During the thirty days of Ramadan, which begins this year on March 23rd, Muslims around the world abstain from food and drink from dawn to sunset. This is done to strengthen their relationship with God by increasing focus on worship, charity, discipline and human welfare. The meal at sunset to break the fast is called “iftar.”
This year’s upcoming interfaith dinner will be held on April 1st at a local Milpitas Mosque. Similar to last year, the two hours will consist of speeches reflecting upon the essential messages of Ramadan —compassion, humanity, and humility — from the perspectives of different religions and walks of life.
Islam’s emphasis on giving thanks is exemplified in Chapter 14 Verse 8 of the Holy Quran: “And remember also the time when your Lord declared, ‘If you are grateful, I will, surely, bestow more favours on you.” And the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community hosted a series of speeches and guests, last year, to fulfill exactly that.
At last year’s event, platters of dates were passed around during sunset at Baitul Baseer Mosque. Members of the Milpitas community were present — ranging from police officers, news editors to city council officials — including Matt Mahan, who recently won the Mayor of San Jose in the midterm elections. Several walks of life from South Bay came together as a broader interfaith community to explore the meaning of justice through compassion during the holy month of Ramadan.
“The goal was to come together in friendship, prayer and support to foster compassion for all people,” said Saadia Ahmed, the Director of Public Affairs for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Auxiliary in Silicon Valley. “Our community has hosted interfaith Iftar events in over 30 cities around the country that featured guest speakers from different faiths.”
One of the speakers, Sister Rosemary, was of Christian faith and shared how themes of justice and compassion are featured in the Bible and what they mean for practitioners today. “It was such a joy to be with you and your community for the Iftar event. You all are so welcoming and gracious,” she added.
The courtyard was filled with heartwarming narratives on how our communities can continue to support each other, with several guests noting that any tensions or apprehensions were assuredly eased as speeches were accompanied by laughter and new bouts of knowledge. Two of the speakers were children, sharing what Ramadan means to them and how they support their parents during the long days of fasting.
“From the warm welcome, educational posters, speakers, and the delicious food, it was awesome. I want to thank you and your community so much for a wonderful evening last night,” said Warren Uesato, a Christian guest who felt that such interfaith events are game-changers in how people engage with their community.
The speech portion of the evening concluded with an impromptu address by Sabahat Ali, the missionary currently assigned to Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Silicon Valley. With sunset approaching in a few moments, he briefly noted how the advent of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad condemns religious wars and reinstitutes morality, justice and peace, which are Islam’s true and essential teachings.
Over 250 people attended the event, filling up the mosque’s courtyard, prayer hall and tented venues. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response, Silicon Valley’s Ahmadiyya Community aims to continue these interfaith efforts and publicize future events among residents in the area. Please join us for another rendition of interfaith community service and religious solidarity.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Silicon Valley invites you to our annual Ramadan Interfaith Iftar dinner. The theme of this year’s iftar dinner is: A Universal Message of Peace and Security
When: Saturday, April 1, 5:45 PM
Where: 926 Evans Road, Milpitas, CA 95035