DUBAI – A Ramadan iftar has become a turning point in the lives of around 40 expatriates in Dubai
They all took Shahada (testimony of faith) during the event organized by the Dubai Islamic Information Center (IIC) at Dar Al Ber Society auditorium on Wednesday.
“I was a Christian in search of truth. I would always find contradictions in what I read. There wasn’t much clarity, especially on Jesus, and this is what got me to Islam,” Filipino expat Leylin, who converted to Islam at the event, told Khaleej Times.
“I didn’t know Muslims also believe and love Jesus so much. Islam gave me so much clarity on this topic and especially today when scholar Humble spoke on Jesus and Islam, I couldn’t help but turn to Allah and take Shahada.”
Over 300 people, of which more than 100 were non-Muslims, attended the event which sought to bridge gaps between Muslims and non-Muslims, by inviting the latter and converts to speak on their firsthand experience of fasting.
The event saw a number of converts, some of whom have now become Islamic scholars and preachers, take to the stage to talk about different aspects of Islam and of fasting that drew them to the religion.
“This sort of gathering brings people of different nationalities, backgrounds, and religions on a single platform where you can interact and exchange ideas. They get to experience the hospitality of Islam; they also get to experience what fasting is like and there was an opportunity for them to come and find from the knowledgeable speakers, the reasons for fasting,” said Abdullah Shetty, who embraced Islam a few years ago and now works with the IIC, Dubai.
While Filipino convert and preacher Yahya John spoke on how fasting has been prescribed in several religions; British scholar Tim Humble spoke on the real essence of fasting and on the common grounds between Islam and Christianity. Another scholar spoke on the health benefits of fasting.
The event also had dedicated a corner for a Virtual Reality (VR) experience of Makkah and Madinah.
“The event was well received by the non-Muslim community and served as a platform to interact and clear misconceptions about Islam, as well as have a firsthand experience in knowing about more about Islam. Seeing the response, we have decided to do it on a yearly basis every Ramadan,” Rashid Al Junaibi, IIC director, said.