Sunday, June 26, 2016

Iftar: Breaking the Fast and Sharing with Family and Community

The Dialogue Institute Southwest (Albuquerque branch) and Turkish Raindrop Foundation is observing Ramadan by inviting local congregations, civic groups and public officials to share in an Iftar (break fast) meal at the end of each day of the month.  The Dialogue Institute is an endorsing partner of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition, and we will be breaking bread with the local Turkish community on Tuesday, June 28. More on that later. In the meantime, here is some background in the Iftar meal.

Poster by halattas via Openclipart
Iftar is the meal served at sunset during Ramadan, as Muslims break the daily fast. Muslims traditionally first break the fast with dates and either water or a yogurt drink. After maghrib prayer, they then have a full-course meal, consisting of soup, salad, appetizers and main dishes. In some cultures, the full-course meal is delayed into later in the evening or even early morning. Traditional foods vary by country.

Iftar is very much a social event, involving family and community members. It is common for people to host others for dinner, or gather as a community for a potluck. It is also common for people to invite and share food with those less fortunate. The spiritual reward for charitable giving is considered to be especially significant during Ramadan.  Read more in About Religion

The spirit of Zakat
The participation of the Dialogue Institute in the Interfaith Hunger Coalition is very compatible with the values of Islam, not only during Ramadan, but year round.
Serving others in hardship and distress is an unconditional moral requirement in Islam. The idea of zakat, one of the five pillars of the faith, is based on the direct, legitimate claim of the poor on the wealth of the rich - a claim that is not affected by the shifting tides of politics and ideology... This moral sensibility is at the heart of the Western concept of social democracy, but it was pioneered more than a millennium before in the egalitarian ethic of the first Islamic community.  More from Al Jazeera
Ramadan in Turkey
In Turkey, the month of Ramadan is celebrated with great joy, and iftar dinners play a big part in this. In larger cities like Istanbul all of the restaurants offer special deals and set menus for iftar. Most of the set menus start with a soup or an appetiser platter called iftariye. It consists of dates, olives, cheese, pastırma, sujuk, Ramazan pidesi (a special bread only baked during Ramadan), and various pastries called börek. The main course consists of various Turkish foods, especially the Ottoman Palace Traditional Foods. A dessert called güllaç- is served in most places. Most of the fine-dining restaurants offer live musical performances of Ottoman classical music, Turkish music and Sufi music. Read More in Wikipedia

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