Being a Muslim convert can be lonely. Converts’ families follow other faiths and don’t understand or participate in converts’ new holidays. Non-Muslim friends often don’t get it. And new Muslim friends are already busy with their own lives.
But in Ramadan, this feeling of loneliness is intensified. Converts to Islam are acutely aware that the month of fasting should be the busiest and most social time in their new-found faith community, but they often feel as if they are on the sidelines.
However, Islam is a religion of action. Allah says in the Quran:
Verily, Allah will not change the condition of a people as long as they do not change their state themselves. (Quran 13:11)
Instead of focusing precious energy this month on what you don’t have, you can try to think about what you do have. Even though human beings are social creatures and benefit greatly from strong community and familial bonds, you are never truly alone. Allah is with you. He is closer to you than your jugular vein.
And as you come closer to Allah (SWT) in Ramadan, Allah is also coming closer to you.
Narrated in a hadith Qudsi Allah says:
My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. […] (Al-Bukhari)
Think positive. You have the best of company.
Also, you must remember that life is always in flux. At one moment you have so much time to yourself and quiet time to reflect. And in the blink of an eye, life changes and you are bombarded by familial duties and demands and wishing for those quiet and still moments.
Many times new Muslims feel ultra awkward at the mosque. No one approaches you. Maybe you get a few smiles and stares, but it often seems like you are met with a brick wall of faces and cliques when you try to be a part of the mosque community. It happens to the best of us. But this mosque situation can be especially painful during Ramadan.
However, think proactively. Ask yourself, who at the local mosque seems to be the most well-loved? Take note of what the most loved and sought-after people are doing at the mosque.
They are usually the ones who bring food to break the fast. They are often the ones who serve the food or take out the trash. Sometimes to feel like you are a part of a new community, you have to become integral by offering a helping hand.
You can be the person who passes out napkins, picks up empty plates, brings a dish, or washes the dishes. Doing so will help you learn who the people at the mosque are.
And even better, it will allow the people at the mosque to become familiar with you. Being a helping hand is a great way to feel at home in the mosque.
But many times converts live in areas that do not have mosques or are too far to drive to and make it in time to break the fast (iftar). But whoever said converts can’t host their own iftar?
Even if you don’t know any Muslims or no fellow Muslims can attend your iftar, you can still invite friends and family over to your house or apartment and share a great meal, great conversation, and some info about Ramadan with those you love.
If you cannot do any of the above, you can still find online support. Support from people who have been in your shoes can make a universe of difference.
Ifoundislam.net is a fantastic resource for converts to Islam. This site hosts a wealth of information and enables fraternity. You might find a convert who can encourage you and keep in touch through the blessed month and beyond.
Another great way to feel understood and connected in Ramadan is to join a convert support group on Facebook. Alone in Ramadan – Online Ramadan Iftar Project is a great group to join. You can request to be in the group, as it is private and only open to converts.
Once a member, you can list yourself by time-zone and coordinate via Skype or other methods with members to share iftar and chat together over the web.
And if all else fails you can at least watch a video by converts in your situation like Conver(t)sations: the Unheard Stories of Muslim Converts by American Muslims.
There is a wealth of online support and encouragement for converts so that you never have to feel alone.
Converts don’t have to be lonely during Ramadan anymore. Remaining positive, reaching out to be a part of our local community, and/or building an online community can go a long way to help converts feel less lonely during Ramadan.
(This article is from Reading Islam’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.)