I went to an Iftar event in Coventry
A Muslim Scout group held an Iftar at the weekend, an evening meal eaten by Muslims after the sun goes down during Ramadan. The event was held at a small community centre in the city where Scout group members came together to break the fast and showcase the activities they have done throughout the months at the scout group.
The 100th Coventry Muslim Scouts group is the first Muslim Scout group in Coventry and was launched in 2009, the first of its kind offering children aged six to 14 the opportunity to take part in camping trips and try their hand at activities such as abseiling and climbing.
The leaders launched the group as they wanted to bring something different to the Muslim community to make them realise Scout groups are for them also.
When I first arrived volunteers and children were preparing food such as fruit for the fast-breaking and it seemed like a real community effort with everyone getting involved. Outside there was a tent being set up ready for everybody to do their Salah which is a ritual prayer that Muslims do before breaking their fast.
The boy and girl Scouts each took turns to sing either a Nasheed, which is a Muslim song without musical instruments that resemble hymns that praise Allah, or read out a poem. There was also a presentation which showed what all the Scouts had been up to over the last year. As I listened to the poems I found it quite amazing that young people especially were so dedicated to their religion.
Father Shahnawaz and his young son Zuhayr said they were at the event to celebrate their religion. Shahnawaz told CoventryLive that fasting has been ‘great’. He added: ”The weather is cold now, so this has really helped. It’s not like in the summertime when it should be a very long fast. It’s now around 7.30 pm so it’s not a problem for the kids when they go to school.
“When you are fasting you are fasting for Allah, you are doing it for something. When you fast it’s Allah who will give you the reward later, this encourages you and gives you inner strength.”
Watch Shahnawaz and Zuhayr discuss their fasting experiences here:
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Hannah, 10, who was at the Iftar told CoventryLive what it has been like since she has been fasting.
She said: ”It’s been really good, but it’s been hard because some of the times I haven’t woken up for school but I have still been able to do it and I have kept all my fasts so far. Sometimes you will have a lot of confidence in yourself.”
At around half past seven in the evening, the tent was prepared and the community came together to break their fast. White sheets were placed in the tent and lights were placed in the middle. Everyone sat and ate three dates and drank milk to emulate the way, Prophet Muhammed broke his fast. The milk was a bright pink colour and tasted similar to passionfruit.
One woman who was breaking her fast told CoventryLive how good it felt to drink some water after so many hours. As the night drew darker the men gathered outside and did their evening prayers.
At the end of the night, the volunteers were filling up food trays to prepare for the evening meal after a day of fasting.
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