Being the only Muslim woman in town is lonely. You feel like you would love some sisters to invite to tea or to share your experiences with, to go shopping with. You long to be able to just jump in your car and drive minutes to the Masjid. You can join as many online women’s groups as you like and it will help fill in the gap some; Although, you will still be left wanting, more. Online relationships are one thing but a tangible person sitting with you, talking with you, laughing and sharing with you is, well, real.
When I first converted to Islam I was in this very situation. The whole town consisted of maybe a thousand people and I was the talk of the town. Every outing I made was a spectacle. You could see all the other women whispering and staring. The men glaring. At the time it was more or less hurtful. Though, looking back now I can find humor in it.
I had many instances of people thinking I am a foreigner. For some reason, the hijab automatically makes people assume you are foreign. 😉 They would be amazed at my grasp on the English language and probably thought I was a genius for getting their dialect down perfectly.
During my years spent in small town, America I realized just how cruel some people could be and at the same time how beautiful and open people can be. You see some days I would go out and get a smile and a conversation. Somedays, I would get people who were honestly just curious about me and my way of life.I figured it was the will of Allah that I landed in this town as the only Muslimah. Ultimatley, I began to open up more to the non Muslim women in my neighborhood. I began to take them small gifts and when I did I noticed something amazing. I came to realize that being the only Muslim in town could be an excellent opportunity for da’wah (educating and calling to Islam) if you embrace it. I realized that instead of sitting in my house alone, pouting because I couldn’t find any Muslimah friends, that I should just go out and try to make the best of it.
Only after I came to this realization and began interacting with my community did I learn of four other Muslim families in the next town over. Mash’Allah, after all this time searching, once I came to terms with my situation, I found the Muslim women. I’m sure that it happend this way for a reason. I did begin going for brunches and teas with these Muslim women. We would sit and talk and go shopping. It was every bit as wonderful as I had imagined. However, I continued my involvement in the community and continued having the non Muslims for lunch or taking them cookies or small gifts as well. So, then I realized that I had double the pleasure. I had the pleasure of dispelling some of the myths related to Muslim woman plus I had my Muslim sisters to go to for support.
Insh’Allah, when we moved away from that small mountain community we left more people who were educated about Islam than when we arrived. That is a great accomplishment and one that does not come without the Decree of Allah. May Allah guide us all. ameen.