Friday, August 27, 2010

Iftar: A Muslim tradition shared

Iftar celebration: Members of the MGH Muslim community take a moment to offer thanks to God at sunset.

One of the religious observances during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is Iftar, the communal breaking of the daily fast. On Aug. 24, the MGH community -- including MGH employees, their families, patients and friends -- shared in this ceremony at sunset in the Thier Conference Room.

This year, 200 guests of the Muslim and other faiths joined in the breaking of the fast, which traditionally includes abstaining from food and water from dawn to sunset, as well as performing good deeds. Welcoming the guests were Deborah Washington, RN, PhD(c), director of the Patient Care Services Diversity Program, and Audrey Jasey, RN, BSN, CMSRN, staff nurse for the General Medicine Unit and co-chair of the MGH Diversity Committee. Offering remarks was guest speaker Abdur-Rahman Syed, PhD(c), of Boston University. Syed discussed the tradition of fasting and described how the decree from God spans Christian, Jewish and other religious traditions.

Following the remarks, Imam Talal Eid, ThD, MGH Muslim chaplain, led the prayer at sunset. As Muslim attendees prayed, those who were not Muslim quietly observed the tradition.

"This was a wonderful event for the Muslim community at the MGH to share in today," said Firdosh Pathan, RPh, of the MGH Pharmacy. "It was also a fantastic opportunity for non-Muslims to gain first-hand exposure to our religion. It is a big boost for Muslims' confidence to be accepted in America, and we hope that we can raise our children here and give them better a future." All of the evening's traditional Middle Eastern food was supplied by MGH Nutrition and Food Services.

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