The Times of India

Hyderabad

Food is an important part of Ramadan. After a day-long fast, people reward themselves with scrumptious eats, but what if you are also able to meet new people, strike a meaningful conversation, and make those iftār evenings even more memorable?

A close-knit community of Dawoodi Bohras, who make elaborate arrangements for Ramadan every year, are having a unique arrangement for iftār evenings this year. Surrounded by food served in a single plate, about eight people sat at each table sharing the plate of food while listening to each other and opening up about different aspects of their lives that they would otherwise hesitate to share.

‘We all sit down together for a meal during iftār. The menu which we have for iftār is the same for the Bohra community across the world. Our belief is that if we sit together for a meal and talk to each other we can build friendship,’ said Mustafa Hamid of the Bohra Community.

Syedna is the dāʿī or spiritual leader of the Bohra community across the world. The Syedna decides the arrangements to be made according to necessities.

Aarifa, who has been attending the iftār evenings at the Bohra Community prayer and dining hall at Red Hills said, ‘People are very warm to each other here. I don’t feel like I am eating with strangers. I have made a few very good friends in a short time.’

The community’s focus this year will also be on making sure not even a single grain of food is wasted. ‘We collect whatever food is left in the plates and feed it to the birds or bury it in the soil. The extra food that is not used is served in hospitals,’ Hamid added.

The Bohras are a sub-sect of Shia Muslims, their origins can be traced back to Gujarat, where they settled about 1,000 years ago.