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Reading the Quran at the Jebel Ali gurudwara

Nivriti Butalia/senior Reporter
Filed on June 25, 2015

Sikh temple holds Iftar for Ramadan-observing Muslim guests from the Al Manar Centre.

Kandhari (left) with the members of Al Manar Centre during the Iftar at the gurudwara in Dubai on Tuesday.  — Photo by Rahul Gajjar

Dubai - ‘Please don’t ask for Langar parcel during Ramadan’ reads the sign on the main door of the gurudwara at Jebel Ali, in English and Gurmukhi.  While that is the only change in the gurudwara routine during Ramadan — the suspension of food parcel hand outs — on Monday evening, for the second consecutive year, an Iftar was held at the Sikh Gurudwara in Jebel Ali. The guests of honour were the Ramadan-observing Muslim guests from the Al Manar Centre.

Last year the Al Manar Centre had started the initiative of inviting guests from different faiths for Iftar. The gurudwara had invited them last year, too, to return the hospitality. This year, the invite went out first from the gurudwara. Al Manar Centre had also invited Christians and members of at least three Churches.

So the evening of June 22 was a special occasion. There was a quick but memorable end to the day’s fasting for the chief guests – the 10 people including Islamic speaker Ahmad Hamid, and representative of Al Manar Centre Abdul Hadi. They did not stay for Iftar as they had to rush back. But they opened the fast, and completed the “crux of the mission,” which was, as Hamid said, “to share the principles of why we fast.”Hamid spoke about the significance of fasting during Ramadan. He told Khaleej Times, “This is the best time to share the principles of faith with everyone in this part of the world.”

Surinder Singh Kandhari, Chairman of the Gurunanak Darbar had also invited about 20 other Muslim friends. The evening was an exercise in conviviality. “He speaks beautifully about the importance of submitting yourself to God,” said Kandhari about Hamid’s talk.

Abdul Hadi, representative of Al Manar Centre told Khaleej Times about the cultural exchange programme (launched three years ago under the patronage of Shaikha Hind, wife of Shaikh Mohammed). Last year the gurudwara members had accepted the invitation and visited the Al Manar Centre. Hadi said of the evening at the Gurudwara, “We recited the Quran, and we made a speech on the importance of fasting, so the feeling was wonderful.”

Kandhari said the basic message across religions is the same: “Forget your egos and submit yourself to God.”— nivriti@khaleejtimes.com


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