On Ramadan and Eid Loneliness for Converts (Q & A Session)

Asalamu Alaikum brothers and sisters, 

Being a Muslim convert can be lonely. When Ramadan rolls around, 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 faith community, but they often feel as if they are sitting on the sidelines.

For this reason, we are pleased to offer a Live Session for converts to Islam who may not be so new to the deen, to answer questions on how to make Ramadan less lonely.

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The session host will be writer and convert to Islam, Theresa Corbin. So please, jot down your questions and join us Thursday, June 15th, from 4 PM-5 PM GMT  (7 PM – 8 PM Makkah) (12 AM – 1 PM New York).

If you won’t be available during this time, but you have questions that need answers, don’t worry! You can email your questions in advance to [email protected], and our counselor will include them in the Live Session. 

Thursday, Jun. 22, 2017 | 19:00 - 20:00 GMT

Session is over.
Views expressed by hosts/guests on this program (live dialogue, Facebook sessions, etc.) are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent.  

I promised myself that I would go as much as possible to the masjid this Ramadan. And I have done. But when I go for iftar, I don’t feel welcome there. I don’t know anyone and feel isolated. So I just sit alone to break fast. Then when everyone is chatting, I read Quran (in English). But I feel lonely. What can I do? Should I just stay home?

Asalamu Alaikum,

Thank you for trusting me with your question. You should be proud of yourself for keeping with your intention to go to the masjid as much as possible during Ramadan. May Allah reward you. And an excellent way to spend time in the masjid is to read Quran. MashaAllah. But you should not just do so at home because you feel isolated. This will only make that feeling worse. You need the masjid. You need good company. Islam is not to be practiced in isolation and that is why you are feeling lonely. You need friends who understand your way of life (your deen), who can encourage you, celebrate with you, and help you grow as a Muslim.

I am so sorry to hear that people at the masjid aren’t welcoming. Often people get comfortable in their cliques and resist changing their dynamic to invite a new person in. This is especially true of most masajid in the West since the majority of Muslims are immigrants and they feel comfortable with and are drawn to associate with others from their culture, who speaks their language, etc. I am not excusing their behavior because they should open up and invite you with the best manners. I am only explaining why this unfortunately happens. 

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So, how to break into the cliques? Ask yourself, who at the masjids seems to be well-loved? Take note of what the most sought-after people are doing at the masjid.
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, refills drinks, brings dessert, or washes the dishes. Doing so will help you learn who the people at the masjid are. It will make the people at the masjid feel affinity for you, want to get to know you, and miss you when you are not there. Being a helping hand is a great way to feel at home in the masjid. And best of all, you are getting tremendous reward from Allah for keeping the masjid clean and serving those who are breaking their fast.

I hope this helps answer your question. Please keep in touch. Salam.  

My husband and I are reverts to Islam. We are learning about how to make a good Ramadan, but the problem is that he wants to break the fast at the mosque. I don't have problems with it, but I wish he could be with the family some days at the home. He feels guilty if he doesn't go to the mosque every day. I am going with him to the mosque 4 days a week, but I can't go every day, I wish that we could spend some time together for a family dinner. Am I wrong to ask this of him, because he thinks I have weak iman?

Asalamu Alaikum,

Thank you for trusting me with your question. Congratulations and welcome to Islam! May Allah continue to guide you and increase your family in blessings. Ameen.

While it is very good for your husband and you to go to the masjid and pray and eat iftar with the community, it is also important that you meet each other’s needs as a family. Many new Muslims feel very lonely during Ramadan, which is supposed to be a special time for community and family.

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If you were born into a Muslim family, I would tell you to let him go and spend time with other family members. But since you are a new Muslim, this is probably not an option for you. New Muslims lack family members who are Muslim and also feel isolated from their community. Alhamdulillah, you seem to be well integrated into your community. But I can understand how you would still feel the need for family time. This is essential.

There needs to be a balance between communal life and family life. Islam is all about balance, taking the middle path, and not going to extremes. You have a right to your husband’s time. So wanting to be near and spend time with him is not at all a sign of having weak faith. It is not only your Islamic right but also important that he spend some time with you at iftar, in the month of Ramadan, as you establish your faith and traditions in Islam, especially since he is your only Muslim family. If you have kids this is even more important. Children also have rights to their father’s time.

With that being said, you should be gentle in approaching the issue since his heart is attached to the masjid and this is a very, very good thing. Perhaps tell him that you wish to have him home for iftar at least one (or two?) days a week in order to create good family memories in Ramadan.

Don’t try to force him by saying this is your right, but ask him with manners, bringing up the idea of having good Ramadan family memories so your family will think back fondly on Ramadan and look forward to the next year.

Gently remind him of his responsibility to his family and establishing an Islamic home and inculcating love of the month of Ramadan and closeness between you for the sake of Allah. And also encourage him to attend the masjid on the days he goes to the masjid. That way he will see you are not just trying to keep him from the masjid, but you only want to spend time with him.  Since Ramadan is almost over, you can have a relaxed conversation about your Ramadan plans for next year, insha Allah

I hope this helps. Please keep in touch if you have any more questions. Salam.

This is my first Ramadan and consequently my first Eid as a Muslim. I have a couple new Muslim friends, Alhamdulillah, but they seem to be busy on Eid. I wish to celebrate the Eid, but how can I do that when I am alone?

Asalamu Alaikum,

Congratulations and welcome to Islam! May Allah continue to guide us to the truth, increase us in knowledge, and put good companions in our path.

I am sorry to hear that you will not have anyone to celebrate Eid with. But let’s think creatively if there might be anyone to celebrate with. The first place to look would be the masjid nearest to you. You should ask someone at your local masjid if they are hosting a celebration after the Eid prayer and Khutbah. Often the masjid will host a party / picnic / fair. And if so, you should definitely go and celebrate with your community.

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Next, if your Muslim friends are busy with their own families, ask them about their Eid plans. They might invite you along. If they don’t, then why not celebrate with your non-Muslim friends and family? Invite your friends and family members who have supported you as you converted to Islam to share in your Eid joy. Go to a museum, go fishing, have a nice meal out, go for a hike or bike ride, whatever you and your friends/family enjoy doing that is halal, do that with them on Eid. It could also be a good opportunity for them to ask you more about your new faith.

If you really can’t find any one to spend this holiday with, why not spend time treating yourself? Buy yourself an Eid present. Indulge in a decadent dessert. Eid is the time to indulge. It’s only twice a year. Sometimes those of us who are converts to Islam, have to blaze the trail for ourselves. You can make your own Eid traditions. But whatever you do, have fun, be proud of yourself for what you have accomplished in Ramadan, and be joyously thankful. Find more advice at the link here.

I hope this helps. Please keep in touch. Eid Mubarak!