[Maulana Iqbal Ahmed Biskohari, the driving force behind the "Iftar Basket" initiative, overseeing the arrangements at Jama Masjid Ahle Hadees Motipura in Malegaon. (ummid.com photo)]
Malegaon: Iftar parties organized in India during the holy month of Ramadan are normally meant only for men. However, to give this tradition a more accommodative and meaningful twist, a group of Muslims in Malegaon on Sunday replaced them with “Iftar Baskets”.
“The idea behind replacing Iftar Parties with Iftar Baskets was to ensure that women and children are also involved and take the benefits of the annual feasts”, Shahid Faizee, one of the volunteer of Jama Masjid Ahle Hadees Motipura and who led the initiative, said while talking to ummid.com.
“The move also helped us in eliminating wastage of food – a norm with any public event”, he added.
“Moreover, we were able to utilize every rupee donated for the cause”, he said.
Shahid with his team members, prominent among them Noorul Ameen, Abdul Muqtadir, Naved Mirza, Razee Anwer, Abdullah and others, distributed Iftar Baskets containing apples, dates, chikoo, bhaji, samosas, ras malai, sharbat and other food items consumed at the time of Iftar.
“We distributed a total of 125 Iftar Baskets covering as many number of households and benefiting about 600 family members”, Noorul Ameen said.
The idea came into being a week ago when the same group was part of a team managing an “Iftar Party” where it saw more than half the food items going waste despite their best effort to control the menace.
“Still worse, about 25% of the donated amount was used for pandal, lighting, furniture and for decorating the ground to give the Iftar Party a five-star look”, Razee Anwer said.
“Moreover, we also failed to understand why women and children, who also observe fast along with men during the month of Ramadan, should be left behind. It is then that we explored various options and finally zeroed down on Iftar Basket”, he said.
The initiative is being hailed and praised by all and sundry. “It was surprising but pleasant to receive the Iftar Basket right at our doorstep. My family members too were overwhelmed by this gesture”, Habibur Rahman, a beneficiary, said.
Incidentally, the same group had in 2009 made distribution of Zakatul Fitr – the Eid charity, more effective, easier and meaningful for the needy, and also closer to its spirit.
Earlier, food grains normally wheat was individually delivered to the poor to pay the Zakatul Fitr, also called as Sadaqatul Fitr – the mandatory charity given on the eve of Eid al Fitr, the Muslim festival marking the end of Ramadan. However, deviating from this tradition, Jama Masjid Ahle Hadees Motipura started distributing 2009 onwards packets containing food grains, flour, rice and edible oil directly to the poor and needy through its volunteers.
Jama Masjid Ahle Hadees Motipura in Malegaon has always been conscious about the involvement of women in religious and social activities. This is why when entry of women in mosques is considered as sinful for many Muslims in India, it is among only few mosques in Malegaon which has special provision for women worshippers.
“Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) never banned women from worshipping in mosques. So, who are we to do so? At Jama Masjid Motipura, we have special arrangements for women. You can see hundreds of women coming here to pray, especially for Traweeh prayers during Ramadan and for Friday afternoon prayers”, Abdul Muqtadir, said.
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