Ramadan is almost here, and over the last week my social media feed has been covered with excited posts, saying things like 'it’s Ramadan soon' and 'I can’t wait'. 

Ramadan is a time when I am supposed to strengthen my relationship with God. Instead, I’m dreading it.

As a single Muslim woman, the thought of opening my fast alone again fills me with sadness. Preparing a meal for one isn’t exciting.

I don’t know any Muslims except for the ones I speak to on social media; and my family are not very supportive of me practising, which doesn’t help.

During Ramadan, I see people sharing photos on social media of the Iftar (opening their fast) and how much of a lovely time they are having with their loved ones. Though I’m happy to see this, it makes me feel incredibly sad because it reminds me that I will be opening my fast alone again.

I remember taking my Shahada (declaration of belief), it was a very special moment for me. I met some Muslim women who had offered to teach me how to pray, but when the time came, they said they were busy and made excuses. I decided to teach myself. I bought books and watched videos online.

I still don’t know how to pray properly because there are so many different ways to pray. I found that all the conflicting information on how to practice became very frustrating. Part of me felt like giving up on it altogether.

During Ramadan, after the fast opens, Muslims gather in the mosque to pray Taraweeh (A prayer that’s performed only in Ramadan). I decided to attend a few of these prayers at my local mosque once. However, I found that the women already had their own circles and were very cliquey and not welcoming to newcomers. This put me off, so I stopped attending.

There are blogs and articles online about how a revert should spend their Ramadan, but these are written mostly by Muslims that were born into the religion. However, in practice, those articles don’t actually help eliminate the loneliness of Ramadan. It all sounds great online but in reality, it’s a different story.

People don’t understand the difficulties and challenges reverts face. I’ve heard people say, “God will help you”. I think this is an easy way out for people who don’t want to offer any real support or practical advice to the person who is seeking help.

Many reverts spend Ramadan on their own. This is usually because of family relationships that have broken down, often due to the fact that some families are not accepting of their family member reverting to Islam. It can become a very lonely place irrespective of how old you are.

I am not the first person to write about this and I won’t be the last. I feel it’s an important issue that we need to talk about within the Muslim community. 

Ramadan is about togetherness. However, when you’re spending it alone, it doesn’t feel that way. It’s not pity or sympathy that are needed, it’s understanding and dialogue.

Parveen Ali is a writer and photographer. You can read more of her blogs on at www. parveenali.com/