Three hundred British Muslims and guests gathered at the British Library, one of the world’s largest libraries, as part of Ramadan iftar events hosted by Ramadan Tent Project.
Expecting rain, the iftar, planned at the courtyard, moved indoors, adding to the rich experience as guests sat in the entrance atrium and enjoyed the fabulous acoustics of the call to prayer echoing throughout the building.
Abdoullah Redouane, who announced the call and led the prayers, was himself a member of the library when studying engineering some years ago.
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Originally from Morocco, he said that it was good to be back and perform a prayer along the same paths he used to walk on many years ago.
For me, what made this experience that much more interesting was the knowledge that the British Library holds some of the most beautiful and rarest copies of the Quran from across the ages.
With 300 copies available, the oldest is from the 8th Century AD. After visiting the library many times as a student for my research on Islamic Banking, the words I would see on these Qurans were sung and floated through the library. It was magnificent.
Speaking of the event, Jerry Shillito, Head of Operations South at the British Library, said, “We share many common values.
The British Library is about bringing communities together and sharing experiences and knowledge. There’s a synergy between the two organizations (Ramadan Tent Project and the British Library) and what we’re about.”
“We also have standard public and community-specific tours, and we hope to welcome as many people to experience other aspects of the library.”
On the night, food was provided by one of the sponsors, Spice Village, while supermarket chain Lidl provided goody bags for the guests. Both demonstrated the mainstream nature of British Muslims, our religious and spiritual diversity, as part of the fabric of the community of British people who make up our wonderful nation.
OpenIftar is an initiative by the Ramadan Tent Project, hosting similar events for Muslims and non-Muslims throughout Ramadan.
It’s simply about bringing people and communities together and, of course, a fabulous place to meet, eat, and make new friends.
The project organized a fast-breaking meal last week in London at the famous Victoria and Albert Museum and Chelsea’s stadium, Stamford Bridge.
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