UAE: Worried about fasting, 23-yr-old Muslim convert shares how he survived day 1 of Ramadan

Salah, who has a Jewish father and Christian mother, says his background gives him 'a unique perspective on religious coexistence'


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Tue 12 Mar 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 12 Mar 2024, 11:46 PM

For 23-year-old Mohammed Salah, who converted to Islam in January, his first experience of fasting was surprisingly 'effortless'.

“Fasting during Ramadan was surprisingly easy. Mental preparedness played a key role. I was as energetic as suhoor during the iftar,” he said.

Salah likened the experience to the energy he felt during the early morning Fajr prayer. “The Fajr prayer was something I had not experienced earlier. The only thing that existed in my mind the whole day was that I wouldn't be even having a sip of water,” said Salah.

“Before embracing Islam, I always thought about how Muslims could fast for a month. It was a fear when I accepted Islam. Finally, I did it and all thanks to Allah, it was at ease. The mental readiness was the key,” said Salah.

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Salah's journey into Islam began with a profound curiosity sparked by an unfortunate incident – the tragic mosque attack in New Zealand in the year 2019. He embarked on a quest to understand the teachings of Islam, a religion that advocates peace and unity. Guided by a sense of compassion, Salah found solace in the teachings he encountered during his exploration.

“I was born to a father of Jewish faith and a mother following Christianity. My diverse family background provided me with a unique perspective on religious coexistence. I had read the Bible and the Torah. As my mother and father belonged to the religion of books, which helped me understand the Quran a bit early and better,” said Salah.

It was in January of this year that he formally embraced Islam. “I felt a connection with the principles of Islam, especially its emphasis on compassion, tolerance, and unity. It became clear to me that true strength lies in embracing diversity,” said Salah.

Having arrived in the UAE last year, Salah found a supportive community that further fueled his spiritual journey. The melting pot of cultures and religions in Dubai offered him an environment where people from various backgrounds coexist harmoniously.

Choosing a new name

Mohammed Salah chose his name with profound significance, combining elements that hold deep spiritual resonance. “Mohammed, a name revered for its purity and association with the Prophet Muhammad, reflects a commitment to a righteous and virtuous life. The choice of Salah as the second part of my name is the importance of prayer in my newfound faith,” said Salah.

For Salah, every time he hears his name called, it serves as a gentle reminder of the sacred act of prayer. “This intentional naming reflects a personal journey intertwining identity and spirituality, creating a harmonious connection between my chosen name and the spiritual practices that have become an integral part of my life,” said Salah.

Volunteering for a good cause

A recent graduate, Salah has chosen to devote his time and energy to volunteer work for an Islamic organisation in Dubai. “My commitment to community service aligns with my belief in the importance of contributing to the well-being of society."


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