During these blessed days of Dhul Hijjah, including the celebration of Eid ul-Adha, it can amplify feelings of loneliness, especially if you’re away from your loved ones. The feeling of loneliness can often also be worse for new Muslims and those who may not have anyone to celebrate with. It is important that as a community we encourage togetherness and continue looking after the most vulnerable around us.
New Muslims can experience loneliness because of a variety of factors. Often, they are encouraged to leave their non-Muslim family behind and to cut oneself off from everything from their previous life, whether that be through changing their name or even the clothes they wear. By alienating these new Muslims from their family, and not taking care of new Muslims after they have converted, feelings of loneliness, especially around the holidays, are common.
Additionally, new Muslims can often be alienated from their family because they are unhappy with their relative’s conversion. With Islamophobia at a high, news of a conversion to Islam can be met with disapproval and even disowning, increasing feelings of loneliness as the new Muslim is left, quite literally, on their own.
Sometimes, loneliness can be a positive thing. It can encourage a close personal relationship with Allah (swt), encouraging us to only depend on Him. This will hold you in good stead for when you’re going through rough times. But as humans, we were created as social creatures with a need for others. It is important therefore that we reach out. Whether you’re reaching out to ensure you are not alone, or you’re reaching out to prevent others from being alone, it is important that as an ummah we create a feeling of togetherness, and that’s not going to happen by itself. It might be difficult if you’re an introverted person or you experience social anxiety, but try going to interest groups or even looking online to find people to connect with. The latter can be especially useful if you are geographically isolated or you are unsure of who to contact in the area.
Refugees and those who have been displaced may also experience loneliness. Having fled conflict or famine and escaping with only that which they could fit in a small bag means that they are often without their home comforts, those things that can help make a strange place feel less alienating. Arriving in a new country, whether or not you have family members with you, can be extremely daunting and can make you feel alone. As a community, it is important that we reach out to those who have come to the UK under the worst possible circumstances and help them feel a sense of togetherness in their new home. Feeling lonely can worsen conditions that may already be present from living in a warzone. Depression, PTSD and anxiety can all be exacerbated through feeling as though you are by yourself and have no one around you.
Working away from home, being at university, especially during the Eid celebrations can make you feel alone too. You miss your family and friends and feel like no one else is going through what you are. Try finding a group or a local mosque to interact with, and there are hundreds of events around the UK which you can get involved with and become part of!
Whether you’re a new Muslim, new to the UK, working away from home, or are simply feeling alone, we wish you an extra special Eid ul-Adha Mubarak, our duas are with you all.