Welcome to The Big Iftar, a project that has been running since 2013 and is now part of Faiths United.
Thank you for your interest. We look forward to hearing about your events and ideas.
Iftar is the fast breaking meal that takes place mostly in Ramadan but also in other parts of the year when Muslims do extra fasting. There is a lot of blessing and goodwill around to feed people who have been fasting. “Interfaith iftars” have become a common occurrence now and can be seen up and down the UK during the holy month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is the name of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and follows the Lunar calendar which means it starts 10 days earlier each year. It is an important time of year for Muslims and to our friends of all faiths and none. It is a time for deepening our spiritual connections, giving charity and hospitality and renewing our intentions to be the best version of ourselves, connected to God. Eating food is actually a small part of what the month is really about. Click
for more about Ramadan.
Over the years since 2013 when we started, we have seen a rise in the number of Iftars being hosted in a variety of places and by many different people. In Mosques, community centres and by Muslim run organisations and charities but also in synagogues, churches, town squares and schools. It is humbling to see how far it has come over the years.
Learn more about the event and its purpose, as well as see a schedule of the Iftars being held in different locations. If you're interested in attending one of the Iftars, please click on the signup link to register.
Find out more about the benefits of attending The Big Iftar, including the opportunity to break bread with people from different faiths and build community. To attend, please click on the "Become a volunteer" link to register.
Learn more about Faiths United and our mission to promote interfaith harmony and understanding. Discover ways to volunteer or donate to support our work beyond The Big Iftar event.
Help us promote The Big Iftar and build a stronger, more inclusive community. Find out how you can share the message on social media, at your place of worship, or in your local community.
If you have any further questions please check out our frequently asked questions section. And if you're interested in supporting our work, you can find information about how to donate on our website.
If you're interested in hosting an Iftar for The Big Iftar, please click on the "Host Registration" link to sign up. You will be asked to provide some basic information about your organization and the location of the Iftar. Once you have registered, we will add your event to the official schedule.
Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement, and heightened devotion, but it is also a powerful catalyst for unity and community building. The act of fasting during Ramadan creates a sense of solidarity, promotingRamadan is a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement, and heightened devotion, but it is also a powerful catalyst for unity and community building. The act of fasting during Ramadan creates a sense of solidarity, promoting empathy, compassion, and understanding among people of all faiths and backgrounds.
Blog for The Big Iftar
As we move closer to Ramadan, the excitement and anticipation is once again building. For people who are not Muslim, it’s perhaps hard to understand, why Muslims could get excited about Ramadan,the idea of 30 days of fasting throughout each day with no food and water would seem more like punishment! But as a month it truly is a Blessed time and even in a place like the UK where Muslims are only around 7% of the population, there is a buzz in the build up and then through the month itself.
Of course, it can be challenging but the inner work that takes place during the month is what really counts. We focus a lot on the eating or not eating of food but fasting is much more than that. There is one main place in the Qur’an itself which talks about fasting, including this verse:
“Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you become mindful of God” Qur’an 2:183
And Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, said: “If a person does not avoid false talk and false conduct during the fast, then God does not care if he abstains from food and drink.”
Giving time and money in charity, helping people, being mindful of others, avoiding gossip, being kind and soft with people, praying, connecting to God, thinking about our lives and how we can be the best versions of ourselves. These are all important aspects of Ramadan.
Through The Big Iftar project I have been privileged to be invited to share food with people in Ramadan in so many settings. All special in their own ways.
Coventry Cathedral was one that stands out for me. The Dean Revd John Whitcombe and I had connected as friends on a leadership programme, he wanted to host an Iftar, went back to his staff and within 6 weeks it was happening, unheard of in a Cathedral calendar in terms of speed of organising! In that event and in so many since then, the humility, care, generosity and love with which the ‘interfaith iftars’ have been hosted is truly something so special it’s hard to fully describe how it feels.
Alyth Synagogue in London is like a second home to me now. This year will be their TENTH Iftar! Hearing the call to prayer being recited in a Synagogue in London is truly a beautiful thing and I hope others can experience it this year if they haven’t before.
And one other Iftar that I will never forget was in a Primary School in Oxford. Supported by brilliant headteacher, Rachel Crouch, the staff and parents made it happen in the most beautiful way. We sat on small children’s chairs in the school hall and prayed Maghrib prayers in the playground. Those moments will always stay with me.
So as we move closer to Ramadan 2023, I am excited and humbled once again as invites and information comes to me of the wonderful gatherings that are being planned by so many people up and down the UK, Muslims and people from all backgrounds and ages.
In times when the world feels like it’s on fire, when we are made to feel by those who shout loudest that there is far more bad than good in the world, when division and hate seem to top the news agenda, I urge you to reach out to each other, be soft, be kind, be open, be generous. Spread the love and hope whenever you can, in person and online.
Ramadan is a beautiful time to see that in action. I hope to see you at an Iftar over the coming weeks.
Julie Siddiqi MBE
Co-founder, The Big Iftar