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Breaking bread and barriers: Hindus, Muslims share iftar meal at Mumbai mosque

As part of an inter-community gathering, these ‘special guests’ visited the mosque to learn about the rituals of Islam and practices followed during the holy month of Ramazan

mumbai Updated: May 29, 2018 13:58 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
Hindu-Muslim unity,Mumbai mosque,Ramzan in Mumbai
Hindus and Muslims share the iftar meal at Furqan Masjid in Mumbra on Sunday.(Praful angurde/HT)

A different iftar greeted members of Furqan Masjid in Mumbra on Sunday. As the clock struck 7.15pm, the members shared their fast-breaking meal with eight Hindus, making it an evening to remember.

As part of an inter-community gathering, these ‘special guests’ visited the mosque to learn about the rituals of Islam and practices followed during the holy month of Ramzan.

Everyone sat down for the meal in the vast prayer hall in two rows – the guests on one side and the hosts on the other. As the group was about to break the fast, Saif Asre, a trustee of the mosque, announced, “These cutlets are non-vegetarian. So, for those who don’t eat meat, remove it from your plate,” said Asre. The idea was to have an interaction with members of the other community so that they could learn about Islam, said Asre.

“In our religion, we have been asked to do three things – solve issues within ourselves, help fellow Muslims and explain to people who don’t know what Islam is. What can be a better time for doing this than during Ramzan? That way we will can clear the misconceptions that divide the two religions. It would be an ideal world when Hindus and Muslims could sit together for iftar,” said Asre.

As they tucked into fruits, samosas and cutlets, members of both communities discussed azaan, the role of women in Islam, the ideal way to pray, the meaning of the prayers, the science behind the fast, and more.

Shubhangi Shinde, a resident of Mumbra, one of the eight guests at the session, said she had attended another such session at the Masjid earlier and had even observed the Ramzan fast last year. “Although women aren’t allowed inside a mosque, as a part of this session, I got to enter the mosque earlier as well. When I was attending the session for the first time, I didn’t really think whether it was appropriate for me to enter a mosque or not. I found a kind of peace, which is why I am here again,” said Shinde.

For Nilesh Uprikar, who came all the way from Kalyan, it was a great learning experience. “I learnt about the various postures in which people pray and the significance of each one,” said Uprikar.

Meanwhile, Neeraj Pattath, another one of the guests, said when he heard that such sessions were taking place in a mosque, he looked up the details on social media. With no contacts available, he called up the Masjid office. “I studied history in college, which is why I am always curious to experience things. We hear a lot of things from different people, but unless we don’t experience something, we won’t know. Today, having learnt about Islam, I can talk about it to people from my community,” said Pattath, an IT professional.

First Published: May 29, 2018 13:55 IST