Islam convert loses beer, finds inner peace
MARCOOLA mechanic Ky Jeffers misses cracking open a cold craft beer but the sacrifice has helped him find peace.
Mr Jeffers, 45, is abstaining from all food and liquid this month as Muslims around the world fast for Ramadan.
He converted to Islam two years ago, having been raised a Roman Catholic on the Sunshine Coast.
"I did have a religious upbringing and sort of drifted away from that," Mr Jeffers said.
About three years ago, a Muslim friend of his gave him a Quran.
"That sort of sparked an interest."
Mr Jeffers fasted that year, despite not being Muslim.
"I cheated a little - I just cut out food.
"I still drank water and it was quite challenging because I was going off to work every day and working quite physically."
He was in Malaysia about a year later when he heard the call to prayer (Adhan) shortly after arriving at a friend's mother's house.
"That first time I heard the Adhan in an Islamic country ... it was a very emotional thing for me and I felt a stronger drawing towards Islam.
"It snowballed from there and I just wanted to learn more."
Mr Jeffers researched Islam on the Sunshine Coast when he got back to Australia and met Islamic community member Abdul Malik.
He took Shahada, the declaration of faith, within a few weeks of returning to the Coast.
Mr Malik gave Mr Jeffers books to read and he searched online for information.
"Obviously there's lots available on the internet - some which you can discard and some which you can listen to."
Mr Jeffers said the change has brought him a real feeling of inner peace.
"I was at a sort of crossroads in my life.
"I'd been through a bit of turmoil and it (Islam) has given me peace."
He said sourcing Halal food was one of the biggest things that people considering converting to Islam worried about.
"I'm a vegetarian so that wasn't a big deal for me."
Giving up alcohol was more of a challenge.
"I didn't drink much ... but I do miss my beer."
Mr Jeffers did not fast during last year's Ramadan because he was injured and needed pain medication.
"If you are sick or ill, you don't fast but you actually make up for it.
"So after Ramadan, or throughout the year, you can make up those fasting days."
He is fasting this year and has found it hard at times.
"Especially when you are working physically, it gets tough."
His schedule of prayer gets busier during Ramadan but he has an app on his smartphone to tell him when his is due to pray.
He said breaking fast in the evening was really important, whether he was with his Muslim or non-Muslim friends.
"It's really encouraged that you do that with family and friends.
"I break fast with my mum and dad, who aren't Muslim."
He said his family were really open-minded in accepting his change of faith.
"I've got a lot family that have lived in the Middle East so they have been exposed to Islam."
He said he also had a few family members who didn't take to it so well.
"But it's not an issue for me."
He found converting to be a simple process.
"It's knowing in your heart that that is what you want and making that declaration."
He said a lot of Muslims who did not understand Arabic did not understand what they were reciting when they prayed.
"So I've taken steps to learn Arabic, which is a difficult language."
Mr Jeffers said he was upset by the violent acts of groups like Islamic State which portrayed Islam as their motivator.
"It's also upsetting in the same way that when I was a Catholic, many years ago when I was a child, there was groups like the IRA that had an agenda and they hid behind Catholicism.
"Their agenda was violence and killing."
MR JEFFERS' RAMADAN SCHEDULE
4am: Out of bed to have breakfast
5.10am: Prayer- 10 to 15 minutes
Midday: Prayer- 10 to 15 minutes
3.45pm: Prayer- 10 to 15 minutes
5.10pm: Prayer- 10 to 15 minutes
6.45pm: Evening prayer at Kawana Family Centre- about 1 hour 45 minutes