Hundreds Gather for Iftar Dinner at Masjid Al Aqsa in Cornwall

Jason Setnyk
Hundreds Gather for Iftar Dinner at Masjid Al Aqsa in Cornwall
The Muslim community share an iftar dinner to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan. (Photo : Jason Setnyk)

Cornwall, Ontario – More than 400 people gathered at The Masjid Al Aqsa Mosque in Cornwall for an iftar dinner to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan. In addition to the Muslim community, guests such as Cornwall Mayor Justin Towndale, Councillor Sarah Good, and Farhana Meghji (EDI Coordinator of CCH and Cornwall Police) were in attendance.

Ramadan is a time of fasting, self-reflection, and spiritual growth for Muslims. From dawn to sunset, those observing the fast abstain from food and drink, focusing instead on prayer, good deeds, and family. The iftar meal, which breaks the fast, includes a variety of foods. Traditionally, it starts with dates (a sweet fruit) and water, following the example of the Prophet Muhammad.

Muhammad Owais Aziz, a college professor and volunteer spokesperson for the event, shared his thoughts on the significance of Ramadan. “We at this mosque and billions around the globe celebrate one month of fasting during Ramadan. We fast from sunrise to sunset, and we do not eat or drink during this period, but it gives you strong willpower and makes you cognizant (aware) of God, to be self-aware, and modify your behaviour. Fasting is not just abstaining from food and drink but anything bad,” he said.

Aziz also highlighted the communal aspect this month represents for Muslims: “All of us wait for this month, we celebrate it, we really enjoy it, and it brings people together. It’s a great time of year.”

The Iftar dinner at Masjid Al Aqsa included an appetizer, followed by the Maghrib prayer, a main course, and time for attendees to talk and connect with others. Such gatherings are a hallmark of Ramadan, fostering community and shared purpose.

In addition to fasting, Ramadan is also a time when Muslims engage in additional prayers and worship, particularly at night. It is a month dedicated to the Quran, with Muslims worldwide focusing on reading, reciting, and reflecting on their holy book. Also, during this month, charity and helping others is of great importance. The end of Ramadan is celebrated with the festival of Eid al-Fitr, marking the completion of the month-long fast and a time of joy and gratitude.

Events like the iftar dinner, organized by mosque president Naeem Choudhry,  provide an opportunity for communal breaking of the fast and emphasize the principles of self-discipline, charity (such as Sadaqa and Zakat), and community – all central to the observance of Ramadan.

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