Eid as a Stranger

Categories: Blog Series | Ramadan

Making the best of Eid 

Bismillah Ar Rahmaan Ar Raheem

Where do I start? I describe myself as a different type of revert but people from my home country Nigeria would not find that strange. But this is not about my reversion but about experiencing Eid. Although my experiences are different from most revert sisters especially in the West. I draw similitudes in my experiences of being a Muslim immigrant in the West and celebrating Eid without family

Last Eid my children and I moved to the United Kingdom (I am a single mum).  It was our first Eid ul Fitr away from home. After all the anxiety of how Ramadan would be for us, it was also the first time we would fast for such long hours due to the timings in the UK. The thought of it was very scary, but Alhamdulillah both my children fasted, only missing two days. I would love to share a few tips based on our experiences, and I hope as a revert sister or mum you find them useful and that you are able to create a meaningful and memorable Eid experience, in shaa Allaah.

It may be hard, but you need to get outside and join the community. Being a student when I arrived and having a son who was a pre-teen, it was important for me that we went to the local Masjid. I tried to attend Jumah even though it is not compulsory for women, but that is where you start building your own support and engaging with the community. If you can, attend the events open to women. Being an introvert, it was not always easy for me, but I have two extroverted children, so out I must go!

Find an online community:

Virtual spaces are also where you can connect with other sisters. I recall when I was overwhelmed with the fear of fasting last year, I contacted a sister I follow on Instagram, may Allah reward her with goodness. She was so kind in her response, it immediately put me at ease. You can find other revert sisters and you can have a virtual Eid party, this is one thing we learnt from the COVID 19 pandemic. It is also important to say that we need to be careful about how we connect with online, considering the many brands of “Islam” we see nowadays, may Allah continue to keep us on the straight path, Ameen. Find people with the correct understanding of the deen. 

[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi, who classified it as Hadith Hasan].

Iftar and Taraweeh in the community:

Aiming to break your fast in the masjid and observing taraweeh can be more beneficial than you imagine. It was beautiful for us to be sat on the floor amongst complete strangers, but to feel that they are your sisters. I established connections with many sisters while trying to break the fast. You can take a meal or any light snack as well, bit only if it is convenient for you – do not overwhelm yourself. Our local masjid provided iftar over the weekends and some extra days. Just being with other sisters from around the world can be beautiful. You get to ask them about Eid in their home country and a new country or birth country, whichever the case. Conversations with others can give you an idea of what to expect for Eid.

 Eid day events:

Preparing for Eid is not just about the feast that follows but also ensuring you stick to the sunnah, and you do not end Ramadan with sin after cleansing yourself for a whole month. Check if your masjid has events planned for the day. Some masajid offer their Eid salat in a park and have events afterwards. There are usually many fun activities. In my case, there was not much planned but some sisters I met had suggested going to the park, it rained so eventually we stayed home. It forced my children and I to play with each other. We played nasheeds and chatted. There are so many vocals-only nasheeds on Youtube, you can create a playlist ahead of Eid.

Plan Ahead and be Proactive

One of the best things I’ve learned is that by being prepared and proactive, I can get more out of life in general, and this applies to Eid too. I’ve learned that I don’t have to wait for someone else to plan something or invite me or arrange something – I can ask and help to arrange something that fits in with my needs, and earn the rewards of helping others to celebrate Eid too. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate Eid party with all the trimmings – it could be a meet up in a pottery cafe with a few sisters doing something creative and enjoying each others company; it could be a picnic in the park; it could be a tea and cake or “bring-a-dish” at the masjid or even your home for a few sisters..whatever fits with you and helps you to celebrate and enjoy Eid.

There is no one right way to celebrate (as long as you don’t engage in anything forbidden, ofcourse). Make your own decisions about what would feel nice and special to you, using the people and resources you have available to you.

To decorate or not to decorate: As a revert, you may find decorating a means to help you really get into the Eid mood. I used to decorate for Ramadan, but opted out last year because I read an article and just decided to focus on other things instead. This is a personal choice and even though some people argue that decorating has become more like copying the Christians, I think each person should research and decide on what works for them. Eid banners and balloons are always a favourite in our home.

  • To have paid the special charity called ” zakat-ul-fitr” BEFORE the Eid prayer ( which enables poor Muslims to still eat and celebrate eid with the rest of the Ummah).
  • Make ghusl (take a shower or bath) before you go out to pray the Eid Prayer.
  • Eat breakfast – the Prophet (SAW) ate dates before going out to prayer for the Eid at the end of Ramadan.
  • Wear the best clothes you have
  • Apply fragrance/perfume ( for men; for women, your perfume should not be able to be detected by others outside).
  • Recite the “takbeerat” during the night of Eid from sunset on the last day of Ramadaan,until the imam comes to lead the Eid prayer. There are different forms for this, one of the most common is: Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, wa Lillaahi’l-hamd (Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, there is no god except Allaah, Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great , Allaah is Most Great, and all praise be to Allaah). 
  • Walk to the mosque for Eid prayer – if you can, and its a sunnah to use a different route on the way back.
  • Perform Eid prayer in congregation, if praying. If you’re not able to pray, it is still recommended to attend the prayer, listen to the Eid Khutbah (sermon), and participate in the takbeeraat.

Look on trusted websites for information on Eid and to understand the dos and don’ts of the blessed day, and read up about zakat ul fitr well ahead, so you find all the little ways to earn more rewards on this beautiful day. 

Eid shopping:

Did you think I wouldn’t talk about Eid shopping? I recommend that you do this before Ramadan if possible. It helps you to focus on the productivity you need for Ramadan. Even if it’s just you, buy yourself an Eid gift. For extras, you can buy an extra gift and hand it out to anyone after the Eid prayers in your local masjid. A kind sister brought gifts for the kids; my daughter was overjoyed. There is something special about receiving gifts from people who simply give them Lillah ( for the Sake of Allah). This is where the sisterhood and the bond of our deen come from. The highlight of Eid for my children is receiving gifts because we do not celebrate birthdays. They always look forward to it and even sometimes make requests for what they want. I met a revert sister who said she leaves gifts at the doorstep of her neighbours during Eid with a little note, to me it is such a beautiful way to give dawah. 

Family:

Depending on what your relationship is with your family after reversion, Eid may be a good opportunity to talk to them not just about Eid but also Islam. This is easier if they are open and still accept you as family. 

Overall, my best tip is to make dua asking Allah to make your Eid a blessed and memorable one. It is something many of us completely forget about. Ask Allah to give you the Eid you have pictured for yourself. 

May we all be blessed with a beautiful Eid, and an accepted Ramadan, Ameen.

About the author

Basheerah Jones is the pen name of a social justice lawyer who is transitioning into Islamic Finance. She enjoys journaling and loves to travel even though she hasn’t done much of it. She is an aspiring writer and she was a contributor to “Not to be forgotten,” an anthology by Muslim women writers on lived experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many revert women struggle on their own after embracing Islam.

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