'I offered my first-ever Taraweeh prayers'
Fatima said her first day at the mosque for Taraweeh prayers felt as if God was leading her by hand.
This Ramadan is special for Filipina Fatima Bacsal, who has been in the UAE for just over a year. She offered her first-ever Taraweeh prayers this year. Fatima, who embraced Islam a year and a half back, said she is basking in the ‘blessings of the holy month’ as suddenly things at work and home ‘all seem to be working’ in her favour, reports the khaleejtimes.com.
‘Last year in Ramadan, I had night shifts at work and it was hard for me to fast. I didn't have as much support as I have now, after joining an Islamic centre here in Dubai.’
Fatima said her first day at the mosque for Taraweeh prayers felt as if God was leading her by hand. ‘As soon as I entered the mosque, I found a woman who guided me through the process. I simply told her that it was my first time praying Taraweeh and she took charge! Although theoretically I knew how to pray, I needed someone to practically show me the procedure.
‘It gave me a sense of achievement. I walked out of the mosque feeling happy and light. I just couldn't help smiling to myself and thanked God that he taught me how to pray on my own.’
Living in the UAE is a blessing because of the ‘spirit of tolerance, peace and unity here’, she said. Her roommates and colleagues are supporting her and helping her fast by not eating in front of her. Some were even trying to fast with her, she said. ‘I am the only Muslim fasting in my apartment, yet my roommates don't eat until I open the fast. We all sit together in the evening and wait for the Maghrib azaan (call for prayer).’
Fatima's family, who are Christians and settled in the Philippines, call her regularly to check if she is able to fast comfortably. ‘My family has accepted my new religion and has given me the freedom to practise freely.’