This Eid, Give the Gift of Belonging | SoundVision.com

This Eid, Give the Gift of Belonging

When I was a brand-new Muslim, my husband and I moved from the East Coast to the West because of his new job. I didn’t know anyone in California and, to complicate the general upheaval in my life, I was also expecting our first child. My family and friends back home were still adjusting to the fact that I had embraced Islam and had started thinking, acting, and dressing differently. Not all of them were thrilled or supportive.

So when our first Eid al Adha rolled around, my husband and I found ourselves alone. His family was overseas, and mine was still lamenting that I didn’t celebrate Christmas anymore. We were just beginning to meet some Muslims at the local masjid or mosque, but at least my husband did have some old friends whom he’d met over the years at Islamic conferences. One of those friends, Abu Rami, facilitated an introduction for me to his wife and daughters. These women would eventually become some of my dearest friends, sisters, and role models, Alhamdullilah, all praise and thanks are for Allah. May Allah pour His blessings on their entire family in this life and the next! Ameen. 

Masha Allah, as God has willed it, the Khatib family was already large enough – with several adult kids and multiple grandkids – to fill their home to bursting on holidays. But they still warmly invited my husband and me to join them in celebrating Eid. As a new Muslim, I found that their kindness and hospitality had an enormous impact on me, strengthening my faith and teaching me life-changing lessons about how Muslims should treat each other with the best of intentions and generosity. The Khatibs incorporated us wholeheartedly into their fold. They provided thoughtful, carefully-wrapped Eid gifts for both of us. They shared their food and laughter and even family jokes with us, making us feel like we were welcome and integral parts of their celebration.

SubhanAllah, Glory to Allah, for many years after that, even after my husband and I had our own children and had made many other wonderful Muslim friends in California, this beautiful family kept inviting us to their home for Eid. Their home became more boisterous every year as our toddlers joined their grandchildren in playful exuberance. We felt like it was a home away from home, and that these people were every bit as beloved as our own parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews.

Over the years, the Khatibs invited other people in the community to their Eid gatherings, as well: single moms with kids, new converts, and brothers and sisters who were new to the area with nowhere else to go. All were welcomed warmly, and all were given gifts, hugs, delicious food, and a joyful atmosphere to spend Eid. No one felt like they were invited out of pity; we were all treated like honored guests.

Thinking back on those years, I am still amazed by how generous and thoughtful the Khatib family was to us and so many others. I pray that Allah will reward – in this life and the next – every single effort they made to brighten the day for those of us who did not have family or friends to spend Eid with.

This Eid, if you are blessed to have a family and a home to celebrate Eid, please consider hosting someone in the community who will likely spend the day alone. You do not have to offer a perfectly clean home, gourmet food, or Pinterest-worthy decorations. A warm, sincere welcome and an atmosphere of wholesome Islamic fun will undoubtedly be enough to make guests feel special.

How do you know who is likely to be alone on Eid? Consider extending an invitation to these individuals:

  • New converts
  • Newly divorced Muslims
  • People who have recently moved to your area
  • Immigrants whose families are back home
  • Muslims who might be struggling financially
  • Brothers and sisters who seem to need cheering up for whatever reason
  • Elderly Muslims who don’t have family nearby

Imagine the potential rewards for sharing your Eid celebration with brothers and sisters who have nowhere else to go! Imagine the impact you can have on their imaan or faith by demonstrating beautiful Islamic manners and the true spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood! InshaAllah, God willing, such efforts will be blessed immensely by our Lord who commanded us to show generosity, thoughtfulness, and support to fellow members of our Ummah. Like the Khatib family, you might live in the hearts and duaas of grateful Muslims for the rest of their lives, inshaAllah.

Laura El Alam is a freelance writer and editor and the author of the book Made From the Same Dough, as well as over 100 published articles. A wife and mother of five, Laura lives with her family in Massachusetts. You can visit her online at www.seaglasswritingandediting.com.

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