Festive Iftars

Festive Iftars

Iftar is the time when we Muslims break our fast(s) after the sunset and the Azaan. Iftar has religious significance and is mandatory upon those who are fasting. But, alas, in Kashmir community aspect or significance of Iftar is neither observed nor taken recourse to. In Kashmir, as opposed to elsewhere in the Muslim word and Muslim communities, Iftars tend to be rather solo events in the sense that Iftar’s are observed usually with families. The moment the Maghrib Azaan is made, people either have a sip of water or a couple of dates and then rush to the Mosque. It is only after the Maghreb prayers that people head to their respective homes and savor their Iftars with their families. Elsewhere, Iftars are festive, community based and oriented events where people not only eat and relish sumptuous Iftar meals but also socialize and even , in some places, especially in the Middle East, life begins after Iftar, so to speak. Shops, markets and even some business or commercial establishments open after Iftar in the places and there is a certain Ramadan buzz that defines these places. Here in Kashmir, to the contrary, life assumes a monotony after Iftar as people relax in their homes only to wait for the taraweeh prayers- special prayers that are held in the month of Ramadan after the Isha prayers. Elsewhere, taraweeh prayers are held a little later in the night and a festive ambiance and atmosphere defines these places till Sehree. All this renders Ramadan a more joyous, festive and full of zest months wherein people not only are busy in fulfilling the various obligations that Ramadan entails but also enjoy themselves within the permissible domains of Islam. Can, the question is, this be replicated in Kashmir? If so, what would it take? Kashmir has obvious limitations by way of the conditions(haalaat) here that pose a restraint to the kind of Iftar festivities elsewhere in the Muslim world. But this does not and should not mean that a more community based and oriented Iftars cannot take place in Kashmir. They very well can. People can invite each other over and around Iftar time and then relish not only the sumptuous meals but also enjoy each other’s company. Or people can make the Mosque as the locus of their activity around Iftar time and employ the Mosque as the avenue for socialization. All said and done, Iftars need not be monotonous events where we only eat; they can me merry, festive events where we enjoy Ramadan and its blessings to the fullest!

 

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