RAMADAN: Communal iftar, an expression of social solidarity and compassion

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SAKAKA: Community iftar in the holy month of Ramadan is one of the most rewarding deeds. The Prophet said: “Whoever gives iftar to a fasting person will have a reward like his, without that detracting from the reward of the person in the slightest,” and in this holy month, communal iftars are abundant in a number of mosques in Al-Jouf cities and some external roadways.

Good and affluent people, along with charities and advocacy offices, compete to organize communal iftars where residents of different nationalities come together in a spiritual, brotherly and friendly ambiance even though most of them had never met each other except in communal iftars, and the big mosques are these charitable events’ venues.

Communal iftar organizers prepare the venues properly and decently to receive fasting people; they set up air-conditioning and appropriate furniture and make sure the place is clean to receive the biggest number possible. They also prepare a variety of food and drinks at the dining table, such as dates, juices and drinking water, dairy products, pastries, sweets, fruits and soup, in addition to rice, chicken, meat, coffee, tea and other items.

Organizers set the venue to receive fasting people and arrange the quality and variety of food served and many iftars have adopted “meat and rice” as the main course.

Mohammed Al-Ali who volunteers in organizing communal iftars, said that his role, along with his fellows, is to prepare the place and dining tables, receive fasting people, organize their seats without crowding each other, remove the remaining food and distribute it.

“The most notable challenges are the organization of the big number of people who come daily, which may result in a shortage of meals when the turnout is more than expected. The opposite happens sometimes, and there is a surplus of meals, however, the former happens more than the latter,” he said.

Resident Abdul Samad expressed his happiness about the organizers’ hospitality and fairness in treating Arabs and non-Arabs alike. He commended the good organization and quality of meals served.

Mohammed Mahmoud said that communal iftars found in most mosques exemplify the citizens’ hospitality and their kindness. He described the communal iftars as the perfect location to catch up with friends in the holy month of Ramadan.

Khaled Al-Anzi, one of the organizers, said that communal Iftars in the holy month are positive events for legal, social and advocacy reasons. He noted that the social reasons are evident since communal iftars are a meeting place for people of different nationalities and languages, which promotes unity and promotes compassion and social solidarity in Islam. Feeding others embodies the Goodness of the Creator and helps some people with scarce resources, he said.

This article was first published in Arab News

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