"Ramadan's about togetherness — here's how to connect with Muslim friends"
Nailah Dean from Salams — the marriage, friendship and networking app — tells us how the Salams app can help you connect with Muslim friends this Ramadan.
Mark your calendars because Ramadan 2022 is right around the corner! By now, you probably already know to circle two days as possibilities. Due to multiple moon sightings, you should prepare your workplace or school for your absence. However, once you get past a bit of confusion, you’ll find yourself in the holiest time of the year.
Ramadan is a time of commemoration of the holy Quran, and a cleansing of the body and soul through a daily abstention from the permissible. The removal of food and drink from our lives during daylight hours, positions us to have our sins wiped away for the year, and forges a new path for blessings to enter.
In addition to fasting, Ramadan is filled with our pursuit of closeness to Allah. It’s a time to increase our ibadat, worship, by reading more Quran, doing more dhikr, listening to lectures, and standing late in the night for taraweeh, the nightly salat. Although we are always able to worship alone, in our own homes, we are also encouraged to find community.
Before the pandemic, you could guarantee that Ramadan would yield the largest number of congregants in the whole year. The high attendance record leads one to believe that going to the mosque or even just being around other Muslims during Ramadan is mandatory, however it is not. While there are other days on the Islamic calendar that draw large crowds and are deserving of grand celebrations, none equate to the gatherings witnessed during Ramadan.
In Muslim majority countries, the public iftars are massive taking up streets and sidewalks in city centres. In the West, Muslims even join hands with their Christian and Jewish brethren to break fast.
But why is it that we come together during Ramadan more so than any other time of the year?
While it’s not a requirement of the fast, there is something intensely unique and special about ending the day with other people. The marathon of fasting days and late nights spent in prayer provides a euphoric experience that brings people to crave it year after year.
When I think about Ramadans before the pandemic, I remember breaking bread with strangers at the mosque, or in homes of mere acquaintances that invited me to eat with them for a community potluck. I remember the many summers I spent across the country for internships where I was compelled to seek out Muslims to survive the lows of a Ramadan spent without family.
The cherished memories include a flash of cooking together, learning together, and standing late in the night together. The bonds I formed during Ramadan seem to be lasting because of the emotional connection that lingers from that special month.
The closeness we feel to God and one another reminds me of the hadith that comments on communal bonding. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts support each other.” The Prophet then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced while saying that.” (Bukhari) He also said: “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 2446 and Muslim)
The encouragement by our beloved Prophet to come together as “one body,” and take action when one of us is in pain, speaks volumes to our need to find communal bonding at any point during the year, not just Ramadan. And yet, Ramadan is an excellent place to start. If you’re in a new city, or away at college, or just yearning for varied company, you can use Salams App to find fellow Muslims to enjoy Ramadan with.
Although Salams App is most known for being a way to find a spouse, it is also a fantastic way to find Muslim friends. The part of the App designated as Salams Connect is a great way to meet new friends during Ramadan. Previous users have commented on how easy it was to connect with like-minded individuals.
If you are living in a non-Muslim majority country, finding good Muslim friends that have similar values and interests as you can be challenging. For people who are curious about what it’s like to meet up with mere strangers from the internet, I can tell you from my own personal experience that it was simple, fast and fun!
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.” Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2378
As a Muslim woman, I found that having the ability to find other Muslimahs in my area who have similar interests is very comforting. The Salams App helped me to connect with a woman my age (late 20’s) who turned out to be only an hour away from me. After bonding over the complex journey to find a spouse in this modern age, we wanted to connect in person. I invited her to be my “wing woman” at a Muslim young professionals event a few weeks later. Together we “networked” with the hope of helping one another find a potential spouse.
Talking and meeting in-person with this new friend was a unique experience that I hope to have again and again especially during Ramadan. So if you’re looking to find Muslim friends to have halaqas with or to share iftar recipes with, Salams Connect makes it easier to help you find other Muslim friends near you.
In addition to increasing my connection with fellow Muslims, I plan to increase my gratitude. While the pandemic is far from over, we are seeing a glimpse of hope and a slow return to normalcy which should mean more iftars spent (safely) with strangers.
My shukr will be rooted in the shifaa that Allah (SWT) is providing us with, and my hope to establish new relationships in this new year, InshaAlah.
*Salams is one of Islam Channel's commercial partners