By Annisa Essack
Since taking the shahadah, I looked forward to my first Eid with much joy and a naïve belief that it would be filled with my newly acquired Muslim family who had all welcomed me with such fervour in the masjid when I accepted Islam.
After the Eid prayer, and then the khutbah, everyone hugged and commenced wishing each other. Within a space of half an hour, I found myself standing alone in the area allocated to women.
Walking back to my car after the Eid prayer was the worst as I witnessed families posing for pictures, smiling and spreading glad tidings among themselves. I listened to the sisters conversing in their mother tongues, sharing their day ahead. I felt like an outsider looking in.
I watched as others shrieked with joy as they bumped into old friends and extended family members. They embraced and promised to keep in touch. Most of my previous friends and family members had stopped speaking to me since my conversion.
All around me, children ran wildly with candy, gifts and money. I witnessed as childhood memories were made and for a second I shared their joy and thought about the blessing Allah had given to these children to experience such a wonderful joy. At the same time, I couldn’t help but wonder if my future children will ever experience the same joyous spirit.
Families frantically rushed off to partake in their traditions such as the Eid breakfast or lunch, gift swapping or house hopping, to meet friends and family. I sat in my car, hands on the steering wheel pondering about what I could do for the rest of the day. I flipped through my contact list to find someone that I might call and they’d ask me to come over and share in their Eid joy.
Instead, I sat crying and begging Allah to guide all of my family to Islam. I cried and I asked Allah for forgiveness and I thanked Allah all day for giving me the gift of Islam and to witness the great day of Eid. I felt lonely but I felt at peace, Alhumdulillah!
This, unfortunately, if the reality for many reverts in Ramadaan and especially on the day of Eid. No-one should be alone and lonely on a day that should be filled with congregational-communion, love, laughter and the breaking of bread.
Many people in your community, be they new reverts, long time converts, single Muslims, refugees, the elderly; they are all in need of your love, acceptance and support on the day of Eid.
Take a moment to call up people in your community and invite them to come over. Don’t commiserate with them over the stress of the day, don’t stress their loneliness, just share with them genuine interests and likes, chat about mundane, regular everyday things, and just make them feel at home. Enjoy your time with them as people not as charity cases.
People said “O Messenger of God! Which of God’s servants are most beloved to him?”
He replied: “The most beneficial of them to the people.”
They asked, “Which action is best?”
He replied “Putting joy into the heart of a believer.”