‘I feel blessed,’ says the latest Muslim who marks first Ramadan in the UAE

The 23-year-old Ugandan barista became a Muslim just four days before the UAE fasting month began on April 24.

His first ever Ramadan is filled with prayer and fasting, and ample free time to learn more about Islam.

In 2018, Ssentongo came from his native district of Mityana to Dubai in search of jobs. But he had also sought spiritual consolation.

Ssentongo wrote He embraced Islam because he wanted to follow “the true religion” in which he did not need an intermediary in prayer to worship God or to communicate (pray) to Him.

He also sought to follow a “not changed” divine book since it was revealed – which he came to realize as the Quran.

His curiosity grew after some Muslim friends introduced him to certain facets of Islam.

‘I wanted to become Muslim’

He downloaded a Quran app and started reading. Ssentongo said he was particularly inspired by the first chapter, Surah Fatihah (The Opener of the Book), especially its verses, “All praise is for Allah…” and “You alone we worship and You alone we ask” – as this is what he had been longing to do all along.

“I understood this book, the Quran, is honouring only God without associating anyone alongside him, and that it guides people to talk directly to God in supplication, without going through anyone, not even prophets,” Ssentongo said.

“I wanted to become Muslim, I was thinking about accepting Islam. I started researching more about it. After a month of considering it, I finally decided I wanted to embrace Islam.”