Ramadan in UAE: Azan gives me solace and takes away all my stress, says new convert

Rahma talks about her transition and how she found her peace Islam

by

Nandini Sircar

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Published: Thu 30 Mar 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 30 Mar 2023, 2:06 PM

Rahma, aka Raiza Alexandrea Garcia Sun, who was formerly a Christian describes her journey to Islam as a ‘reversion to Islam’ and that it was ‘like coming home’ as she enters deeper into the faith.

Having been born and brought up in the UAE, Rahma who took ‘Shahada’ in December 2022 says, “I remember when I was a child, I used to feel scared of the Azan as my house was close to a mosque. But after a few years, I got used to it and then I started to realise that I actually find it calming,” says the 29-year-old Filipino expat who lives in Dubai.

After going back to the Philippines to finish her university education, Rahma returned to the UAE looking for a career.

“Jobs can be very stressful, there is no easy job. Whenever I would hear the Azan, it would give me solace and take away all the stress that I had in my head.”

Rahma talks of her growing up years when she used to be an active member of the church. “I was also a member of the church choir. Every religion is beautiful. But I found my peace in Islam. My mother has been one of my biggest supporters. She was very happy when she heard about it and saw me in a Hijab. She told me ‘baby you look very beautiful in a Hijab’. These were her first words. She was really happy for me.”

Having been inclined towards Islam for many years now, Rahma opines some of her friends who had also converted to the religion, proved to be encouraging.

“I met some people who later became friends, who also told me how they had converted to Islam. Some had converted due to marriage and for others, the conversion came from their heart. They narrated stories from the Holy Quran which proved to be inspirational, giving me peace and hope. I felt I was shutting myself off from external noises. It gave me a feeling of being safe. It’s an amazing feeling.”

Talking about her transition, she says it’s been effortless for her, as she was “never sitting on the fence. I was always sure of the direction.”

“I used to be very fashionable earlier and would wear my hair loose. I used to wear dresses. But once I embraced Islam, I felt I was the most beautiful person on Earth in my abaya and hijab,” adds Rahma who works at Emaar's technical department.

Reminiscing how everyone received the news of her conversion, Rahma avers, “I sent WhatsApp messages to friends. That’s how my friends first got to know that I had converted. They sent heart and flower emojis. Everyone was very happy and positive about it. They all knew that I had been contemplating to doing this for a long time. People were really open-minded.”

Rahma’s first Ramadan

Although, this is the first Ramadan for Rahma as a practising Muslim, she has been fasting for quite a few years now, expressing her solidarity with her colleagues.

“Even earlier, I used to fast every day with my Muslim colleagues. So, fasting is not new to me. But this Ramadan is certainly special.”

“I took Shahada at the Islamic Centre in Satwa. I had just gone for a briefing session with a friend of mine. But something within me told me that day that I was ready. Then the lady who gave me Shahada taught me the fundamentals of Islam, outlining what to do and what not to do.”

“Everyone was surprised. But it was going on in my head for a long time to embrace Islam. So, I finally did it,” explains Rahma who highlights that the English version of the Holy Quran given to her by the centre is particularly proving to be helpful this Ramadan.

“When I took Shahada and embraced Islam it was a surreal feeling. I felt as if there was some positive energy in the room. That moment was extremely serene. That urge to follow Islam came from the bottom of my heart.”

Describing her first Suhoor she says, “It was very special. I had set an alarm for 4am to prepare for Suhoor, and since then, that’s what I’ve been doing. Then at Fajr I pray, and go straight to work. I also follow all the prayer timings. I realised it was my inner calling.”


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