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Who is looking out for Muslim converts this Ramadan? Imam Khalid Latif

The convert experience in Islam is one that is tough for many. Muslim communities throughout the world get excited when someone enters into their doors saying they want to accept Islam. There are hugs and laughter and a large uproar – and then everything stops and the convert has to figure out how to move forward on their own. Trying to navigate through the diversity of legal and theological opinion in Islam can be tough enough, but doing so on your own is that much tougher; as is navigating through the cultural diversity that exists in the Muslim community on your own; questioning yourself and wondering what parts of your identity you need to abandon to fit in on your own. I could keep going – but essentially the point is we don’t do a good job in taking care of our converts

That Much Harder For Muslim Converts

I bring this up because Ramadan is just days away and during Ramadan it’s that much harder for a lot of converts. Every Muslim’s family is not Muslim. Every Muslim does not have a family to eat suhoor with or have iftar with. How many iftars have you hosted or attended to which a convert was invited? Or at the end of the month extended an invitation to an Eid celebration to someone who is a convert? Our consciousness doesn’t seem to extend to this place.
I had a young woman tell me once that Ramadan is interesting for her because each year her family offers her food and she tells them she can’t eat it because she’s fasting. They respond by asking, “Oh, you’re still Muslim?” It’s not an experience that her family shares with her.
Another young woman told me her experience fasting during Ramadan was hard because her family wouldn’t accept her Islam. When it came time to eat lunch, her father would put a plate of food in front of her because he refused to acknowledge that she was a Muslim. She was quite torn in deciding what to do and not having a community, or even simply a few people who understood, to turn to made it that much harder.

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

A young man mentioned to me that his family had been completely fine with his conversion, but no Muslims really included him in anything. He expected that the local mosque would welcome him in and invite him to things, but he found that if he didn’t make a point of going on his own, no one really asked him to come. No one checked in on him, asked him how he was doing, or if he ever needed anything. During past Ramadans, his mother would call him daily to wake him up for suhoor, which he proceeded to eat on his own and then waited til sunset to break his fast alone as well. He doesn’t seem to think this Ramadan will be any different.
Try to think of who might be observing the month of Ramadan alone this year, not by choice but because there isn’t any other option for them. Make a point to include them in a way that makes sense for them. That might be inviting them to a large gathering or making the time to be with them in a smaller, more intimate atmosphere. Where others have forgotten, let’s make sure we’re remembering to do our part continuously and to the best of our abilities.

Follow Imam Khalid Latif on Facebook.
Photo by Jim Pennucci.

How Can I Overcome Loneliness and Make Friends?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: How can I overcome loneliness? Does Islam allow us to make friends and spend time with them? Is there any supplication to get new friends?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah lift your loneliness and grant you the gift of good companions.

Friendship

Good friends are an important part of being a balanced Muslim. Please refer to What Are the Qualities of a Friend? by Ustadh Tabraze Azam to help you better understand friendship in Islam. Please also read Bringing Barakah Into Your Wealth and Life by Ustadh Abdullah Anik Misra.

Solutions

Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night, and ask Allah to cure your loneliness, send you good friends, and whatever else you wish. In addition to prayer and dua, please also take proactive steps in seeking out good company. Is there a community service program you can participate in? Is there a local circle of knowledge you can attend?One can often find good people at good places.

Please refer to the following links:

Dealing With Depression Caused by Unemployment and Loneliness
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Trey Ratcliff

I Became Muslim and Am Now Lonely and Depressed. What Can I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I converted to Islam when I was 19 but have only started practising it sincerely this past Ramadan. Since then, I have been a depressive wreck and intensely lonely. I have no friends nor family members to speak to. I feel even more of an orphan after practicing Islam. What do I need to heal my soul?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah lift the anguish from your heart and replace it with tranquility and contentment.

Loneliness

Dear brother, what you are experiencing is too common amongst reverts/converts to Islam. It is natural to want the support and companionship of family and friends, especially as a newly practising Muslim. Ours is a deen embedded in the social fabric of families and communities. It is a very, very difficult path to tread alone. I pray that Allah eases your loneliness and grants you the companionship which you seek.

Hope in Allah

“Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the Help of Allah?” Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!” [Qur’an, 2:214]

You are not alone in your tribulation. Please have hope that Allah’s help is near.

Also, please remember that even the love of family and friends comes with trials. Often, the hardest trials stems from those closest to us. There is no lasting for heartache in this dunya except the remembrance of Allah.

Solutions

1) Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night and beg Allah for the love and support that you need. Trust that Allah will answer your dua.
2) Guard your prayers and increase your acts of worship.
3) Give in charity and ask Allah to ease your trial.
4) Please read Surah Yusuf to help lift your sadness.
5) Make an effort to make friends from a range of different social circles. Can you connect with people at your work, your local community centre, the masjid or elsewhere?
6) Do you have any family members who live near you? If so, try to reach out to your biological family, unless they are actively hostile (e.g. verbally or physically abusive).
7) Join a volunteering organisation with the multiple intention of serving others as well as making friends e.g. soup kitchen, local community garden etc.
8) Start a new hobby that involves interacting with others e.g. book club, painting etc.
9) Consider seeing a therapist to help you cope with your feelings of depression.

Please refer to the following links:

A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
Harms of Aloneness: The Prophet’s Firm Discouragement of Living or Travelling Alone

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Dealing With Depression Caused by Unemployment and Loneliness

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

Question: I would like some help inshaAllah. I attend Islamic courses and feel my imaan is boosted after. But then I cannot maintain this afterwards.

I feel depressed about my life situation such as unemployment and loneliness due to not being able to find a spouse and this gets me down even further. I feel alone and don’t feel that connection even when I pray. I want to read Quran and find solace but something holds me back, I feel too depressed to do so.

Also I would like to add that even though I wish to get married, a part of me is terrified that I will be in an abusive marriage, as I’ve seen the harms caused in such marriages.

Please advise as to what I can do.

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend on the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions, and all who follow them.

Dear Questioner,

Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for writing to us. I pray you are in good health and iman.

Allah the Exalted says, “When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:186)

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Mona Hassan who reminded us of this beautiful ayah of the Qur’an where God Himself speaks to us, lowly slaves, in the singular, promising us that He will respond to our call. Allah is close and even more so to you, because, as our teachers tell us, He is with the brokenhearted.

Don’t let past negative experiences weigh you down. Have a good opinion of Allah that He will send someone who is gentle and kind.

Resolve to stop feeling down and look at what is right in your life in terms of health, youth, community, family. See how you can be of service to others. Be proactive about finding work. And continuously ask Allah for help in finding a lawful income so you can marry and build a family.

Here are some useful articles from SeekersGuidance:

1. How does one perform the Prayer of Need?

2. Are there any invocations to help me find a job?

3. Difficulty in finding a spouse and losing hope

4. Bringing barakah into one’s wealth and life

May Allah Ta’ala grant you ease,

Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq
June 10, 2011/Rajab 9, 1432