Sunday, May 28, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 7, 1444 H
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Foster compassion, recharge one self


Ramadhan is an opportunity to foster love and compassion, and control over material pleasures.

On a given evening these days, if one would pass by a mosque or any public place in the residential areas, chances are, one might spot people in large numbers assembling and making elaborate preparations for breaking the fast.

They hail from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds but prepare to share their first meal of the day from a single platter.

Various organisations in the Sultanate of Oman host iftar gatherings that give a whiff of bonhomie among the believers from people from different countries.

They sit shoulder to shoulder on the mat with dates just a few minutes before the prayer to break fast, and are busy saying prayers for the bounty and generosity of Allah Almighty.

The daily iftar conducted by the shopkeepers and workers of the traditional Muttrah Souq remained cancelled this year due to financial burden, shopkeepers said.

"We are not conducting iftar gatherings this year as the suhoor food which was supplied by an NGO was suspended for the time being," Abdunnaser, a shopkeeper from the souq, said.

Although the iftar kits, comprising dates, fruits and laban, were supplied by the workers of the souq, the suhoor food comprising biryani and other dishes, was supplied by an NGO which hosts daily iftar en masse.

"We have been catering to hundreds of passersby everyday with dates, water, juice, laban and the like for more than two decades now. All these are possible with the support of the traders and other small scale vendors inside the souq," Abdul Lateef, a volunteer at the Muttrah Souq, told the Observer.

Similarly, mass iftars at major mosques like Sultan Qaboos Mosque in Ruwi and Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Bausher which used to host several hundreds of people are limited this year.

These mass iftars have also been a great help to the travellers and workers who find it difficult to reach home in time for breaking fast.

The holy month is an attempt to instil some virtues of camaraderie and togetherness telling the world that humanity is just one.

The month which is designed for enhancing friendship and humanity and revitalising the relationship with the fellow beings in thirty days and to replicate the good thoughts and deeds in the rest of the year is probably the month that witnesses the largest charity initiatives in the country.

Ramadhan fasting is mandatory for all believers with a sound mind, and without any major illnesses that deter him or her from fasting.

"Having said that, there are some exemptions to the rule. Some are given excuses for not fasting if they are either travelling, aged, pregnant, diabetic, chronically ill, menstruating or breast feeding. Many children endeavour to complete as many fasts as possible as practice for later life," says Hatim Abdissalam, a religious scholar.

Photos by Shafeer VK and AFP


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