Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Ex-muslim at Ramadan

what do you if your a ex Muslim and its Ramadan?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

When you’ve left a religion it can take time to adjust. Although you don't believe anymore, there can still be a lot of thoughts and feelings about what you used to believe. It's also difficult when those around you are still part of that religion and expect you to take part. Some people feel like they're not able to come out as a non-believer when their family and community still believe, which can also make religious festivals or events difficult. How you cope with Ramadan as a non-believer depends on your situation.

If you're openly a non-believer and those around you have accepted this then Ramadan can be whatever you want it to be. There might be parts of Ramadan that you enjoyed and that you want to continue like getting together with family and friends. There isn't any reason you can't take part in celebrations if you’d like to. A big part of leaving a religion is making decisions about what you’d like to do, now that you no longer follow religious laws and practices.

If you're openly a non-believer but those around you don't accept this, then it might feel like you’re being forced or pressured into the practices and rituals that you don’t want to participate in. Or you might be left out and made to feel like you no longer belong. It's wrong for people to treat you differently because of your beliefs, and it can make you feel alone and isolated. Childline has advice to help when you’re not getting on with family, and how to deal with peer pressure.

If you no longer believe but haven't told anyone else, this can also feel like a lonely time. When you're still surrounded by something that you no longer believe in, it can feel like you’re lying to people or betraying their trust. It's important to know that it's okay to choose when and if you want to talk about your beliefs. You're not doing anything wrong by waiting. Childline has advice to help with loneliness and isolation – or you could try out the Calm Zone or the Coping Kit for activity ideas to help keep calm.

One way of coping with loneliness and isolation is to find others who also don't believe - either because they aren’t religious or because they have also left Islam. Having other people who won't judge you for your non-belief can help remind you that it's okay to be true to what you believe in, even if it’s different to your family or friends. If you aren’t sure if you can speak to people around you about this, you could try meeting new people outside your circle of family and friends.

Remember you can always talk to a Childline counsellor – they’ll listen to how you’re feeling, help you find people to speak to and practice what you’d like to say with you.  Childline's message boards might also be helpful – there’s a forum about religion where other ex-Muslims might have shared how they cope around Ramadan.

Thanks for sharing this with me, I hope this letter has helped.

Take care,


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