Muslims Urged To Boycott 'Political Iftar'

Muslims Urged To Boycott 'Political Iftar'

Attending celebratory dinners organised by government agencies or politicians is haraam or forbidden in Islam. Imams of mosques in the city have been asked to advise the faithful.

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Friday, March 22, 2024, 11:13 PM IST
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Muslims Urged To Boycott 'Political Iftar' | Pixabay

As political parties try to woo voters in the run-up to the general elections that will start next month, community groups have asked Muslims not to attend iftar parties organised by politicians and police.

Muslims have been told that iftar, which is the time for the evening meal taken to break the dawn-to-dusk fast, or Roza, during the holy month of Ramzan, is part of their religious obligations. Attending celebratory dinners organised by government agencies or politicians is haraam or forbidden in Islam. Imams of mosques in the city have been asked to advise the faithful.

Political iftars are a common feature during Ramzan, used by politicians to court their Muslim constituency. Political leaders, irrespective of religious identity, would organise 'iftar parties' with free food and gifts. This became a big trend in the 1980s and 1990s. Zubair Ahmed of Urdu Markaz, a cultural association, said that the practice started when Jawaharlal Nehru was the prime minister and Maulana Azad served as the education minister.

"But those events did not have much of a political hue. Iftar is purely a religious custom though I see no harm if people of other religions take part in the event. Giving iftar gatherings a political hue is not in good taste," said Ahmed.

There are other calls to avoid ostentatious events for iftar. On Thursday a trustee of Delhi's Jama Masjid asked Muslims to avoid 'photobazi wali' gatherings that are just occasions to socialise and pose for pictures.

There is also a call to avoid 'Sehri Dawats', referring to the meal before sunrise, the last one before the day's fast starts.

Across the world, there have been boycotts of government-sponsored iftars, mostly for political reasons. American Muslim groups gave a call to boycott the White House Iftar Party by President Joe Biden to protest against the government's support to Israel in its offensive in Gaza after terror attacks last year. In New York City, Muslims boycotted the mayor's iftar dinner for the same reason.

Norooz Cup 2024

The Iran Culture House, run by the Iranian Consulate, usually organises a series of events to celebrate Nowruz or Norooz, the Persian New Year, which was celebrated on Wednesday. This year, however, because Nowruz has come during the holy month of Ramzan, the celebrations are different. On Friday the Iranians began the two-day 'Norooz Cup 2024', a football tournament at the Islam Gymkhana, Marine Drive.

The tournament features teams from the Iran Consulate, Iran Air, Culture House of Iran, B9 Football Club, O'Sheish FC, and others. The event was jointly organised by the Mumbai Football Association and the Islam Gymkhana, among others.  

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