Iftaar Recap

The following was originally posted here.

Good morning, everyone! InshAllah, your weeks are off to a good start, even if it is Monday and you do not want to be back to the grind. Personally, this day is always a mixture of excitement at the prospect of making progress on life goals and loathing of the work week’s monotony. This past weekend, especially, is difficult to say good-bye to since it was very relaxing and involved an iftaar with friends in Meridian Hill Park.

Although I lived in the area and passed it everyday on my commute into work on a Metro bus, I never explored Meridian Hill/Malcom X Park prior to last night. Like the National Mall, which seemingly is unending stretches of dirt paths encasing a grassy interior, Meridian Hill encompasses several city blocks in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC’s Northwest quadrant. Each week the park hosts a famous drum circle where individuals bring drums of all varieties and play to a dancing crowd for almost 12 hours straight. What a background soundtrack to an interfaith iftaar I thought, with its constant beat that ebbed and flowed with the sun and light breeze passing through the nearby trees. As twilight approached, my group of friends and I gathered on some blankets and shared several delicious dishes together to celebrate the conclusion of another blessed day of fasting. Such highlights, which are included below, were a roasted eggplant dish, orzo with feta and grape tomatoes, and peanut butter cookies (note to anyone looking for one of my favorite foods, here is one). Thanks to my friends in the awesome Green Muslims group, who also participate in the weekly halaqa group. They were kind enough to rent me a reusable cutlery set that included plates and cups. Check out their website for information pertaining to how you can rent different size party sets for your next event; where else can you rent everything for $10?! The beauty of these sets is that you are not only preventing more trash from going into a landfill, probably incorrectly separated too, but that you also contribute to the good works of an environmental organization.

Conversations during the iftaar varied from what the political situations in many Middle Eastern nations meant for the world to urban farming to laughing at the fact that the majority of our dishes consisted of tomatoes. We attributed the latter to the fact that the area experiences a tomato boon in the summer months and with fall rapidly approaching, they will be harder to come by at such cheap prices. I was most excited to see friends that I had not seen since my birthday party back in February and to catch up about all their happenings outside of a sloppy and loud happy hour. Many people were unable to make the iftaar for different reasons, but at the end of the evening I could feel their presence among the group, notably my jaan, family, and closest DC friends. I guess sometimes those we carry in our hearts are ever-present, even if not physically and al-hamdulilah for that fact.

By: Andrew Clark