Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Every day during this month, Muslims around the world spend the daylight hours in a complete fast. During the blessed month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during the daylight hours. As a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice, Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking. We are making peace with those who have wronged us, strengthen ties with family and friends, stay away from bad habits permanently to clean up our lives, our thoughts, and our feelings. Ramadan is a time to practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one’s self on the worship of God. It a time to enjoy breaking their holy day of fasting with family, friends, co-worker, at sunset each day during Ramadan month.

As Rumi FA, we wanted to turn this essential religious month into an opportunity where we could organize Friendship Dinners by inviting people from different walks of life, backgrounds, and cultures thus facilitating dialogue among them.

The dinner aimed;

  • to provide a message of peace – we stand stronger when united.
  • to celebrate the diversity of our neighbors and friends,
  • to increase understanding, acceptance and positive regard among our communities,
  • to avoid possible misunderstandings and misperceptions amongst each other,
  • to translate this first time meeting of participants into opportunities for long term friendships through family dinners and other engagements

On May 6th, 2019, the Rumi Friendship Association (RFA), the William and Mary Wesley Campus Ministry, and the William and Mary Muslim Student Association (MSA) hosted a pre-Ramadan Iftar Dinner. Held on the night before the beginning of the month of Ramadan, the dinner was a way for the William and Mary community to celebrate the beginning of the most important month of the year for Muslims. Participants consisted mostly of William and Mary Students, but there was also a significant number of community members and people from various religious backgrounds. Total participants numbered more than eighty people.
The program started with remarks from MSA Treasurer Kemal Taban Wesley’s Campus Minister Max Blalock, and Hakan from Rumi FA. Afterward, a short informational video on the month of Ramadan was shown. It explained why and how Muslims fast and gave a quick overview of how Ramadan looks around the world. After the video, people got in the long line for food which they eventually ended up enjoying very much. Overall, the Pre-Ramadan Iftar Dinner served as a successful celebration of the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, an opportunity for the community to get together, and a platform for interfaith dialogue.

We would like to thank Max and his good community for opening their doors and their warm hospitality.