“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may develop God-consciousness.” Al Quran 2:183

The fourth pillar of Islam, Sawm or fasting during the month of Ramadan is an act of deep and personal worship for Muslims. Muslims aim to be extra conscious of their thoughts and behaviour, and focus on doing good and staying away from the bad. It is a month devoted to heightened spirituality, a dedicated exercise in inner reflection, devotion to God and self- discipline. As such it is the ideal time for Muslims to focus on building better relationships with communities of other faiths and beliefs. This is especially important in the present context where Muslims are persecuted in some parts of the world and discriminated against in most because of the base and violent acts of a few who can only claim to be acting in the name of Islam. Misinformation and lack of awareness and close relationships with Muslim communities also contribute to this.

“We have appointed a law and a practice for every one of you. Had God willed, He would have made you a single community, but He wanted to test you regarding what has come to you. So compete with each other in doing good. Every one of you will return to God and He will inform you regarding the things about which you differed.” Al Quran 5:48

Fostering intercommunal harmony is one of the 10 tenets of the Galle Muslim Cultural Association (GMCA) and it lays special emphasis on promoting such during the month of Ramadan by organizing a special Ifthar session at the GMCA premises. GMCA members, Galle Fort residents, special invitees and members of other faiths gather on one day of Ramadan for ifthar and break fast together as members of the human race. The event is open-invitation and even visitors to the Galle Fort on that day can sit down and break fast with the community. Everyone contributes with food for the ifthar which is followed by Salawath and Hadith Majilis.. This provides brothers and sisters of other faiths to experience firsthand the religious and cultural practices of Muslims and thus promotes tolerance and understanding among all communities.

“O You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of satan. He is an outright enemy to you.” Al Quran 2:208