Assalamualaikum! MLC Ivan hosts ‘Iftar Party’

Assalamualaikum! MLC Ivan hosts ‘Iftar Party’

Assalamualaikum! (May Peace Be Upon You) MLC Ivan D’Souza hosts ‘Iftar Party’ extending Love, Friendship, Unity, and Harmony during Ramadan Season between Muslims and other Religious Community

Mangaluru: Iftar-that’s right! It is the Meal that Breaks the Fast at Ramadan. It is the month of Ramadan (Ramzan) in the Islamic calendar and, for those who believe in it, each day of the month follows an identical routine: a fast from sunrise to sunset. At sundown, after a whole day of not eating or even taking a sip of water, the fast is broken. It is the time when the family gets together and eats a light but energy-giving healthy meal. This is Iftar or the meal that breaks the fast.

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But ask anyone about the famed Iftar parties and the response: “Oh Iftar! They are very good parties/get-together where Muslims after their fasting mingle with each other and friends. So, how many of us know what the term Iftar party really signifies? What is this new meaning of that word? Are Iftar parties as we know them a new phenomenon or have they been part of the Ramzan ethos always? I found out today when an Iftar get-together/party was hosted by MLC Ivan D’Souza at Indian Medical Association Hall, near Milagres Church on 18 June from 6 pm onwards. The guests at the party were predominately of a mixed community, comprising of Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Corporators, entrepreneurs, Nuns, professors, students, rich and the poor.

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MLC Ivan D’Souza escorted the dignitaries of the event on to the dais, namely Aboobacker Shakafi-the Imam of Dubai Market City Masjid; Kodijal Ibrahim-MUDA Chairman; Fr Richard Coelho-Administrator of Fr Muller College Medical Hospital; MS Mohammed- Zilla Panchayat leader; Dr Prof. Devraj-Principal SDM Law College; Harinath-MCC Mayor; MLA J R Lobo; Suresh Ballal- Congress Leader: M Seetharam Shetty- Renowned Senior Advocate; Fr William Menezes- PRO, Bishop’s House-Mangaluru Diocese; Sashidar Hegde- Former MCC Mayor; Gilbert D’Souza- President of Rachana; Maroor Ram Mohan Pai-President, Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industries; Sadanand Shetty-Chairman, Sri Devi Group of Institutions; and others.

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The party began with a “Dua” rendered by Imam Aboobacker- In the terminology of Islam, duʿāʾ also transliterated Doowa, literally meaning “invocation”, is an act of supplication. The term is derived from an Arabic word meaning to ‘call out’ or to ‘summon’, and Muslims regard this as a profound act of worship. The Islamic prophet Muhammad is reported to have said “Dua is the very essence of worship,” while one of God’s commands expressed through the Quran is for them to call out to Him: And your Lord says: “Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer):— Quran. The Imam also briefed about the meaning of Iftar and narrated about fasting during Ramadan.

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In his welcome address, MLC Ivan D’Souza said, This one month of fast for Muslims is a period meant to be devoted to self-purification, helping the poor and concentrate on God. It is not a time to enjoy or feast. Unfortunately, this is what Iftar parties have come to signify. I feel blessed to host this Iftar get-together with a aim to bring peace, love, friendship and harmony between Muslims and other religious folks. We should all live in harmony and peace, and never give a chance for hate and communal tensions. Let’s celebrate Iftar with peace and love”

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Fr Richard Coelho addressing the audience said, ” In Catholic community, at the beginning of Lent, the great journey of conversion, the Church gives us the ‘weapons of penance’ which are fasting, prayer and alms-giving. These ‘weapons’ are not meant to be merely exterior practices, but as a reflection in the works of our interior conversion, to trust ourselves to the mercy, goodness and providence of God. In a similar way, Muslims also follow these three things during Ramadan time. We need to have this kind of get-together very often to bring awareness about peace, love, friendship and harmony- which is kind of lacking these days. What does the Bible say about peace?” Peace is something everyone wants, yet few seem to find. What is peace? It can be defined as “tranquillity, harmony, or security.” Depending on the situation, it could mean “prosperity” or “well-being.” There are different types of peace, including false peace, inner peace, peace with God and peace with man. While going to bed every night, we should retire with peace and not with hate and anger in our hearts. Let’s spread the message of love, peace and harmony during the sacred Ramadan time and create unity and harmony among all religions”.

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Dr Prof. Devraj speaking on Ramadan said, “In my nearly 38 years of being a professor, I have attended all the Iftar parties organised by the students or other community leaders. Millions of Muslims around the world mark the start of Ramadan — a month of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts. Why do Muslims fast? The fast is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of those less fortunate. Muslims often donate to charities during the month and feed the hungry. Fasting is an exercise in self-restraint. It’s seen as a way to physically and spiritually detoxify by kicking impulses like morning coffee, smoking and midday snacking. Ramadan is a time to detach from worldly pleasures and focus on one’s prayers. Many Muslims dress more conservatively during Ramadan and spend more time at the mosque than at any other time of the year. Muslims traditionally break the fast like the Prophet Muhammad did some 1,400 years ago, with a sip of water and some dates at sunset. That first sip of water is by far the most anticipated moment of the day. And that’s what we call Iftar, and we are here to take part in the Iftar party after the fast is broken”.

Kodijal Ibrahim addressing the gathering said, “Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity, and performing the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Observant Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk for the entire month of Ramadan, with a single sip of water or a puff of a cigarette considered enough to invalidate the fast. Muslim scholars say it’s not enough to just avoid food and drinks during the day, though. Muslims are also encouraged to observe the five daily prayers on time and to use their downtime just before breaking their fast at sunset to recite Quran and intensify remembrance of God. How do Muslims break their fast? After a sunset prayer, a large feast known as “iftar” is shared with family and friends. Iftar is a social event as much as it is a gastronomical adventure. And you all will come to know today what Iftar party is. Let us all enjoy the Iftar get-together and observe the Ramadan season with peace, love and harmony”

Minister Abhayachandra Jain, MLA JR Lobo, Mayor Harinath, MS Mohammed, and Suresh Ballal also spoke during the occasion and stressed the need for unity, love, friendship and harmony among all religious communities. During Deepavali, Christmas and other festivals we should organise a get-together to bring awareness about unity and peace, and develop a society free of communal tensions, racism, discrimination and hatred, urged these speakers during the occasion. The Iftar party was compered by Vasanth Kumar Shetty, the administrator of Saanadiya Training Centre for Mentally Challenged kids.

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