New Zealand Correspondent
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in New Zealand hosted its annual Iftari Experience on Saturday, 18 May at the Baitul Muqeet complex in Auckland, during the holy month of Ramadan. The event saw over 90 guests from all walks of life attend.
The formal session began with the recitation of the Holy Quran followed by the welcome address from the National President, Bashir Ahmad Khan Sahib. Visitors then had the opportunity to learn more about the Islamic institution of fasting through a presentation delivered by Mustenser Qamar Sahib. As part of the presentation, Imam Qamar explained that the primary objective of fasting was “to leave physical nourishment and focus on spiritual nourishment and developing a stronger relationship with our Creator.” He further explained that during this month Muslims increase their acts of charity and endeavour to help those less well off.
The Chief Executive of the Auckland City Mission and friend of the community, Chris Farrelly was among the notable guests in attendance and shared some thoughts with guests. He said that he was highly moved with the charity work the Jamaat does in and outside New Zealand. He was pleased to see a large group of people from all walks of the society gattered in the hall for the Iftari Experience.
After the breaking of the fast with dates, fruit and refreshments, visitors were welcomed into the prayer halls where they observed members offering Maghrib prayer. Following this, Imam Qamar gave a brief introduction to the features of the mosque and the philosophy behind the Islamic prayer and the reasons for different postures. Thereafter, members of the public asked questions on different aspects of the Islamic teachings before proceeding to the Monir hall for dinner.
Several guests took away free books and literature including the Kuranu Tapu (the Te Reo Maori translation of the Holy Quran) to help them better understand the religion of Islam.
Many guest had chats with the Jamaat members to learn about the Jamaat and its Islamic beliefs. One of the lady guests had a very interesting discussion with me. She was interested to know why Jesusas had to travel to India if he had survived from the cross. I told her about the Promised Messiahas and his book, Jesus in India. She said that she was a history graduate and would love to read this book.
Another guest was explained about the obligatory prayers and how working Muslims managed to pray.
Many of the guests had their first experience of attending any Muslim function and especially visiting a mosque.
Guests were very grateful for the invitation to the event and praised the efforts of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for not only opening their doors to the public but also in being at the forefront of clarifying commonly held misunderstandings about Islam and for helping build bridges of love and lasting friendship. Some even expressed interest in attempting the fast in the future.