Supporting New Muslims Converts this Eid ul Fitr

Eid & The New Muslim – Ways to Make The Day Special

We all agree that Eid is the most wonderful time of year. Muslims who are new converts to Islam anticipate the Eid with a mixture of wonder and uncertainty. Unlike single Muslims who may deal with loneliness or isolation, the new Muslim convert often lacks a frame of reference for what Eid is all about and what happens.

It is reported by Ibn Umar that Prophet Muhammad, God’s peace and blessings be upon him, instructed the believers, "Let no person get up only to have another to sit in his place, but rather make room and enlarge your circle" (Bukhari and Muslim).

This particular Prophetic tradition is a reminder for us to always remember to widen our circle of compassion. Many converts or reverts to Islam come from a culture in North America where their previous faith communities go out of the way to welcome attendees even if just for being present at one religious service. But the new Muslim convert may not have any introduction other than the one they received on the day they took their Shahadah. After that, for many communities, the onus is on the new Muslim convert to ingratiate themselves in the community, seek out study groups and classes on their own, and attend community functions to meet and make friends. Depending on the personality and level of outgoing-’ness’ of the person who converted, this may or may not be successful.

It is the best Adab (etiquette) for Muslims in the community to extend themselves to the new convert rather than the other way around. In days past, some communities would pair a new convert with a Muslim of similar age and situation. For example, a Muslim mother of four would pair up with a new convert mother with children. This person would serve as a companion and guide so the new convert did not have to navigate the etiquette of Islam or meet other people on their own. Unfortunately, over time, these once common practices have all but slipped away as the Muslim community grew with a diverse array of Muslims completely oblivious to this cultural tradition. 

The key to enhancing the Eid experience for the new Muslim convert is similar to that for the single Muslim – inclusion, inclusion, inclusion. Keep the new Muslim in the loop!  For the new Muslim convert, go the extra step by providing an example as well. 

To celebrate this recurring happiness, explain what Eid is to them. They may have the official version from the Imam or a book on Islam, but share what Eid means and has meant to you and your family. Personalizing Islamic practices is consistent with the Hadith and example of the Prophet. His example provided real life instances of how to internalize and respond to situations in our daily life in an Islamic way.

So make the day special. For the new Muslim convert, this is their first Eid and first experiences are often the most memorable. Think about it: If the convert is fairly new, this may have been their first time fasting in the month of Ramadan, so as the day of Eid approaches, refer them to the Quran and point out how pleasing the fast is to Allah, The Most High.

On Eid ul Fitr itself:

  • Explain to the new Muslim convert what happens on Eid day. Give them examples from the Sunnah of how the Muslim should prepare, wear their best clothes, say the Takbir (saying “God is Greater, which is Allahu Akbar in Arabic) and how all should attend this special day.
  • Call the new Believer on Eid morning and wish blessings of the day. In a Hadith it is reported “At the time of the Prophet when people met one another on the day of `Eid, they would say, ‘Taqabbal Allahu minnaa wa minka.’ (May Allah accept good deeds from us and from you)” (Reported by Ibn Hajar) or simply “Eid Mubarak”.  
  • Give them a copy of the Takbiratul Eid and practice with them so they know how to say it. Make sure you have the English/Spanish or French translation so that they know what they are saying. Culturally, people from North America are not comfortable repeating words in foreign languages that they do not understand.  The Prophet used translators to make sure that those who were not natural Arabic speakers would understand and know his message.  
  • Sit with them at the Eid Salah so they are not alone. If you are able to, pick them up and take them to the Eid prayer.
  • Give them decorations for their home or identify websites where they can buy their own decorations and beautify their spaces based on their own preferences.
  • Send them an Eid card. Americans love receiving holiday cards.
  • Share pictures of past Eid celebrations.
  • If your community is having an Eid event after the Salah (prayer), then be at the side of the new Muslim so that they never feel alone.
  • Take the opportunity where so many Muslims have gathered to introduce the new Muslims to others. 
  • Give Eid gifts to the new Muslim and their family.
  • Reassure the new Muslim convert that they can make and enjoy their own culturally relevant celebration foods on this day. If special days in their culture include tres leches cake or peach cobbler, help them understand the importance of family and community connectedness of this day.
  • Make Dua that Allah, The Most High, blesses them with a beautiful Eid.

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