Breaking One’s Fast during Ramadhan- Iftar

Iftar at Masjid Al-Hikmah

Iftar at Masjid Al-Hikmah

Iftar at Masjid Al-Hikmah

Iftar at Masjid Al-Hikmah

One of the times most looked toward to during the month of Ramadhan is Iftar, the ending of fasting for the day.

A lot of Americans are not aware that more than 200 years ago, President Jefferson hosted a sunset dinner because it was Ramadhan, for his guest, the first Muslim ambassador to the United States, from Tunisia. This is the first known Iftar at the White House. Former President Bush and President Obama followed the tradition.

This religious observance takes place directly after Maghrib time, which connotes the sunset prayer. This is an especially good time in New York because of the diversity of Muslim cultures. Whether participating in the offering of food to the poor as a form of charity, a practice dating back to Prophet Muhammad, or just socializing and getting to “know your neighbor,” it brings a better sense of awareness among people. I have a personal belief that “food brings people together.” There are so many different cuisines! Lamb sausage, chicken rolls, Shami Kebabs, samosas, pakoras, these are my personal favorites and I love to eat!

This month I have had the pleasure of sharing Iftar with an Egyptian family who has owned a bagel shop on the Upper East Side for over 20 years. I frequent the place, weekly. Earlier in the week, I shared Iftar with a discussion group I regularly attend. Last night I attended Iftar at Masjid Al-Hikmah, a predominantly Indonesian Mosque in Queens.

I have often said the world is a beautiful place. As I strive to improve my sense of compassion and humility, my eyes are cleared and I am able to see just how beautiful it is…

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Feeling it …

While perusing Pinterest the other day, I came across an interesting poster, which seemed to capture the state I was in.  The past few days have been both enduring and wonderful at the same time.

An old friend recently commented that I seemed to “move with a Zen-like quality” as I interacted with those who stepped before me during Kendo Keiko. I was simply trying to conserve energy while I was in the middle of my fast. I did not want to pass out due to the smothering temperatures at the gym where we practice, not to mention the heat generated within my armor and lack of fluid intake.

Some might say that this was a foolhardy effort on my part, but one does not practice a martial art for 30 plus years and then stop because of in climate weather conditions.

I have been in a good mood lately. I offer greetings to strangers. I smile at everyone. I truly believe that if we just clear our eyes, we will see that the world is a beautiful place. I feel the introspection. How can I explain the feeling?

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Bliss…

When I can read a thought and experience uncontrollable tears of joy.