For New Muslims or Muslims who are far away from their loved ones, Ramadan can be an extremely lonely month. The things that we take for granted such as eating Iftar and Suhoor with our family or being surrounded by people that understand the Ramadan struggle is something that other people in our community don’t have access to. As Muslims, we should always be thinking about ways in which we can be more inclusive in our community and how we can be pro-active in reaching out to help others.
Below are some tips on how to make Ramadan less lonely and support new members:
If you know a revert in your community, through your mosque, or a friend who has recently converted, make an effort to invite them to your house for Iftar. Sometimes people avoid inviting others because they think the meal they provide has to be fancy. Inviting someone to your house doesn’t require an elaborate meal, do it even if the only thing you have to share is dates and water. Maintaining ties of kinship is an important principle in Islam, and what better way to create and strengthen this tie than by inviting someone who is far away from their family or who is new to the religion to your house for Iftar.
Most mosques usually offer Iftar meals so look up your local mosque online or use a mosque app and call them to inquire about it. This is a great way to get to know members of your local community and spend time with people during Ramadan. University ISOC’S often host events, encouraging Muslim women to speak to one another, and create sisterhood, friendships, and bonds.
If your mosque doesn’t offer Iftar meals, there might be local community initiatives like Ramadan Tent in London and Manchester that provide free and open Iftar meals.
If the three tips above haven’t worked for you, think about starting an Iftar meet up yourself. Invite people that you know, reverts, and even non-Muslim friends (people of other faiths) to share a meal with you during Iftar. This can be the beginning of fruitful relationships throughout the year.
Lastly, social media can be a useful tool for gaining a sense of community during Ramadan. You can use it to find people in your local area to implement the fourth tip or join convert support groups on Facebook such as Solace for Revert Sisters in Difficulty or Ifoundislam.net which has an online Ramadan Iftar Project. Sites like Periscope and Skype have made it possible to spend time with your family during Iftar if you’re far from them so use it to your advantage.
To end, think about how you can help your local community by donating money to masjids to help them offer free Iftar meals or volunteer your time to help make the food and clean the space. There are many doors to Jannah, the door of charity being one of them and what better month to do it than this blessed month where our rewards are amplified.
“Whoever provides the food for a fasting person to break his fast with, then for his is the same reward as his (the fasting person’s), without anything being diminished from the reward of the fasting person,” [Tirmidhi].