I had the pleasure of being invited to last night’s Ramadan dinner at the mosque/Islamic Center. I had been to the center before for a talk on pilgrimages as part of the interfaith council’s monthly dinners, but this was a distinctly different event.
Last night’s dinner was with the interfaith community to break the fast from yesterday. There was welcome and introductions, appreciation of some of the guests, the interfaith community. There was the recitation of the Qur’an, which was beautiful to hear. There was also what I would call a homily. I don’t know if in the Muslim faith it’s a homily or if it has another name or designation.
One of the things that I noticed, and tried desperately to remember without writing it down was something the Imam said about Ramadan: it is a time of reflection. Fasting and praying, asking for guidance and meditating on the answers discovered. The fasting is led by self-control. The prayer is reflection on behaviors and bettering one’s self. Both relieve of the distractions and let Muslims draw closer to G-d. There is also almsgiving and extra prayer.
Control. Correct. Improve.
It immediately reminded me of Lent and Yom Kippur.
We worship the same G-d. We believe the same things, for the most part, our prayers are similar. We give to charity, we relish hospitality.
The words used were different. The clothes worn were different. The food was different, in look and taste.
But they were words of prayer, and Friday, Saturday, Sunday best, and communion sharing its culture through grains, meat, and spice.
I learned that the iftar happens just before the evening prayer. The fast is broken with a date or water. After the fast is officially broken, there are prayers, men in the front, women in the back. There were chairs for any of those who could not get to the floor. Shoes off. I did not wear a headscarf. I was not asked to, but others who’ve come before, non-Muslims did wear one. I will probably bring one next time.
After that, there was a most glorious meal. Each item better than the last with my favorite homemade naan and rice pudding I could eat all night if given the opportunity.
It was a wonderful night, and a wonderful introduction to the sibling of my own extended family.
For some information about Ramadan, please visit Vox dot com’s article. Vox is very helpful in explaining many things. Check out their website and search whatever you’re looking for.
[*Have a generous Ramadan. Ramadan Mubarak: Have a blessed Ramadan.]