I don’t really know any Muslims around; my Muslim friends are mainly on the internet. I meet them maybe once a month. I feel I want to cry when I see other people sharing their photos of iftaars on Facebook. My family tolerates me fasting hamdulillah, but they are not really helpful, and I usually eat alone as magrib is very late here.
What can I do to overcome my feelings of depression and loneliness and become sincerer in my fasting and another worshipping during Ramadan?
In this counseling answer:
• Social activities serve to bring Muslims closer, build bonds, and provide a supportive and spiritual experience.
• Contact the mosque and find out if there are any Muslims who are near you.
• Ramadan is about festivities, yes, but it is more so about your relationship with Allah (swt) and drawing closer to Him through fasting, personal study, prayer and other acts of worship.
Ramadan can be a lonely time if you are far from a mosque or do not have a circle of Muslim friends. Many reverts to Islam, especially new ones who have not had the time to build friendships or meet others due to living in a remote area, may especially feel depressed. Also, when one’s family is not Muslim, that adds to the feeling of isolation from Ramadan activities.
You may feel alone, but, in fact, you are not. Many Muslims end up spending Ramadan alone for the reasons you listed. Ramadan is the most social month of the Muslim year, a period of fellowship with family and friends over sometimes lavish evening meals. But many American converts to Islam break the daily fast alone, often in front of the TV set.” This is a prevalent problem, especially in the USA and other countries where Islam is not the majority religion and is often worse for new reverts who have not yet acclimated into the Islamic family fold.
Social activities serve to bring Muslims closer, build bonds, and provide a supportive and spiritual experience. When that is lacking, it can seem as if you are missing out on a lot of the joys Ramadan brings. I am not sure if you have transportation, but even going to the mosque for Iftar once a week will help you overcome your feelings of isolation and depression.
I suggest that you also contact the mosque and find out if there are any Muslims who are near you, or who would be able to provide transportation if needed so you can join in on the mosque prayers and activities.
You can also check out your FB friends for ideas on how they may have overcome a similar situation or what advice they may have for you.
Additionally, many cities and towns have Muslim Meet Up groups wherein Muslims meet for various reasons (reading Qur’an, learning Arabic, engaging in social activities and so forth). I would suggest going on the internet and look for meetup.com and put in the keywords Muslim, Islam to see if it comes up with any groups in your area. I am sure there must be some Muslims living near you who are experiencing the same sense of isolation as the mosque is far away. If so, alhumdulilah, you can meet, breakfast and engage in Ramadan activities as a group. If there is no one, nor any groups in your area, there are online virtual groups for Muslims who are alone during Ramadan.
While we cannot change our families, we can change our attitudes and make extra efforts to connect with those who may be near or far. I understand your depression and feelings as my family is not Muslim either. However, I am blessed in that I do live near a mosque which has helped. Thus, my photos are not of the family but of my Muslim family which I sought out after making a 3000-mile move. So, I encourage you, bother, to try to reach out to those in the mosque, even if it is far away, and express your desire to spend some time there and ask for suggestions. We never know the blessings Allah (SWT) has in store for us. Perhaps, we may just have to “go the extra mile”.
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Also, I would kindly suggest that you keep in mind the many opportunities and blessings that Ramadan brings. It is a time to get closer to Allah, to reflect, study, recite Qur’an, give charity and help those in need as well as reflecting upon the mercy, forgiveness available in our most sacred month. Ramadan is about festivities, yes, but it is more so about your relationship with Allah (swt) and drawing closer to Him through fasting, personal study, prayer and other acts of worship. While it may not be as enjoyable alone, the real purpose of Ramadan is connecting your heart to Allah (swt) in sincere worship and fasting as well as reading Qur’an. These are all mercies given to us by Allah (swt).
I suggest that you do reach out, that you change your perspective on the real meaning of Ramadan, and when you see your friends pictures on FB, In sha’ Allah, you will have some of your own to add, or you can feel blessed that this month was a very month special month for just you and Allah (swt). Lastly, make du’aa’ that Allah (swt) provides you with Muslim friends in your community as well as a means to get to the Masjid to more fully enjoy your experience and connect with others.
Ramadan Kareem; we wish you the best, and may this Ramadan be one of intense spiritual uplift for you. You are in our du’aa’s.
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