A few years ago I had just been promoted and wanted to celebrate. I then went up to my colleague, and someone I consider a brother, asking him if he wanted to travel to London with me. He responded by saying “Khalid I can’t come to London with you, but how about you come to Hajj with me?”. That moment is high up there in the most awkward moments I have experienced.

Alhamdulilah I joined him, completed the Hajj pilgrimage, and I will be forever grateful to him for that. More importantly during our pilgrimage he would never remind or tease me about my initial plans of wanting to travel to London. He always made me feel like I was part of the original plan of performing Hajj.

The moral of this story is to always hold back judgement on people who are trying to become better (in this case me), especially during our holiest times. In Ramadan there are people who are branded as “Ramadan Muslims”, the description goes something like these people party, don’t attend mosque or pray regularly, and put their religion second. Then along comes Ramadan and they start to calm down, attend mosque and pray regularly, and overall try to strengthen their connection with Allah.

What happens as these people try to change for the better is that others start to judge them for only embracing Islam during the month of Ramadan. If anything “Ramadan Muslims” should be encouraged. I mean what better a time to change their lives for the better and seek a stronger connection to their faith than in Ramadan.

We shouldn’t make “Ramadan Muslims” feel awkward. We should make them feel normal, because it is through that encouragement and support that will make them continue their new found faith beyond Ramadan.

Imam Hamza Yusuf said during one of his Ramadan lectures “Allah’s door is always open, whatever you have done, just come back”. He said this very passionately with tears in his eyes as he knows that we judging each other is one of the biggest things that is tearing communities apart. Practicing muslims must always remember that, we have no right to stand guard at Allah’s doors of forgiveness, and the best thing we can do is embrace “Ramadan Muslims” and welcome them home.