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Eid al-Fitr: A Revert’s Perspective

As it is obvious from my handle of al-Fārsi, I am ethnically Persian and I was born and raised in the West by Persian parents who did not practice Islām, with some elements of my family being more spiritual than practical in their faith.

As a result, this meant I was raised as almost agnostic, with some elements of Islām being mentioned whilst growing up. However, it was due to a key point in my life at the age of 13 that I started thinking about theology, particularly with regard to the afterlife, and I saw myself gravitate towards Islām. I developed my understanding of Islām through reading and understanding the Qur’ān and by watching speakers on YouTube from ‘The Deen Show’, and essentially, I fell in love with the religion of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā). There came a point where someone explained to me that there are 12 individuals after the Prophet (ṣall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) who have abilities almost Godlike in nature. For me, that did not make any sense because when I would read a chapter a day of the Qur’ān, I would never see any direct mention of something as significant as that put in plain view; unlike prayer, charity, the rights of women etc. All these different key elements of our dīn had been mentioned, yet this one crucial thing was only indirectly mentioned by Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā)? I could not understand why that would be the case.

Ramaḍān approached, and I chose to dedicate it to pinning down exactly what I truly accepted between the Sunni or the Shia perspective. It was around 2 am on Eid al-Fiṭr that I took my shahādah again and I prayed the Eid prayer at my mosque — my first prayer as a Sunni Muslim.

Now that I have explained my own personal background, I can give you a true insight into what this Eid day is like for someone like me. This event, as we know, is a beautiful occasion that marks the end of the month of Ramaḍān, in which we abstain from many of the world’s delights of food and drink (amongst others). This day also marks the coming together of families during the early morning prayer throughout the rest of the day, or for those who finished their work and know they will come home and they will be greeted by other family members with an “Eid Mubārak”, who then enjoy their company and the old will exchange gifts with the young.

Yet, the end of the month of Ramaḍān also signifies the end of the Shayṭān’s imprisonment, at which point he will remind the revert that they are alone and that this event of celebration means little because you are by yourself, with no one to celebrate with. For instance, I go to the early morning prayer at my local mosque and take part in the great takbīrāt with my friends and members of my local mosque and end it by sending congratulations to my friends, to the local Imām, and other members of my community. Then, I return home and sleep. Fast forward a couple of hours and I wake up again to be greeted by my mum and receive calls from relatives saying, “Eid Mubarak”. To them, Eid is just another day. I am all alone.

Now, this feeling is something that I have been able to overcome. I still look forward to the day of Eid as it is the day that Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) blessed me with this amazing gift of Islām and changed my life for the better. I can proudly refer to as the anniversary of my shahādah, and this day is thus a key reminder to myself in appreciating this already significant day. However, there are times where the loneliness still creeps into my mind because I get to see all those young kids with their mothers and fathers celebrating, whereas I return home to two simple words and then the day is treated as any other day in my life.

To ensure that I do not feel sad on such an amazing day, I try to overemphasise the significance and happiness that I experience during the early morning prayer, which only a combination of years and years of being in this beautiful faith has allowed me to develop. Do not get me wrong. I am grateful for the family I have, and I love them dearly because I know that there are families out there that mentally or physically abuse their children simply because they love Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) and his Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). However, for them, seeing their friends on the days of Eid with their families as it should be celebrated can honestly be painful because it reminds them of what their family is like. That is why I have always said to my Muslim brothers to appreciate the family you have even when you are upset with them, because I can vouch that any revert out there would kill to have a father or mother like yours — parents who pray, read the Qur’ān,  who will give Islamic reminders to their children in some shape or form, and encourage their children and spouses to go to the mosque — because many reverts do not have that.

I usually try messaging a friend of mine and see if they are available on that first day of Eid, to which I receive the reply of “I’m sorry bro I’m with my family”. At first, I would feel down but I would remind myself that my brother is able to celebrate with his family, and it makes me look forward to a day where I can be blessed to properly celebrate the day of Eid with my own family, in shā’ Allāh.

So, please remember that you may have friends — brothers in your faith and sisters in your faith — who are not as fortunate to have such a blessing; who, maybe like me, simply get congratulatory messages and that is it for the day; and for some who even have to hide it completely from their families for risk of being persecuted by their loved ones.

The point of this brief journey is to give you some kind of an insight as we reach the end of Ramaḍān, to remind yourselves to try if possible — even if it is for one hour, 30 minutes, or even 10 minutes — to just simply be with your Muslim brother or sister on the first day of Eid, just so that they get to experience some kind of celebration that is in addition to the Eid prayer.  When this happens, the joy and value they will feel are hard to match.

As Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) says in the Qur’ān:

… إِنَّمَا ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ إِخۡوَةٌ۬

“The believers are but brothers…” [1]

And to my brothers and sisters who have joined the beautiful religion of Islām, be it recently or some time ago, I remind you of the āyāt that many have reminded themselves in hard times:

فَإِنَّ مَعَ ٱلۡعُسۡرِ يُسۡرًا

“For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.

إِنَّ مَعَ ٱلۡعُسۡرِ يُسۡرً۬ا

Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” [2]

I ask Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) to accept our efforts in the blessed month of Ramaḍān and to make our efforts easy and also grant us and our families good health and khayr in this life and the next. ĀmĪn.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] Al-Qur’ān 49:10

[2] Al-Qur’ān 94:5-6

About Eskandar al-Fārsi

6 comments

  1. Aa having been a convert myself I really resonate with the loneliness of this article. I have now been by the grace of God, Muslim for over 25 years but for the first 12 years or so not a single person in our community invited me and my husband who is also a convert over to their house to break fast during Ramadan and we had a difficult time get ting into the Eid festivities because it was so different from where we had both come from . And then we experienced a miracle a gift from God by this time our children were probably five or six and we decided to start doing pot luck open houses on Eid. Now our experience is very festive -we have a great time and on most occasions over 100 guests show up at our house. we always try to invite those who we feel are new and possibly left out of the festivities But I will never forget the alienation I felt during the first 10 years of my conversion, some of it was very painful.

  2. JazakAllah for this post. This is just a test that we go through, and Allah knows best why.
    It’s high time our Muslims brothers and sisters who are blessed with practising Muslim families consider reverts and Muslims wiht no families. Muslims ought to be mindful of what’s happening around them. It’s not fair you had a lonely eid, there’s no excuse. It could have been avoided. Eid is not like Christmas where people say it’s family time and neglect their fellow Muslims. A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim.

    May Allah bless you abundantly and bless you with a practising family so that you can experience the sweetness of eid. Ameen
    Remember after every difficulty comes ease.

  3. Sister Abdurahman

    Asalamalaykum brother may the Almighty ease your hardship and find you peace and tranquillity in the deen. Eid is about being with family no matter who they Muslim non Muslim are it is an obligation and form of ibadat to maintain healthy and peaceful happy ties and not judge as judging is a form of arrogance. Therefore take comfort and be happy that your are with your beautiful family on this blessed day. Rather than feeling sad why don’t you put on an event for them cook dinner for them and spread Allah swt blessings to your family and neighbours Muslim non Muslim. Brother read the sunah of our blessed Nabi saw to understand the meaning of Eid and our duty as Muslims to our family friends neighbours and communities Muslim and non Muslim and be happy and peaceful may the Almighty guide us all to be those of the true understanding of the Message Allah swt is giving to us in the Quran and the example of the sunnah ameen inshallah

    • I can definetly relate to this post. Some families don’t care, you can cook as much as you want and invite them over, but they’ll tell you they’ve booked a shift and will be working during eid, or they are just not bothered, they’ll eat like any other day.
      It’s easy to say until you experience it. Eid in the west can be very lonely if you don’t have a practising family. You can invite mon Muslims for dinner etc, but is it the same eid spirit? If they don’t care about Eid, it won’t feel like eid. Strangers who are practising can make it feel like it. This post broke my heart, our Muslims brothers and sisters don’t care to invite those who don’t have families or reverts etc for eid celebrations, even worst for sisters. There’s no eid spirit. It’s clear the author appreciates his family, regardless. There’s no excuse for a Muslim to be lonely during eid, we will answer to Allah. Even when Muslims know your situation they don’t seem to care much.

  4. Jazakhallahu khairan for sharing this beautiful article. it would not have come at a better time subhanallah, it resonated with me since I haven’t heard the opportunity to celebrate eid properly in a long time. And I always wished I had what other Muslim sisters and brothers had, that excitement of Eid, to spend time with their families. But I remembered whatever they have Allah has better, but today that loneliness creeper in. So thank you for sharing your story. May Allah bless us with families of our own and grant us so many opportunities to celebrate eid properly. Allahuma amin.

  5. Jazakhallahu khairan for this beautiful article, Subhanallah, I would not have read it at a better time, as it resonated with me so well I haven’t had the opportunity to celebrate eid in its proper way in such a long time, and that loneliness always creeps in. Thus I always wished I had what other Muslim brothers and sisters had on eid. But then I remembered whichever they have Allah has better. May allah bless us with families of our own so we celebrate eid properly too. Allahuma amin

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