So today was my first day of being able to pray (I did ghusl first, don't worry!) and that was just what I did! I'm going to start slowly - so one or two a day, and then build up to the full five. After all, I can't really plunge into Islam headfirst - baby steps are key! - so I will take it slowly and gradually build up to things. Lots of people would probably disagree with me, but to be honest if I jumped into it headfirst I'd get overwhelmed and probably feel very small.
I also did a fast - don't ask me why, I have no idea. I literally just woke up today and decided to fast. To say it was hard would be the understatement of the century, I think! My head hurt, I felt a bit dizzy and it was one of the greatest tests of willpower I've ever faced. I'm proud to say that I managed it and saw the whole thing through until 4:58 pm (GMT) which was when sunset was today. It really gave me a sense of how hard life is for those among us who don't have any food or water - or who have to travel for miles to find the nearest dirty well to drink from.
So often in the Western world we take food and water for granted and don't think about those among us who are suffering and who go for days without anything to eat or drink, and today that really hit home for me. The fact that I had food in the house but was not allowed to eat it only made the fast harder, but Allah swt helped me through it and gave me the strength to continue even when I wanted to give in. However, I'm not going to lie, when I was able to eat I was very happy!
Apart from that, today has been a very relaxing day. I did some more work on my dissertation and have finally broken the 10,000 word barrier subhan'Allah! It has to be 10-12,000 words long, so I am very pleased that I've broken that barrier with 2 months to go before I hand it in! Insh'Allah I can find the final 2,000 words and that I can get an interview with Mr Tony Attwood into it before I hand it in - he is a great authority figure on Autism Spectrum Disorder and has written some of the books that I am citing in my dissertation. The problem is that he lives in Brisbane and has been unwell lately, but hopefully we will be able to work something out!
One thing that I have noticed lately is a lot of people questioning me about various aspects of my faith - from which Quran I have to how many times I pray, and whilst I am happy to answer questions about my journey to Islam and continuing journey, I am not happy to be questioned in a Spanish Inquisition-style manner. One man did just that - he questioned me as if I had done something wrong, and then attempted to guilt trip me by saying that he would tell his daughter I "could not be bothered". Now don't get me wrong, I am more than happy to talk to people about any questions they have for me (as long as I am qualified to answer!) but I am not going to sit and read horrible words from a brother who wants to use his daughter as some sort of bargaining chip to get answers from me.
It's always a shame when brothers and sisters try to do such things, but all I can do is to remove them and make sure that they do not contact me. After all, life's too short to listen to such rubbish.