Ramadan Around The World #9: Witnessing Beauty And Unity In Diversity Through Iftarby Ezaden
This Ramadan we share with you a bird’s eye view of personal Muslim stories from across the globe.
An Ethiopian national shares his pursuit of deepened piety and faith through lived experiences of sharing iftar in multiple countries
An entire month dedicated to fasting and prayer always struck me as a truly special time of the year, even before I was old enough to understand the importance of Ramadan.
My parents lived in Saudi Arabia where I was born and lived for the first 8 years of my life. Then I shifted to Ethopia. When I left Ethiopia for Malaysia for education and subsequently work, Ramadan became even more meaningful and delightful to me. Over the past decade, I have had the privilege of enjoying many community iftars with international students and people of all backgrounds. By sharing this blessed month with them, I have learned about other people’s cultures and faiths.
When I was too young to fast for the full day, as much as I wanted to, I tried to fast for half a day to partake in it still. Seeing other people refrain from drinking and eating until iftar was inspiring. And, the way Ramadan brought everyone together for iftar after a long day of balancing religious duties with a busy lifestyle was another strong motivation for me.
As I got older, I realized that Ramadan is the month that I hold close to my heart and it is not only about refraining from consuming food. Ramadan has always been a time for reflection, self-discipline, and engaging with the community. I, like many other people, started to take advantage of it by focusing more on my deen and deepening my relationship with Allah. This imbued my experiences during this month with continuously increasing fulfillment and made me grateful for all the blessings He granted us.
A moment unique to this time of the year is definitely iftar.
I fondly remember that as the sun would set, my mom would get creative every evening and cook the best iftar we could ask for. She would invite friends of all faiths to our home as our community is diverse. We would then eat together, pray, make new friends and relish the communal spirit.
Especially in the last 10 days of Ramadan, mom would invite people with low income. We would have iftars together and distribute zakat to them. These experiences of sitting with family to have iftar and praying together have reinforced the sentiment that is shared by many people and the special moments of Ramadan.
Little things like having our family around or having the food we like to eat for iftar can be easily taken for granted. I have been lucky to experience Ramadan not only in my birth country, Saudi Arabia but in other parts of the world too!
Seeing strangers become family through iftars is truly a beautiful moment to witness. It is a powerful sight and a testament to the efforts of those who encourage communities to come together and learn from each other.
At its core, Ramadan has always been about the pursuit of deepening my relationship with Allah by taking the time to be even more mindful of His presence in my daily routine, reciting the Quran, and completing the 30 Juzs at least once during this month. The pursuit of deepened piety and faith is a lifelong endeavor.
At the end of the month, the shared lived experiences of Muslim communities everywhere around the world, united to perform the Eid prayer is a marvel in and of itself. Celebrating the days by spending time with family and friends makes it, even more, a truly blessed month.
Curated by: Muslim Pro
About the Writer
Ezaden, 27, was born in Saudi Arabia. He moved back to Ethiopia when he was 8. He has lived in different parts of the world, namely Ethiopia, Malaysia, and Singapore. His journeys have allowed him to witness and interact with the diverse pockets of Muslim communities.