What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a holy month in Islam during which most Muslims throughout the world choose to fast from sunrise to sunset from food, drink, and other things in order to focus upon God. Listen to Sondos and Seher talk with one of our founders about why they participate in Ramadan.
What is an iftar?
Iftar is the meal that is eaten by Muslims during the month of Ramadan to break the fast. Often, the first food eaten at sunset is a single date and a small drink of water, followed by evening prayers. Then Muslims will gather together (when they can) with friends or family to share a meal and celebrate another day of success during Ramadan. It is a sacred space in our view, and it is remarkable that every year throughout the United States, Muslim communities invite people like us to participate with them in this ritual meal.
Why should I attend an iftar?
Muslim communities, throughout the United States and the world, have been opening their doors to ‘outsiders’ every Ramadan for many years to share in a communal feast at a common table. To say this is a big deal is a profound understatement. A few very powerful and persuasive people have spent millions of dollars trying to demonize and marginalize the Muslim American community for over a decade, creating a new word (Islamophobia) and a terrifying new reality for Muslim Americans. Every day, another instance of hate speech or violence is carried out by people who have bought into this narrative of fear. When you commit to participate in SE7EN FAST this year, you are committing to receiving an invitation to relationships that has been extended to you by Muslims in your community. You are committing to finding a place in your community in which you can be transformed through relationships at a common table of peace.
Is this a Muslim organization?
No. SE7EN FAST was started by Jeff and Jessey Eagan, a Christian couple, after meeting Bassel Riche who started the #Muslims4Lent movement in 2015.
Are you trying to convert Muslims?
Not at all. Our goal, as stated elsewhere on the website, is to encourage people to begin engaging in relationships across lines of religious difference because we believe that this is where peace moves from a hope to a possibility.
How do you say SE7EN FAST?
Why is it called SE7EN FAST?
SE7EN FAST started as a one-day event on 7/7/15, inviting Christians and non-Muslims everywhere to fast in solidarity with Muslims, to give money to the World Food Programme, and to break fast with Muslims in their communities. So, essentially, since it was on 7/7, we decided to call it SE7EN FAST. We realized in 2016 that it didn’t matter whether people were doing this all on the same day, but that people were aware of all of the opportunities to connect with Muslims throughout Ramadan. The first year we had five events. The second year we promoted over 25, and in 2017 we expanded that number to over 160 events in over 30 states. We hope to keep expanding this reach so we can continue to do our part in helping people break down walls of division in their communities.
What inspired you to start SE7EN FAST?
That’s a long story, which you can read here, or watch some stories about here and here. To make that long story much shorter, in 2015 Jessey, one of the co founders of SE7EN FAST, decided to wear the hijab for Lent. It was an act of solidarity, a reminder of what it feels like to be a minority in a community, and an encouragement to her community to love neighbors, strangers, and enemies. During that same period of time, Bassel Riche started a social media movement called #Muslims4Lent. Bassel became a huge encouragement to Jessey during that time. We wanted to do something similar in response to our new friend’s movement and personal encouragement, so we started SE7EN FAST. The rest is history.
Is SE7EN FAST good for Christians?
Absolutely yes. Fear and hatred of Muslims have no place in our collective Scriptural narrative. We are called to love our neighbors. We are called to love strangers. We are called to love our enemies. SE7EN FAST exists to create a moment, and a place, for knowledge of the other to transform our fear into love (for perfect love casts out fear). Really, SE7EN FAST, and events like it, are good for the world. They are one way to participate in healing the world, a task we should all take upon ourselves.
I want to host an iftar, but I don’t know where to begin. Any suggestions?
The Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign has put together an excellent toolkit to get you started. Once you have something set up, let us know so we can add it to the website!