Camaraderie marks mass iftars

Believers from across the world come together in groups for a common cause. People speaking different languages face each other in rows having a common feeling, the feel of fasting for Almighty’s sake. These are the scenes from the mass iftar grounds, tents and masjids where people from all walks of life gather and provide for breaking the fast during sun set. Hundreds of such tents have come up at mass iftar grounds, masjids which are abuzz with thousands of people gathering every day for iftar across the country.
As Ramadhan steps into the second week, the Sultanate is slowly gaining momentum with iftar everywhere. Be it at corporate or at government sector or anywhere. Major companies are inviting their well-wishers, customers and stakeholders to join them for iftar gatherings followed by suhoor where they get to catch up with each other and network and share updates.

“Mass iftar grounds are signs of unity, harmony and camaraderie for they are arranged by people from different beliefs for the people who fast. There is no discrimination or whatsoever but a singular feeling which is feeding the hungry,” says Saleem Shaikh, an active social worker who regularly holds mass iftar in the premises of a masjid at Al Wadi Al Kabir.
Iftar gatherings around are not just for sitting together and sharing food and soft drinks. But it holds a wider meaning of sharing and caring for each other by thinking on a same platform with day-long hunger pangs in them.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Whoever provides a fasting person something with which to break his fast will earn the same reward as the one who was observing the fast”, according to At Timidhi Hadith. With the term ‘fasting person’ he meant both the rich and the poor and not just the poor.
The iconic Grand Mosque in the Wilayat of Bausher hosts everyday several hundreds of people with regular provisions from a number of kind people.
These pious believers share rare moments of breaking fast at the Grand Mosque during the whole of Ramadhan with the food supplied by the mosque and brought in by people and companies supporting the cause.
Those who make it to the Grand Mosque say that from the first day, the number of participants have increased.
The food packets and fruits are brought in by people to cater to the increasing numbers. The mass iftar, in turn, is a great help for the travellers and workers who find it difficult to reach home in time for breaking the fast.
Since the mosque is located by Sultan Qaboos Street, several people in the middle of their journeys drop in and find the food for fast-breaking waiting for them.
Yet another popular mass iftar is at Muttrah Souq near the GPO where scores of common people who work in the small shops inside the Souq gather every afternoon and prepare for feasting some 800 to 1,000 people who break their fast with them.
This has been the practice of both the employees and the employers of Muttrah Souq since the last 20 years and they keep the spirit going.
“We have been giving iftar for around 900 people every day at the GPO area and this has been the practice for more than 20 years,” says Latheef, an employee of a wholesale shop who has kept aside his evenings for preparation and serving the believers who break their fast with them.
These days, several places in the Sultanate have a sense of bonhomie among the believers. These besides hosting Omanis include others from the subcontinent and other Asian namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Egypt and many others.
They all sit on the mat with dates just a few minutes before the prayer to break their fast, and are busy saying prayers seeking the bounty and generosity of Allah Almighty.

KABEER YOUSUF