A Letter to the Muslim Community: “Ramadan and Eid Are Some of the Loneliest Days for Many Converts”

For many converts, Ramadan can be a very lonely period.

They often don’t have any or a lot of contact with their family and have to break their fast alone.

Paulina Rivera is a Muslim convert who shared her touching story on Facebook and raised awareness for this problematic situation.

“Dear Muslims born into Islam,

Please take a moment to read my PSA on behalf of Muslim converts, reverts and new Muslims in the community. This message is for you, especially those of you who consider yourselves active in da’wa.

If you know someone who chose Islam as a way of life and wasn’t born into it, PLEASE invite them over for iftar dinner during Ramadan and for Eid celebrations.

Ramadan and Eid are some of the loneliest and most depressing days for many converts because many times we don’t have family and friends that understand, support, or encourage us in our new faith.

We don’t have a Muslim family to wake us up for suhoor, so we commence our fast and eat alone.

We don’t have a Muslim family to wake us up for Fajr, so we pray alone.

We don’t have a Muslim family to share the joy of breaking fast with, so we break our fast alone.

Some of us even make an effort to go to the mosque in hopes of finding someone who will accompany us during iftar time, but many times you forget about us and don’t ask us to join you at your table, so once again, we are alone.

We don’t have plans for Eid prayers either, so we usually go back home and spend the rest of the day alone that day too.

Let me tell you something my born Muslim friends, walking back to our car after Eid prayers is THE absolute worst.

Congregants congratulate and spread glad tidings amongst one another in their native mother tongues.

Making us feel like we don’t belong. We understand this isn’t your intention, but we can’t help but feel like outsiders.

Children run around wildly with balloons, candy, and money in hand, excited for the day ahead. We know at that very moment we are witnessing a precious childhood memory in the making.

For a moment we share their joy and think to ourselves how lucky this kid is to have such a wonderful experience.

At the same time, we can’t help but wonder if our (future) children will ever experience the same joy on a communal level.

Others shriek with joy as they bump into old friends and extended family members while swearing oaths to reconnect with one another.

Many times, converts see this and can’t help but feel a sharp pang in our hearts. Not out of jealousy no, but out of longing for our families and lifelong friends to accept, love and share our faith too.

Some of our families have cut us off completely since our conversion. We long to have family and friends to share our joy with.

We long for acceptance and affirmation too, it’s human nature after all.

We watch other families frantically rush off and pile into cars, ready to partake in their annual traditions; Eid family breakfast, gift swapping and house hopping from party to party.

The madness is muffled as we close the door to our car and place our hands on the steering wheel, wondering what to do with ourselves for the remainder of the day.

This is not my personal story, this is the story of every convert you have ever met who can relate to the aforementioned on some level.

Unfortunately, this is the reality for many converts during Ramadan and Eid.

With a community as large as we have, with as many people committed to da’wa as we do, with as many people who claim to follow the sunnah dogmatically, there shouldn’t be a SINGLE person who feels lonely in our communities, but the reality is, there are.

Born Muslims, how many converts do you know?

How many times have you invited a convert over to your home to break the fast with your family?

How many times have you picked up the phone, sent a text, or reached out to see if your convert friend was in need of anything?

How do you implement your faith during this blessed month?

Born Muslims, do us a favor and call/text/tag your convert friend and invite them over during Ramadan and Eid this year.

It means more to us than you’ll ever know.

-The Converts in your community”.

This article was originally posted on Mvslim.com on the 18/05/18.

Written by Mayada Srouji

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Mayada Srouji is a 23-year-old student Gender and Diversity at the UGent and has a bachelor in Arabic and Islamic Sciences, with a minor in political and social sciences. She is interested in women rights, philosophy, literature and history.