World-renowned boxing legend Amir Khan and his wife Faryal Makhdoom held the Great Iftar event in London at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel on Friday, April 15, where they raised over £3 million.
A call to prayer by musician Turkish-Macedonian singer Mesut Kurtis opened the program, followed by a beautiful recitation of the Qur’an by British Muslim singer Harris J, who, among his musical achievements, authored a children’s book titled “Salam Alaikum: A Message of Peace.“
Then, Khan and Makhdoom, both well-known figures in sporting and popular culture, shared insight into the charitable work of the Amir Khan Foundation.
Fundraising on the evening took place in the shape of donations through iPads on each table, a public auction, and a short stint of traditional fundraising.
To encourage people to reach into their pockets, Amir Khan shared the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which said, ‘when you do a good deed, it is multiplied by 70 times.’ He then quipped, saying that perhaps the audience may need a few more good deeds, adding that he was referring to himself.
Kindness in Ramadan
Amir, who was recently in Poland meeting and supporting Ukrainian refugees, said that when they handed out gifts to children, the Ukrainian children asked what these gifts were for. He replied they were to celebrate the kindness and generosity of the month of Ramadan.
To encourage support, Faryal Makhdoom said that as God has blessed them both with large platforms, they will use them to encourage people to do good, adding, ‘If we all worked together, there would not be as much poverty in the world.’
The main fundraiser on the evening, Faraz Yousufzai, shared an anecdote that when Gengis Khan planned to invade Makkah and Madinah, it was ethnic Muslims in modern-day Ukraine who stopped him.
He observed that this demonstrates the peaceful relationship of Muslim and non-Muslim communities throughout the ages, that despite differing faiths, people lived, worked, and enjoyed life side-by-side. Crucially, he added, “We need to stand with the people of Ukraine, just as we stand to support people in countries like Iraq, Syria, or Pakistan.”
Entertainment on the evening was diverse, including an artist named Asad, who drew a succession of quick portraits in five minutes, and Irish-Iranian comedian Patrick Monohan tried to do a breakdancing demo on stage, all held together by host Reshmin Chowdhury.
The evening was a timely reminder that there are many problems facing the world, and if the blessings of Ramadan include and improve our awareness of them, everything positive to help, no matter how large or small, will be a good thing to do.