A warm welcome for a non-Muslim to an Iftar tent

Dubai - The invitation was devoid of any inquiry on the fact that I'm a non-Muslim. It was a warm welcome that could very well be extended to everyone

By Keith Pereña

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Published: Wed 14 Jun 2017, 10:49 PM

Last updated: Thu 15 Jun 2017, 12:52 AM

Right off the bat, I'll say that I'm a non-Muslim, yet the culture has always fascinated me. Especially during the holy month of Ramadan. It is such an amazing sight of a community coming together. One visible sign of this 'coming together' is through the various Ramadan tents that dot Dubai.
Encouraged by curiosity and the need to learn more about Ramadan, I visited a Ramadan tent just in time for Iftar. It's my first time going to such places which made the experience all the more exciting.
On the outset, there were multiple footwear - slippers, dress shoes, sneakers which seemingly depicted persons of various walks of life. I was gestured inside by the doorman with an enthusiastic 'Come! Come!' - it is wise to note that his invitation was devoid of any inquiry on the fact that I'm a non-Muslim. It was a warm welcome that could very well be extended to everyone, no matter who they are.
Stepping inside there was rows and rows of people. There was no sequence to it, anyone was free to grab a seat wherever they could find. It is such a beautiful sign of equality. I was sitting beside workers, business professionals and even senior citizens. In the Ramadan tent, everyone is an equal, everyone is everyone's brother. Conversation was abound inside the tent; I was engaged in small talk with the old man beside me as he made sure that I was comfortable (Perhaps the fact that it's my first time inside the tent has become obvious). The duo infront of me was also ensuring the same. As I cosied myself up my newfound comrades, Iftar started and everyone was enjoying a generous serving of mutton biryani, dates, and some fruits.
At this point, it would be wise to mention that there is only one plate for every group of four. So the four of us shared a serving of the biryani. We ate with our hands as we enjoyed every bit of the meal served infront of us. The man beside me then shared some slices of watermelon that he has kept. To me, this is the true spirirt of Ramadan - people, who don't even know each other sharing their blessings and enjoying a peaceful meal. Inside that Ramadan tent, was a community that is in perfect harmony with each other, sharing laughs, bites, and moments that will be remembered even after Ramadan ends. I certainly will.

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