My revert friend called me having an emotional breakdown saying that she needed to come see me ASAP. She was at my doorstep 8 hours later.
Many older reverts claim that it is difficult to fit in with other Muslims their age due to the language barrier. Though unacceptable, it is also inevitable. What I can’t make excuses for is my friend, and other reverts her age (24).
She met me at the same time she met many other Muslim girls in my former community. They all “befriended” her. But at the end of the day, when she needed a true friend, it disturbed me that she had to make a 4 hour drive to where I live now beause she couldn’t find peace within the same community that first welcomed her to Islam.
I am not pointing fingers at anyone; I am proposing that we all step out of our safe haven group of friends and reach out to people. Get away from familiarity. Even a smile to someone new can make a difference and that seems to be asking a lot nowadays.
I am not particularly close to my friend, but I tried to make her feel she belonged. We fasted Mondays/Thursdays together and called to wake each other up for Fajr. Though they were little gestures, they went a long way, and she sadly revealed that no one else attempted to keep up with her like I did.
Too often I’ve seen people at the masjid, either new to the community or to Islam, sitting all alone. Too often, I see people grounded in their own friend group, refusing to acknowledge people they don’t know. Too often, I’ve heard of people turning away from Islam because they recieved no support from the Muslims.
As an Ummah, we pride ourselves on being the religion with the highest conversion rate but we fail to follow through with what happens afterwards. So please, next time you see anyone new at the masjid, make an effort to shake hands and say salaams.
Sara, a Pakistani Muslimah living in Texas