mentioned in the Quran that was proved by science thousands of years later. "Then I wondered who can write all these detailed facts and know these miracles even before science prove it? I always thought there's a higher power, but never gave it a name."
Slowly, things got into place. It was mid-Ramadan 2014 where Kerimov went to his university's mosque and decided to adopt Islam as a way of life. He fasted through the remaining days and prayed. 
"My life is more organised and structured now as I schedule my day around the five prayers. Before Islam, I went with the flow without a certain goal. Now I prefer having a structure and living by it because Islam isn't just a religion, it is a way of life," said Kerimov. 
For him, fasting now is second nature. "Ramadan is the time you're supposed to try to get closer to God and elevate your spirituality. It is God's way of making it easier to get back to him. He opens the path to him wide and closes the others as if to tell us 'it's either you stay where you are or come towards me'." 
sherouk@khaleejtimes.com
 
 


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