Join us on Monday July 6th, 2015 in sharing and celebrating Iftar, the nightly breaking of the daily fast of Ramadan. We will be co-hosting with Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, an organization that works to bring spiritual congregations together in care of creation as active members of the climate movement. Gather at Gandhi Mahal at 8pm with friends of the Twin Cities interfaith community, where owner Ruhel Islam will recite the Azan, or “call for prayer,” and we will begin our meal at sunset.
What is the Meaning of Ramadan?
In the Muslim faith, Ramadan is a period of daily fasting, the name derived from the Arabic word for “scorching heat” or “dryness.” Observants are not to eat or drink from sunrise to sunset, at which time the fast is broken in an act of celebration (Iftar), which is often shared by friends and family. Similar to the Christian observance of Lent, Ramadan is about much more than the outward practice of fasting. The month of its duration is considered a time of spiritual centering and recharging, and of great blessing and forgiveness.
In keeping with the intent, the practice of fasting means abstaining not only from food and drink, but also from all acts of indulgence and ill will, both outward and in the mind. Observants strive to control feelings like anger and jealously, and also to heighten their commitment to charity. The idea is to strengthen one’s generous intentions even in the face of pain and deprivation. With this in mind, Ramadan is considered to be a concentrated “month of training,” but with moral and spiritual implications that apply year-round.
Interfaith By Nature
Though Ramadan is a practice in and of the Muslim faith, the purpose is to encourage peace and good will among all people, regardless of their religious tradition. A big part of the culture, then, is celebrating generously. As Ruhel recalls of big holiday feasts back home in Bangladesh, “Anyone would come, whatever their culture or faith. Muslim, Hindu, Christian — It didn’t matter!” In fact, it’s far from uncommon for non-Muslim employees at Gandhi Mahal to be invited into homes to celebrate Eid after work. (Also not unheard of: receiving an unexpected $20 out of a manager’s pocket with no explanation besides, “Happy Eid!”)
All this might cause us to ask, Why should I get to enjoy all that generosity without doing the hard part first? But isn’t that already one of the central questions of nearly every religion, ever? Simple gratitude is enough of a challenge! Yet, we all practice some form of Ramadan’s principles every time we ask, “do I really need that?” and every time we put ourselves in the shoes of someone less fortunate. In the end, the fruits of these efforts and their celebration are for sharing.
As a time of focused moral and spiritual reflection, Ramadan encourages us all to ask, How does our faith inform our ethical practices for living on Earth together? Join us for an evening of prayer, celebration, and thoughtful discussion.
Though not required, guests are invited to fast with us on this day.
If you are interested in joining, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (763) 657-9773. Space is limited!
Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light works with faith communities around Minnesota to empower them to join together in support of creation. We work to connect the dots between justice in our economy and justice for the earth.