By Busra Akin Dincer
LONDON (AA) – Muslims all around world are celebrating the start of the holy month of Ramadan this week. Some are fasting for the first time.
Anadolu Agency spoke to Yeohan Kim who has converted to Islam a month ago and is experiencing his first Ramadan in London.
Yeohan Kim, 29, has been living in the U.K. since he was four years old. He works as a model and was raised as a Christian by his mother who now lives in Korea.
Kim tells Anadolu Agency that his journey to Islam started when he heard the Adhan, the call to prayer, for the first time.
“There is a verse in the Quran that goes: ‘Through hardship there is a ease’,” Kim says. “I got bullied a lot, and I was bulimic and I was self-harming. I heard the Adhan and I wondered what that was, it was call to prayer and it was quite healing.”
Kim explains that he started searching and learned about Islam through Youtube videos. He pronounced his Shahada – a mandatory declaration of faith to become Muslim - a month ago, a moment he described as starting “breathing again”.
“I feel more spiritual,” he says. “I only read the Bible at church on Sunday and prayed at church on Sunday.”
“I was not really into religion,” he adds. “But now, since I have discovered Islam, […] when I pray, it is like giving thanks to [the Creator]. And I feel like when I am praying, I am not praying for material things. Whereas back in the day you just pray when you are in need.“
Reciting words of prayer is now part of his life, Kim says. He carries praying beads with him
Kim said that for his first Ramadan fast, his only struggle was “lacking coffee”.
Trying to find out more about his newfound religion, Kim was not completely sure about the first Taraweeh prayer - a special prayer of 20 rakats held at Isha time everyday during the holy month of Ramadan.
Kim says he was a confused about the Taraweeh Prayer, which marks the beginning of Ramadan, just before the first fasting day.
“I had never been to Taraweeh Prayer," he says.
"But on Sunday after the evening prayer they were getting ready for Taraweeh Prayer. I stayed because I thought it would be rude just to walk out. İt was quite soothing,” Kim adds.
“I didn’t know how many rakats [prescribed gestures and words] it was after the third one I saw some brothers leaving so I left.”
Kim enjoys the company of his Muslim brothers and sisters for iftar - the fast-breaking dinner.
As a commercial model and actor, Kim's passion for fashion did not change after he converted.
"Dressing well is good manners," he says quoting from famous fashion designer, Tom Ford. His favorite accessory is a necklace bearing the name of Prophet Muhammad, which he wears around his neck.
"I bought this necklace from a Turkish designer in London, Camden. I really want to go to Turkey, Istanbul, one day," he says.