Creating A Sentimental Connection To Ramadan

Share the Post:

For Muslim Converts, it can sometimes be challenging to connect to Ramadan in ways that bring sentimental feelings.  This can be a daunting challenge, living in a non-Muslim country.  During other holidays, retail stores are full of symbols, traditions, special foods, music, and slogans used year after year that invoke a sentimental feeling when those times are near.  Many people have annual traditions that they experience with their families or community to commemorate holidays, creating warm and happy memories.  We have special clothes, work functions, social events, and more and have done so, even secularly for decades.  And then everything changes.  Shahada, the declaration of faith is spoken, someone becomes Muslim and so many things that have been such a large part of our lives are gone.  We know this and we accept it but it does not come without some emotional difficulty in certain aspects of our lives.  We no longer celebrate holidays that we spent our lives participating in but we do gain Ramadan, Eid al Fitr, and Eid al Adha.  But what does that mean for someone who hasn’t been raised with these traditions and family or community events that have deep-seeded a sentimental connection?  What does this mean for the Muslim who may be completely alone during this time?  We must be proactive and start from square one. 

Here are some tips and tricks that can help create a sentimental connection to Ramadan or the Eids.  

Decorate your home:

Although finding Ramadan or Eid decorations in your local retail store can be challenging, you may be forced to become creative.  Amazon or online shopping can also be a useful tool.  Creating your own decorations can not only give a personal touch but by the time spent making them can be a tool itself to build a memory and create a sentimental connection.  “Decorating for Ramadan and making the countdown to Eid boxes for my kids makes it really special for us.” Amanda Dulaney.  In addition to the lights, garland, and pretty decorations, you can also use some household items only during the month of Ramadan.  I collected a set of dishes, hand towels, tablecloths, and serving platters that I only use during the month of Ramadan.  Heather Hart says “I keep a Big Gulp container of water by my bed and drink every time you can.  (As a new Muslim,) for me, it’s not the food fasting that is as challenging as much as a dry mouth with eight hours until Maghreb.” It may seem a little irrelevant or frivolous but is a useful tool.  Over the years, it is small, repetitive customs, habits, and practices that when revisited annually tug at our hearts.  

Private moments of Reflection:

“Remember the private moments of reflection, Quran reading and Duas are the precious moments that Ramadan is made of.  Beyond the iftar, events, and community Taraweeh (which are all beneficial) make sure you allow time to reflect and ponder in the quiet moments.” Heather Hart

Sensory Traditions with Food and Drink:

Try to find or prepare a few different recipes or have a few foods or drink items that you mostly only have during Ramadan.  I love mango juice.  I could easily drink it daily.  During my first Ramadan, I chose to break my fast with a date and a few sips of mango juice.  Many of us know how heightened the flavor of something tastes after going all day without eating or drinking and my favorite beverage leveled up even more after a day of fasting.  I decided to purchase and drink mango juice more during Ramadan than at any other time.  Now, the taste of mango juice brings sentiments of delicious relief after the fast.  Many people have favorite soup, entrée, or sweets recipes or even a special meal for suhoor, only prepared during the month of Ramadan.  Some of my favorite recipes take special preparation.  The preparation itself, with the time and care in preparing the dish that helps create a special memory as well as a sensory connection.  

Community Time:

Many mosques offer special programs and community iftar in addition to daily Taraweeh prayers.  You may have to step out of your comfort zone or seek out activities to attend.  Try attending programs and different mosques.  You may find a connection at one more than another.  “We try to come to the masjid as much as possible.  We then come home after prayers and have some sweets.  This makes me feel connected because we are doing it as a family and staying active in the community.” Amanda Dulaney

Annual Ramadan tasks or goals:

While we all try to focus harder on reading the Quran, dhikr, fasting, and charity during Ramadan.  Many of us choose a special goal or goals each year.  Ramadan journals are a nice way to track your activities and map out your goals.  Choosing a special goal for Ramadan could be anything from wanting to learn more about a specific topic in Islam to memorization or learning recitation of the Quran or making a better effort to visit ill or grieving community members.  The goal could be as simple or challenging as you wish.  Having a specific personal goal and working toward that can help create a sentimental connection.  We can reflect on years past and the benefits of accomplished goals and if goals weren’t met, we can always try again in sha’ Allah.  “Make a list of duas to focus on.  Allah is listening to our heartfelt requests. is great to set up for catching Laylatul Qadr.” Heather Hart

Special Series:

Many online or streaming platforms offer special series during the month of Ramadan.  Some series are as simple as a five minute video each day with an inspirational message while others may be much longer and deeper in the message.  I recommend checking in with your favorite online speakers or organizations and trying to follow the special series made for Ramadan.  

Don’t strive for perfection. Strive for Connection:

The final thought on creating a sentimental connection to Ramadan is to be compassionate to yourself.  Converts tend to put so much pressure on themselves for whatever reasons.  “Don’t strive for perfection.  Strive for Connection.  Pace yourself and be patient with yourself.  Overwhelm may happen but reach out to a brother or sister in the community,” Heather Hart. Remember that we are all learning and always will in sha’ Allah.  Even the Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them had time to learn and grow. 

New to the Deen runs with the help of your support, Donate to support the program and help your fellow muslim brothers and sisters