Ramadan: A Festival for All
Iftar in the Park
By Emdad Rahman
The weekend saw Muslims and non-Muslims in North London and various locations of the
Breaking bread in unison at sunset is known as Iftar, the special evening meal that Muslims partake to break fast. Iftar is a crucial observance of Ramadan, and allows families, friends and associates to come together to break their fast as one. This particular Iftar "picnic with a twist," graced the green grass of Highbury Fields in
Organiser Toyris Miah and his friend Enam, both 18, had spent literally a few weeks using Facebook, his phone, and email contacts to arrange an Iftar in the Park event. The gathering took place in a park, with the faithful in buoyant atmosphere. The mood was a good one, owing that it had been a particularly busy day.
Toyris had announced the event open to all individuals and communities, regardless of faith, colour or creed.
Twinned with the exciting event was a fundraiser for established British mainstream charity Muslim Aid, where many individuals and organisations had donated items for a charity auction.
"We are hoping to use the generosity of these great people here to raise money for those who will be affected by the harshness of the up-coming winter and other disasters in developing countries all over the world," Toyris told IslamOnline.net.
Nadia Sulijmanie had travelled from
Huda, 22, said, "From the idea of having just a simple picnic in the park with a few friends to break our fast, we’ve managed to organize a charity event involving the whole community and a pretty good one too!"
"On the day, I didn’t think we would be able to pull it off", said Toyris, the organizer.
"I thought maybe one or two people would turn up and the Muslim Aid official who came to collect the money would leave with a few pound coins; was I proven wrong!"
Firdausi, 20, turned up just before sunset; "it was beautiful, all the brothers and sisters were sitting down in a nice big group sharing out their food amongst each other. We prayed in the park and then got back to more eating. I wasn’t too hungry my self, the buzz of seeing more and more people turning up filled my stomach with an indescribable feeling; I was overwhelmed with joy."
Abdullah, 17, had travelled from South East London – "I’ve been petitioning the organisers Toy and Enam this evening to make this an annual event. Look at these lovely smiley faces around you "The warmth of the people here is brilliant. For a few hours Iftar in the Park has helped a few of us forget about our strives. Thank you, organisers."
"Religions, traditions and ways of life are misunderstood," said Amina 22.
"Iftar in the Park will help to break misconceptions and prevent barriers from rising further."
Performances and Competition
Muslim Belal attended Iftar in the Park and was in top vocal form, entertaining the crowd with a short inspiring talk and a special rap performance.
On a separate and entire different level, Toyris and Enam also did their own medley of nasheeds, accompanied by a set of corny jokes that were still received with much mirth and loud cheers.
Amongst other festivities, the organisers held a Halal Samosa competition (3 types), which was comically won by the only entrant, an unnamed female from
Toyris’ friend Enam was best pleased; "The comments that we got from everyone were mostly the same, they all had a positive message about the event and encouraged us to do it again next year.
"We didn’t think anyone would want to thank us for organizing a free picnic in the park but people seemed to love the idea. The young and old all brought together, united as one.
"Before leaving one of the guests approached Toyris and said "you know what you’ve, you’ve created a whole new thing, I want this again next year."
In all, the alcohol free event was a huge success.
Toyris, a student of
The charity auction raised an impressive 300 pounds for Muslim Aid. Toyris thanked all his friends and supporters, particularly those who had donated time and goods for auction. "I thought the auction would be a failure but the tension started mounting once brothers and sisters started battling it out for some fragrances donated by Sunna Musk and a signed copy of Muslim Belals latest album Pray Hard, donated by him.
"The Iftar party felt like a camp out in the middle of
Toyris and his fellow organisers deserve commendation for their efforts, with the majority of the team arriving at the park early that morning.
Iftar in the Park was well attended, with a vibrant, colourful and multicultural crowd. In essence it was a Ramadan get together by an inventive group of youngsters and was a superb advert and rightful promotion of the real face of Muslims.
* A thank-you to all the Your Amanah volunteers: Emdad, Fatema, Farrukh, Pete, Shakir, Saim, Toklis, Russel, Mueen, Johura & Amina, Zara & Pakhtarya for all their help on the day.
If anybody is interested in contributing to next years Iftar in the Park then please get in touch with Toyris - email@example.com