Ramadan Memories

Ramadan Memories


Can you indulge me a little trip down memory land for this edition of Muslim Connect? 

Many years ago, during a three month stint in Bangkok, I got a crazy fun opportunity to hop over to Indonesia with my boss, mentor and hero, Steve Hawthorne. We were scouting locations for future “Joshua Project” research teams in Medan and Banda Aceh. 

I remember chatting in our local host’s home our first evening in the country. The TV had been burbling along in the background, when suddenly it had our host’s full attention: His eyes were glued to the set where a sheik of some sort was making an announcement. He finished his speech and our host turned to us, “Now we eat!” The end of the day’s fast had been proclaimed. 

He took some tea and a bit of food, offered us the same, and I experienced my first ever iftar, the ceremonial fast breaking at the end of each day of Ramadan. It is, if I'm honest with you, one of my favorite parts of the whole event! 

A few years later while kicking around Frankfurt, Germany learning about Muslim immigrants there, some guys at a mosque invited us back in the evening for iftar. That’s an invitation I’ll very rarely pass on! 

We showed up, sat down and awaited the time when evening, and therefore fast breaking, would officially arrive. When it did, our hosts, channeling their ancient Bedouin forebears, insisted we take the tea and dates first. So I, the dude with a half-drunk water bottle in my backpack, ate before the guys who’d not sipped since a long ago sunrise. Hospitality worth emulating. 

My favorite iftar so far occurred not long ago when some buds and I hosted a meal for our young, asylum-seeking friends in Catania, Sicily. With no money in their pockets and their moms, mosques and favorite Ramadan munchies far away over the sea, those guys could use some blessings. 

We borrowed tables and chairs, commandeered a little piazza, made soup, and bought fresh baked bread. We invited all our new friends and together we thanked God for the simple joys of good food, multi-colored friends and the hope of better times to come.
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