A Shared Iftar

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The Holy Month of Ramadan has now come to an end for this year, many Iftar events have taken place throughout Britain, sharing the Iftar (food and breaking the fast) but also food for thought, friendship, prayers and places of worship.

A shared Iftar took place at the Old Kent Road Mosque, where the congregation and friends from St Peter’s Church were invited.

We received a generous and friendly welcome from the mosque congregation and leaders. Fr Andrew, from St Peter’s Church, has written an account of the Iftar:

 

A week ago, (yes, dear reader, I am blogging about an event a week ago, as I have been out of network in every sense for the past week, finishing off, just about, my MA dissertation in the middle of nowhere!). A week ago, I attended a really wonderful celebration of the Ramadan iftar at the Old Kent Road Mosque. Firstly, it was wonderful to be back among friends at the Mosque. Since moving one parish away(!) in the other direction, I’ve been a less frequent visitor there. It was great to be so warmly welcomed, as ever, by Imam Tadjudeen Salami, and to see old friends and make new ones.

After prayer and a reading from the Qoran about the coming of Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, beautifully chanted in Arabic from memory, Professor Mashood Baderin and I spoke briefly on the understanding of fasting in the Muslim and Christian traditions. It was interesting to note similarities and differences in the approaches of our two faith traditions to this ancient discipline.

We then formally broke the fast of the day with sweet dates and other fresh fruits, before going into the extended prayer of the evening, Maghrib. Imam Tadjudeen asked if I would like to join the prayers, which I was very happy to do again. He very kindly put me next to him so that I could physically join in the prayers, the first time I had ever done so. I’m grateful that he chose to honour a visiting Christian priest by standing me to his right, immediately next to the Professor who was leading the prayers. And so I prayed deeply and inwardly for understanding, peace and friendship between our faith traditions and communities, while following much of the physical postures of my Muslim friends.

I was touched by the manifest sincerity of prayer, both the passion and the deep peace I could feel around me. I really enjoyed the moments of silence which punctuated the prayers, as well as the humble yet confident pattern of chanting and response: ‘Allahu Akbar’, ‘God is great.’ God is great, indeed. Only God can bring together people who might be expected to disagree on so many things for fellowship and enjoyment of each other’s traditions.

After these prayers we were served a delicious supper of fried rice, roast chicken, and fried plantain followed by a wonderful fresh fruit salad. A huge task to cook and serve food for at least 100 people. I asked if this happened every Friday during Ramadan. Apparently, it happens every night during Ramadan! What a huge commitment to the practice of faith, and what an enriching time for community.

I’m grateful to Sister Zahra Imame of the Christian Muslim Forum for bringing the Old Kent Road Mosque and St Peter’s Church together for this olympic-ispired Iftar2012. A week late, I wish all my Muslim friends a very happy Eid, Eid Mubarak!

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