Members of the Harvard faculty and community, including President Lawrence H. Summers, joined the Harvard Islamic Society Nov. 22 at sunset at the group’s Faculty Iftar, or communal breaking of the fast of Ramadan.
“The iftar is an opportunity for all the Muslims at Harvard to come together to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood on a community level and to strengthen their faith on an individual level,” says Wasim Wadi Quadir ’03, president of the Harvard Islamic Society. “Having the chance to interact closely with other Muslims – whether they be grad students, professors, or other undergrads – has taught me a lot about my religion and about the unity amid the diversity of Islam.”
Following the traditional breaking of the fast with dates and prayer, Summers spoke briefly about Islam’s support of the pursuit of knowledge. Quadir also explained the significance of Ramadan and the iftar to the non-Muslims assembled. Fasting – Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk during Ramadan – and prayer are two pillars of Islam; both help Muslims connect more deeply with God, he said.
Quadir and the Harvard Islamic Society welcome the Faculty Iftar, an annual event, as an opportunity to open one of their faith’s significant rituals to a wider community.
“I appreciate the support and respect [the faculty] have shown the Muslim community at Harvard, and I was glad to have been able to share with them an important part of the Muslim tradition,” Quadir says.
– Beth Potier