“My dear brothers and sisters, I’d like to welcome you here today to this special event and join us in experiencing one of the Prophetic traditions in this holy month of Ramadan,” said Shaykh Abdus-Samad, the imam of Kingston Muslim Association.
“We all know Ramadan to be a month in which we abstain from food and drink but I assure you it is more than this. It is a month in which we become closer to God through patience, reflection and, of course, acts of kindness to those around us whether they are Muslim or non-Muslim,” the imam added.
The communal dinner was hosted by the charity Muslim Outreach and the Kingston Muslim Association in Kingston Upon Thames in southwest London.
Along with delicious Moroccan and Pakistani food, guests attending the iftar were offered a brief history of some of the most important prophets of Islam.
Attendants said they were impressed by the significance of the holy month.
“I always thought Muslims just didn’t drink or eat,” said Isaiah, a medical student studying at Oxford University. “But after today I’ve learned that Ramadan represents a deeper spiritual meaning to those who observe it,” he added.
Ramadan is the holy month of fasting when Muslims are required to avoid all food and drink between sunrise and sunset. Moreover, they’re also encouraged to increase their charitable efforts and doing good deeds.
“I’m not a Muslim but I try and fast some days in Ramadan to experience what my Muslim neighbors experience,” said Alex, a local resident.
“But I’ve never attended an iftar and so I’m very happy to be here, this completes my experience of fasting,” he added.
“I do hope that our community continues to hold events like this. Unfortunately, Muslims in the U.K. are misrepresented by the media and so I believe the only way we can learn about them is by experiencing what they experience and iftar is one such example,” Alex said.
Joined iftar meals have become a basic part of the holy month, during which people come together.
Last week, British Muslims, Christians, Jews and others of faith, along with those of none gathered for the 2019 City Circle Interfaith Iftar at St James’s Church in Piccadilly.
Earlier this month, the Naz Legacy Foundation delivered the first ever iftar at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on May 7, bringing together British Muslim and non-Muslim leaders.