Ansar Ahmed Ullah:
Hundreds of people came together at Britain’s biggest mosque Baitul Futuh in Croydon on Wed 15 May to break fast, share food and learn more about Ramadan as part of the ‘The Big Iftar’ an event organised and hosted by the Ahmadiyya Muslims, a community who live by the motto, ‘Love for All, Hatred for none.’
The event, presided by Mr. Ibrahim Akhlaq, National Secretary Tablig, and conducted by Mr. Nadim Vendeman, Asst. Secretary Tablig, was aimed to shed light on the concept of Ramadan fasting and to promote “a deeper understanding of the peaceful teachings of Islam”, was attended by people from several different faiths and ethnic backgrounds.
Ramadan is a month in the Islamic calendar when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset for thirty days. It is a month of spiritual reflection and personal development. Ramadan gives Muslims the opportunity to reach out to neighbours and strengthen relationships. Eating together is one of the most natural and well-established ways of developing deeper friendships and, there is no better way of breaking barriers than by inviting people to share a meal.
Iftar is the special daily meal at the end of each day when fasting finishes. Each country and culture has its own special traditions during Ramadan and different foods are eaten around the world. Britain’s varied, and diverse Muslim communities very much reflect that too.
Following a brief discussion on Islam and Q&A session, a silent prayer, led by Maulana Nasim Ahmad Bazwa, Imam of Baitul Futuh Mosque, the guests were served with refreshments including dates, pakoras, samosas and drinks to break the fast. Following congregational Maghrib prayer dinner was served which included; chicken curry, vegetable rice, lentils, and naans followed by tea and deserts and guests were given goody bags to take away.
Mohammed Abdul Hadi, Vice President of Merton Park Mosque said, “Through the Big Iftar we aim to build a relationship of trust, friendship and respect across communities and we feel these gatherings will also help to promote community cohesion”.
In addition, the event saw Baitul Futuh Mosque open its doors for free tours to the public during Ramadan. The Ahmadiyya community hoped the Big Iftar events would encourage friendship in the area.