One of the most common complaints I’ve heard as a new convert to Islam also called a revert to Islam, is how lonely it can be. After typically spending years of researching before making our decision and then deciding to finally tell our family and friends, “I’m becoming Muslim.” Only for people, who we thought were friends to turn their backs on us. It isn’t always easy finding other reverts or becoming part of the Islamic community. Sometimes we may even lose those who are family due to our decision. So we decided to help put together a list of practical ways to help.
This is one of the main reasons why so many reverts spend years agonising over the decision and really learning to make sure it’s right before they do convert to Islam. Sometimes even becoming Muslim in secret. Worrying about the reaction from loved ones. Even if we manage to stay in good relations with our family, it can still be lonely when it comes to Ramadan or Eid celebrations. As we do not have a Muslim family to spend these times with. Until we get married, and even that can be a challenge as a revert to Islam!
If things weren’t already tough, we may live in a country where there is a lot of negativity and hate towards Muslims. Leaving us feeling even more isolated from those around us. However being a revert to Islam doesn’t have to be lonely! So what can do we as reverts to help stop this loneliness from creeping in? Here are seven simple ways to find other reverts and fight loneliness:
Sign up to an Islamic centre or the educational part of a mosque
This is the first and most important. They might not have all their resources for new Muslims visible online so it’s best to find their e-mail address. Send a quick message explaining you’re a new Muslim. They can invite you there to have a chat or inform you of what is available. Depending on how active the Islamic centre is, they’ll send over updates and when courses start.
The second part is down to you and taking the time to attend regularly. If you have more than one Mosque or Islamic centre nearby, go visit a few and see who are more active in the community. Or where you feel you click with the people. Perhaps find out which ones are more popular with converts to Islam? Here you’ll find like-minded people, make new friends and get a chance to broaden your learning about Islam. Inshallah, they can help keep your deen strong too!
Find a charity where you can volunteer
You can volunteer for a Muslim charity, for your local Islamic centre or mosque. Even if it’s not a Muslim charity, you might be surprised by who you meet and how much value you get out of volunteering.
“He should work with his hands so that he may benefit himself and give in charity.” They said, “If he cannot work or does not work?” He said, “Then he should help the oppressed unhappy person (by word or action or both).”
Sahih al-Bukhari 6022
Sometimes it takes guts to get out of your comfort zone and interact with people you wouldn’t normally. Volunteering can be a great way to break that barrier! Both by getting to know those who are working with you but also those you are helping. On top of this, you’ll really feel part of the community by giving something back.
Often Mosques and Islamic centres are dependent on people volunteering, so it’s definitely worth asking if they need any help. You’re likely to meet other reverts to Islam here too. So if you’ve done step number 1; then as you become more you’re involved, the more likely you’ll hear of an opportunity to help.
Don’t be afraid to ask or admit you’re alone
If an Islamic holiday is coming up, try to arrange a gathering for those who may also be on their own. Ask a Muslim friend or neighbour if it would be possible for you to join them. Maybe you don’t want to ask outright, you can say “Oh it must be so nice breaking your fast with others!” Inshallah they get the hint and invite you. I know this is bold but often it can just be a case that those close to you have no idea you’re on your own.
If they were born Muslim, they might not know how lonely it can be as a revert to Islam. If you were raised in a Christian country, it’s the same for us when it comes to Christmas. We’re so busy running around, preparing food and talking with family members. We tend to just assume everyone else is the same. The thought might not even cross our minds. So that’s why even though it takes a huge amount of swallowing our pride! Just admitting we’ll be alone allows for others to be able to step forward and show just how caring the Muslim community can be!
Don’t give up on your family relationships
At the beginning this will be tough for most of us, some families may even cut you out completely but don’t lose hope. If you haven’t yet become Muslim, try to involve them before you make the decision. Tell them you’re looking into the religion of Islam. Then it won’t be such a huge shock to them when you do convert to Islam. Yes you will probably have some disagreements. This will happen whether you tell them now or later.
After you revert to Islam, keep trying to make things better with them. Share the positives in your life. Don’t keep Islam as an awkward secret. Involve them. Try to build bridges. Of course, it will be weird at first but just keep going. Family is important, which our Prophet heavily emphasised. And of course, this will only add to you feeling lonely if you lose that relationship with them.
When they do say something mean, try to stay calm and not get defensive or shout. Salah (prayer) really helps with this. Sit down and ask questions. “Why do you feel this way? What has upset you?” Try as much as you can to reassure them that you’re still the same person as before. It’s only your belief system that has changed. The less you make it a big deal, the less they’ll see it as a big deal inshallah.
Use the positives of technology
Alhamdullilah for technology. These days with social media and online communities, you can reach out and find other Muslims. Facebook has several Revert or Muslim Sister groups where you can find other reverts/converts to Islam and reach out to sisters across the world. In cities with larger Muslim populations, there are area-specific Muslim community groups.
Since finding myself stuck in my home country, I’ve personally met other revert sisters online from my native country. This wouldn’t have been possible without introducing myself on a Facebook group and admitting I felt alone.
Instagram is more difficult to find multiple reverts to connect with compared with Facebook but it does tend to be less intense than Facebook groups. Often with Facebook, there are many different women at different stages of their journey which can be overwhelming as a new Muslim. My advice would be to find sisters within the group who you feel are similar to you and sending them a friend request with a message. I wouldn’t recommend Facebook groups if you’re really new to Islam as all the information can be too much and it isn’t always correct.
The one advantage of Instagram is that you really get to know sisters on a more personal one and one basis. I love that via their social media I get to know them more and understand more of their personality. All while seeing what their daily lives are like. Often we share the same struggles. So if you are in a more remote location, Instagram can be a nice way to connect without overwhelming yourself!
Be active & approach people
If you see another sister wearing a hijab, go say Salam Alaikum! I know in the modern world, we’re not used to doing this but I’ve honestly met some amazing people thanks to random conversations. Just don’t be afraid to go up to them. Even at your local centre or Masjid, don’t be afraid to speak to other members there. Offer to start a coffee morning for other reverts and help them connect to each other. Create a WhatsApp group for reverts in your community. Be proactive! Attend Islamic events and don’t be afraid to travel if you live in a smaller place (*If it’s currently allowed of course!). Again this draws back to the first piece of advice, regularly attending somewhere you will get to know the people.
Easily one of the most simple. Take a moment after your obligatory prayers, go back into Sujood and make Dua. It doesn’t need to be in Arabic, you can ask in whatever language you are comfortable in. Again it may feel odd to ask for things at the beginning as a new revert but Subhan-Allah I’ve heard of so many sisters who have made Dua and had them answered so quickly! In ways they never thought possible! Losing friends due to their decision to convert to Islam and then gaining amazing support from the Muslim community after they made Dua. Alhamdullilah their lives became filled with amazing supportive women.
If you prefer to use a hadith from the sunnah. This dua is taken from the hadiths, to help bring righteous people into your life:
“Fatira assamawatiwal-ardi anta waliyyee fee addunyawal-akhirati tawaffanee musliman waalhiqneebissaliheen“
Creator of the heavens and earth, You are my protector in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die a Muslim and join me with the righteous.
We hope this advice helps everyone who has recently become Muslim or even those who may be a long time revert to Islam but feeling isolated. Feel free to reach out to our Instagram and we’ll try our best help if we can. Islam is a journey and we all have to find our own pace. Sometimes we have to be patient. As Muslims, we are all tested but in different ways. So if you are currently struggling on your own, remember there are rewards for every struggle and that after every hardship always comes ease. Salam Alaikum and may Allah keep you strong. Ameen.