For me, that first night of suhoor in Ramadan is always magical. In my family, I wake up and prepare a Turkish breakfast that’s, eggs, sucuk, tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, and olives. And of course, brewed Turkish tea. It is my ritual to prepare the table first, then wake my kids.

I like the idea of suhoor feeling like a treat, a special gift shared between us while the rest of the world sleeps. That first night is filled with both humble awareness of the missed opportunities for rewards over the past year and the glowing hope of the opportunities for the year to come, starting with the perfection of Ramadan.

This blessed month is a strange juxtaposition of the most intimate moments between us and our Lord, while simultaneously focusing on the outer relationships with those around us. A month of sincerity, honouring the rules of fasting that nobody but Allah can verify; while also about the rights of others, outer deeds of kindness, giving and sharing to those around us. It is about turning back to Allah, but also, about uniting us all together.

But it is not like that for all of us within our ummah. The first few Ramadan’s after I got divorced were extremely difficult. I remember feeling lost, like my kids and I no longer fit into the Muslim community.

I was no longer being invited to iftars as couples or families because it was awkward for everyone, and I could not invite people to my house for iftar because I could not afford it. I cried most of that month.

One of my friends from university has been a Muslim for 8 years. I remember Sally explaining her first few Ramadan’s as a new Muslim. She told me she would wake up alone in the middle of the night for suhoor.

She had to keep her Islam away from her parents because she was afraid of their reaction. In those early hours, she would just have a few slices of bread from the packet and a glass of water. Sal did not have a lot of support. She told me that even though she was excited for discovering Islam, she felt lonely and confused.

Sometimes, such essential parts of our deen are weighed down by our personal circumstances. Particularly when others cannot understand our struggle, we can lose sight of the bigger picture. As a result, the purpose and passion of vital acts of worship can be lost.

But we have come a long way.

Organisations like the National Zakat Foundation can restore some of those voids when it really matters. They have partnerships with other service providers within the community, so if they cannot provide the support we need, they can put us onto those who can.

Contact them this Ramadan. Do not struggle emotionally, financially, and spiritually. Let NZF lighten that burden, so we can go back to focusing on what Allah wants from us.

Contact- www.nzf.org.au or 1300663729