Welcome to my blog!

This blog is an honest look at what life is like for this particular American convert to Islam. We're taught in Islam to cover our sins, to not air them, for fear of lessening the severity of sinning. In this blog, I may relate past indiscretions from time to time. This isn't to make light of them, but in the interest of educating Muslims and non-Muslims alike as to the realities of life as an American convert, I present my mistakes honestly. I make no excuses for them, nor do I claim that they were okay to make. I am not perfect, and I make no pretenses as to that. If others can learn from my past, know that Islam, and religion in general, is open for people no matter what mistakes they've made, then I will gladly air my sins when needed.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ramadan secrets

Before I begin, let me preface this post with this:

These are my thoughts and my feelings. I will not accept anyone delegitimizing or silencing them. I will not accept anyone telling me that I'm wrong, or I'm doing something wrong, or I just need to pray more/try harder/etc.

This blog is an honest look at the life of a convert in a Muslim-minority country. I post very blunt things here, in the knowledge that if I'm thinking and/or feeling them, then someone else is, too - and that someone, those someones, need to know that they're not alone.

You are not alone. Even when it feels that way. And if you feel the way that I do in this post, you are normal. There's no shame in what I'm about to post. There is shame in trying to shame people about it.

That said, I don't like Ramadan.


I really don't like Ramadan. Not because I can't eat or drink - I don't care about the fasting. That's easy. That's nothing.

But I have no one to share it with. I either wake up or stay up for the pre-prayer meal and then the first prayer of the day, and I do it alone. I pray alone, except for the rare times my roommate prays with me. I break my fast alone. I can't get to the mosque because I have no bus money, but even if I did have the money, I'd have to leave before breaking my fast with the other Muslims because I'm stuck on the bus system and it's not favorable to late-night gatherings.


I don't have a car and I don't have a job (that one's my own fault for not looking hard enough) and my "friends" in the area know this, but I'm never invited anywhere. I don't ask to hang out because I always need a ride. I can rarely do things with Islamic groups because of my carless situation.


So I wake up and eat and pray alone, I break my fast and pray alone, I don't get invited to other people's homes to break the fast and I'm too poor to invite anyone over to my home and feed them. Ramadan is a huge family affair and I'm the only Muslim in my family.


I don't get a spiritual high during Ramadan. People gush about it, about how revitalized they feel, how amazing it is. I don't feel that. All I feel is this deep, aching loneliness. I'm usually fine with the thought of being foreveralone, until Ramadan. Then I realize that while this beautiful and holy and amazing month is going on, I'm feeling alone and depressed and resentful because I'm not feeling any of it. I have no one to share it with and no way to get to people with whom I can share it. It makes me really want to marry the next interested guy regardless of who he is or how well I know him (I'm not going to, btw) just so I don't have to spend another Ramadan alone.


So, yeah. I don't hate Ramadan, I just currently really, really, really dislike it. I feel the exact opposite of how it's supposed to make me feel.


I don't usually think of all of this. I ignore it fairly well, even during Ramadan. But after sundown, when I'm alone, I get depressed.

So that's my secret. Ramadan does nothing but depress me, and I don't like Ramadan that much.

12 comments:

  1. Salaam sis!

    I'm so sorry to hear you feel like this :( But I can understand why you would.
    I have a revert friend and he's actually in a similar situation as you - only muslim in the family, jobless and carless.
    We live in different towns and although he hadn't said anything I got the feeling that Ramadhan might not be as great for him as it is for me. I wanted to do something nice for him so I sent him sort of a ramadhan care package - filled with things like dates, food for suhoor, prayer beads, prayer book and a bunch of stuff I thought he might like.
    It wasn't much but I hope it brought a smile to his face.
    If you talk to your friends about your situation you never know, they might not mind carpooling. Or why not arrange an iftar gathering at your home where each person brings a dish - that way you'll only have to prepare one dish...
    I don't think you're alone in this, I think a lot of people, especially reverts, can feel like this. But I hope your situation improves and your love for Ramadhan grows, inshallah :)
    Ramadhan Mubarak xx

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    1. Salam, and thank you so much for your reply. <3 I choked up a bit when I read about your care package - God bless you so much for it. I know your friend appreciated it.

      My roommate's Muslim, but she was on her period for the first week of Ramadan and I'll be starting mine in the next day or two, so until that evens out, we've been having suhoor and iftar by ourselves.

      My mosque only does iftars Friday-Sunday and I have class Friday nights (and my teacher's really cool about letting me slip out to eat and pray, thank God), and Saturday I realized two of my friends live a few exits down from me on the freeway. They said that if their car isn't full, they can take me to and from the mosque for Jummah and iftars.

      During the week, well ... I'll just pray that my roommate and I sync our cycles REALLY quickly. My mosque also has a convert's group. I'll see if they want to do the potluck idea. Thank you so much for suggesting it. :)

      Happy Ramadan to you, too! I hope it goes easy for you, and it'll get better for me. It sucks now, but it'll get better, God willing. :)

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  2. I'm not sure where you're located, I am in the same boat as you: I recently converted to Islam and I am surrounded by non-Muslims, friendly, supportive non-Muslims, but non-Muslims nonetheless. If you're in Canada, possibly in Ottawa, please give me a shout!

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    1. Salam, darlin'. I'm in California, but do read my reply to Amy below.

      Also, we have a convert group you're more than welcome to join.

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/saccare4converts/

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  3. I am also a revert, and everything I do is completely alone. Suhoor alone, iftar alone. I am the only Muslim in my family as well. I am also going through a divorce which will be finalized as of today. Also going through that completely alone as well. I actually feel almost like I am having a crisis of faith during Ramadan of all times. This makes me feel even worse. I wish I could talk to an imam about it, but I don't feel like I would get any helpful information or help. I love Islam so much, but right now I feel like I am a total failure in my faith.

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    1. I had a big reply written out and then my computer went wonky. >.<

      Amy, you are NOT alone. You're not the first 'vert (or Muslim) to get divorced and you won't be the last. You're not alone in feeling alone and dejected during Ramadan - hence my blog and this post.

      You have a point in that most born Muslims won't feel the same way about Islam and Ramadan as 'verts, and won't know how to react to the problems that 'verts face.

      People who are born into the faith have soaked it up their entire lives, are familiar and comfortable with the customs and culture of Islam. For 'verts, we're not. It's ALL new to us, and we don't have the built-in support network of a Muslim family.

      What that does is make Ramadan and the Eids hard.

      What it does NOT do is make us less Muslim than those born into the faith. It does NOT make us failures in our faith. It makes us merely humans who are struggle to adapt to a new state of being, who sometimes win at it and who sometimes fail at it. It makes us normal.

      My take on feeling awful about Ramadan is that when I finally DO have people to share it with on a regular basis, I'll appreciate the family atmosphere more. It won't be something that I will take for granted, because I KNOW what it's like to be completely alone during Ramadan.

      Hopefully, it will also make me more likely to take in Ramadan orphans and make sure that their Ramadans are better than my past ones.

      That, also, is something that born Muslims need to recognize. We 'verts really ARE like orphans in Islam. Brand new, baby orphans. We can, and often do, learn on your own, but we still need people there to guide us and care for us and make us feel included. A lot of Muslims fail at proper convert care.

      This is starting to be its own blog post. Regardless, I don't know exactly where you're at, but my mosque has a convert care group (called, imaginatively, Care 4 Converts) and we have a Facebook page that you're more than welcome to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/saccare4converts/

      Assalamu alaikum, sister, and please know that you're not as alone as it seems.

      Delete
  4. Wasalam

    Yes it is a pity that the Muslims have failed you. I hope the Muslim community reaches out to you, I know there's new convert initiatives like Taleef collective.
    I think the Muslims in your area should do a local iftar where they invite lots of converts. Just see how the Prophet's community were with the converts. They were almost all converts!
    Also it can help somewhat that seekersguidance.org is doing free courses for reverts on different parts of Islam, mA they're really good.
    There is an excellent collection of some hadiths that not many non-scholars know, but are very accurate about the future, and can be used as proofs of the Prophet, see below, and I've added some other stuff you insha'Allah would find of interest:

    Planes:
    http://muslim-lion.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/prophet-on-planes-hadith.html

    Madinah as fortress:
    http://muslim-lion.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/madinah-at-end-of-times.html

    Internet?
    http://muslim-lion.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/prophet-hadith-predicted-tvinternet.html

    Flying:
    http://muslim-lion.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/flying-mentioned-in-hadith.html

    Big bang:
    http://muslim-lion.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/quran-and-big-bang.html

    Mufti Taqi Usmani's sign of Makkah:
    http://muslim-lion.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/hadiths-about-makkah-signs-of-day-of.html

    Genetics hadith:
    http://muslim-lion.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/hadith-on-genetics-dominance.html

    Its interesting the hadiths talk about earthquakes increasing near end of times. Well the article scientist quoted below says global warming is causing more earthquakes:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/hay-festival/9312347/Hay-Festival-2012-Government-adviser-Bill-McGuire-says-global-warming-is-causing-earthquakes-and-landslides.html
    Also a good article analysing it from Islamic view:
    http://www.furqaniaacademy.com/English/Articles/IncrEQFreq.htm

    Interesting study about how the hadith talk about proportion of land to sea mass, geography and science :
    http://www.furqaniaacademy.com/English/Articles/GeogConcepts.htm
    Btw I wanted to draw your attention to this short Sheikh Hamza Yusuf video on Madinah being protected from lava and a non-Muslim geologist (Dr John Roobol http://www.saudicaves.com/lava/introobl.htm) commenting on it. Its very interesting, especially since the lava went against gravity there, and the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) predicted it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0E5-lt4Zoc


    A friend of mine tested some of the claims and proved about the numerical aspects of the Qur'an's word:
    Here's part 1:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xix7QDXJN0&feature=player_embedded
    Part 2:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ4sh-FQnaY&feature=player_embedded
    And he said:
    ""On your second point, I would challenge you to produce similar patterns in any other book. I tried this exercise on Alice in Wonderland and Romeo & Juliet. I did not find even one example of repetition of any two similar words. Not one."

    I think you'll like this because it talks about bees (one example is page 67), mosquitos etc. It is the proceedings of the 2011 scientific conference on the Qur'an and Sunnah
    Please feel free to share with others.
    The part from pgs 99-103 are really interesting about dogs hadith.
    You can also see the link here:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/102112150/Quran-Sunnah- Science-Conference-2011


    Here's the Prophet's mantle amazing incident (its got Al Jazeera's video where they show the scientists etc. So you can see that there is a popular news source):
    http://muslim-lion.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/prophetic-cloak-and-experts-turkey.html

    Black holes:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7BPeVRqBRM

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  5. Sorry forgot to mention that some organisations give counselling and support to reverts going through tough times.

    See
    Muslim Community Helpline http://muslimcommunityhelpline.org.uk/ This replaces the old Muslim Womens Helpline which was one of the oldest service in this country I believe. London.

    The Lateef Project http://www.lateefproject.com/ Counselling phone line. Birmingham.

    Naye Subah http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/nayesubah/ Mental Health Daycare for Asian women. Bradford.

    Henna Foundation http://www.hennafoundation.org/ Family and children's services. Cardiff.

    Right Start Foundation http://www.rightstart.org.uk/ Founded by Dr Amr Khaled, they do a number of projects. Birmingham.

    Sakinah Counselling http://www.sakinah.org.uk/4466.html London.

    Karma Nirvana http://www.karmanirvana.org.uk/ Forced Marriages and Honour based abuse. Leeds.

    Roshni http://www.roshni.org.uk/ Vulnerable adults and families. Glasgow.

    Bharosa http://app.starthere.org/sites/web/One/_layouts/w eb/OrganisationDetails.aspx?OrgId=90894&view=prin t Domestic Abuse. Birmingham.

    Amina - Muslim Women's Resource Centre http://www.mwrc.org.uk/ Has a free phone helpline. Dundee.

    Dosti http://www.dostileeds.org.uk/index.html Mental health services for Asian women. Leeds.

    There are a number of organisations linked on this page, mainly in London http://www.hopscotchawc.org.uk/?Help_and_informat ion

    Forced Marriage - advice by region http://www.forcedmarriage.net/helpbyregion.html A number of agencies. Note that some may have ran out of funding eg the Doli Project in Brum.

    Muslim Women Network UK have a useful list of some services here http://www.mwnuk.co.uk/directory.php?selAreaID=&s elIssueID=&s1=Go You can check by region. Again, note that some projects may have run out of funding.

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  6. It is interesting because we have it seems sort of similar feelings for different reasons altogether. You rather dislike ramadan because (it sounds like) you aren't able to participate in as many social aspects as you would like. I sort of dislike ramadan because people psh socializing so incredibly much. My lack of interest in that, and other people's seeming issue with me not wanting to socialize, makes me have an almost crisis of faith in Ramadan as well. It is really interesting to me to be able to see things from such a different perspective. Thank you for posting

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  7. What would he think of today's Islamic world of all these non believers and polytheists performing Hajj today? Are the Sunni leaders truly following the example of the Prophet by continuing his ways?
    Umrah 2013

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    1. I ... uhm ... what?

      Non-Muslims aren't allowed on Hajj. Saudi makes you give them proof that you're Muslim (an entirely unIslamic thing to do) if you don't have an Arabic/Persian/otherwise "Muslim" name.

      So ... A for effort?

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  8. Asalaam o alaikum

    I'll brief you on my situation and maybe that'll make you feel better.

    I'm from a conservative and anti islamic family and have converted in secret 2 years back. I haven't revealed to my family because I'm scared of their reaction that they might disown me. I want to reveal with proper timing so that I can bring them to Islam as well.Right now it's ramazan and many days I feel terrible you know why, because I cant fast and I have to miss so many fasts as I live at home and it's very difficult to fast with family around. When I have iftars with friends I manage or some days I go live somewhere which makes it possible for me to fast. And when i am able to it feels absolutely amazing.

    I will too admit that at times when I see I'm doing everything alone it does feel bad, but every time I cant wait to fast another day and feel the beautiful time of iftar. The point I'm trying to make here is that be thankful that you can openly fast as I am not able to do so. You are lucky that you can pray and gather all the blessings of this beautiful month unlike me.

    There are so many things that you can do. There are muslim centers that work for the less privileged so try to join them and get involved in their activities to do more good deeds. That way you'll make more friends too. Read the Quran more with understanding and pray taraweeh and that will give you less idle time and might not make you feel that alone. Do talk to your friends about this, the ones that you feel will understand and are likely to help.

    The convert groups you mentioned must feel really good, I dont have any in my area and I would love to be a part of such a thing. Be with them and plan something, they too must have similarities to your situation. See I dont have this too and I wish I did.

    I kept in mind your first few statements and carefully tried to not say anything that you might not like, if you feel I still did then I apologize. I just hope I am able to help, as I myself feel this way many times and wished I could immediately convert my family or had others like me to share my situations with.

    Regards,
    Take care.

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