For Muslims, the month of Ramadan is a time of fasting and worship that brings families, friends, and communities together. To break their daily fast, 220 MGCI students gathered for the school’s first Iftaar Night on the evening of 17 May 2019.
The event was held in the school’s cafeteria from 8 to 10 pm. Doors were open at 8 pm and closed at 9 pm. Dates, appetizers, and drinks were set out for students to take as they waited for sunset to break their fast. At 8:37 pm, Sunni Muslims broke their fast, and Shia Muslims did so fifteen minutes later. At 9 pm, the Maghrib Salah (prayer) was performed, and the main meal was served shortly after. Among other dishes, chicken biryani, ribs, and pasta were served, as well as watermelon and Kunefe (Middle Eastern sweet cheese pastry) for dessert.
Hosted by the Student Activity Council (SAC) and the MGCI Muslim Student Association (MSA), Iftaar Night is an event that has been long in the making. During the 2016-2017 school year, former SAC President Zaid Baig talked about how Ramadan caused various school events to be pushed back, as many students were unable to attend. Instead, the idea of an Eid event was proposed, as it was something that many MGCI students would be able to take part in. As a result, current Special Events Convenor Zimman Yousuf introduced Iftaar Night for the 2018-2019 school year, as a better turnout was expected due to many wanting to spend Eid with their families.
Tickets were sold for $3 at the MSA table in the cafeteria from 6-10 May, and the event was promoted on both the SAC and MSA social media platforms. In honour of Ramadan, all proceeds were donated to charity. Though Ramadan is an Islamic month of worship, the event was open to all students. Zimman said she thought of Iftaar Night as “a chance to battle Islamophobia, as we welcome all believers of all religions.”
During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and behaviour that is regarded as sinful. The first meal of the day is called Suhoor and is eaten before sunrise. Shortly after, the Fajr Salah is performed. Believers then fast for the entire day and partake in an evening feast called Iftaar after dusk. Muslims believe Ramadan teaches discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for the less fortunate, therefore encouraging generosity and charity.
Iftaar Night was an immense success, bringing students together for a beautiful evening filled with food, prayer, and love. “I think it went amazing. [I’m] definitely proud of MSA for their efforts,” Zimman said. She also hopes this event will continue to be hosted again in future years.