Before Ramadan begins, I want to get something off my chest. Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have felt excluded at some point during Ramadan. However, there are some things that should be left unsaid about our friendships, especially during Ramadan. For example, if you hear that one of your friends is getting together with a some other folks, you shouldn’t say, “Why wasn’t I invited?” Here is where you should give your co-religionists 75 excuses, as opposed to harboring ill feelings during this blessed month. Besides, how many get togethers have you organized without inviting your whole address book? If you really want to hang out with said friend, invite them for an iftar. Maintain contact throughout the year, build closer bonds, and next year they will remember you. Stop worrying about whether or not you were included. There could have been a myriad of reasons why you weren’t invited this time around: budgetary concerns of the host (it is expensive and the economy sucks); numbers (room may be full to capacity); crowd (it may not be your scene); organizer (perhaps the host is not even your friend or the event was to bring together certain people for a specific purpose); perhaps you don’t extend invitations yourself; perhaps they just forgot. Ramadan is not a time to harbor bad feelings or develop envy over someone getting invited to an event that you were not invited to.
Contrary to our family’s face, our social world is very limited. As a recent transplant and new mother it can be isolating and challenging. There have been many a Ramadan when I received a scarce invitation outside the community events that are open to the public. The daily iftars at Stanford were great. I didn’t have to worry about stuff like that. But here, in Philadelphia, at my first public iftar, I felt like I was just an object in all the sisters’ way. I didn’t feel very welcomed, so I understand. Outside of a handful of friends that I run into at public functions, I get the warm smile and the I-recognize-you-and-and-your-husband-but-I’m-too-busy-to-talk-to-you interactions from most. During my first year in Philadelphia, we received two invitations to people’s homes. One ended badly when a guest turned out to be confrontational because many guests weren’t in his particular sect. My second Ramadan, we didn’t receive many personal invites either. Those that did invite us were recent transplants to the Philadelphia. My third Ramadan was similar, even as I was very heavily pregnant and majorly tired, I think some people complained about last year when we didn’t invite them. And once again, not many personal invites outside the usual transplants and public events.
A lot of people we know and have been close to have not invited us over to their homes for whatever reason. At times do I feel left out when they write about their functions and close ties in public forums like facebook? Yes. But do I put it in perspective and keep on moving? I try to and focus on what I can do to not feel so isolated while not breaking my bank or neglecting myself or my family. I know that Ramadan is not about being part of the in crowd or showing up at the who’s who event to eat up all of somebody else’s food. Nor is it about creating popularity contests. These are things we shouldn’t bother ourselves with because we should be focused on higher things. Okay, breath deep, now to focus on my pre-Ramadan jitters! Stay blessed all!