Virtual Community Iftar Reflection

July 29, 2020
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CCMS is providing a platform for students and community members to write reflection pieces on events they attend. CCMS does not necessarily endorse all opinions and remarks expressed in those pieces.

Author: Nasreen Patel

It’s safe to say that this past Ramadhan was definitely one that we won’t forget. It was certainly unique as it broke a few traditions. No usual Taraweeh prayers at the masjid, no friendly exchanges or warm hugs after seeing old friends, no lively community iftars or late-night trips to Tim Hortons. In the time of this pandemic, we learned what it was like to experience Ramadhan solely within our homes. 

Although a certain sense of community seemed to be missing, SFU’s Centre for Comparitive Muslim Studies held virtual Community Iftars in order to revive the ties of connection during the blessed month. The events were held in partnership with Open City Events.

There were three events altogether on various topics to allow for discussions to expand our ways of thinking. They were open for everyone to attend and topics included Islam and the Environment, The Making and Meaning of Muslim Spaces, and Feminism in Islam. 

As someone who is an avid learner and loves the chance to exchange thoughts and hear different perspectives, I was naturally very happy to attend. I found all the speakers incredible with interesting insights to share. 

Each event began with a short introduction to the Open City team, followed by the speakers’ presentations. Then, we were split into digital breakout rooms where we got the chance to summarize what we learned and bounce around ideas with other attendees. It was a good experience for me while I was fasting and I look forward to attending more of these events, even more so in person next time!

Although my personal favourite was The Making and Meaning of Muslim Spaces event, all three events had significant takeaways to benefit from. I hope you can also gain something from the takeaways. Here is some of what I learned:

Climate Change in Islam:

  • Colonial thinking is where nature is viewed as something we can extract resources from.
  • The relationship humans have with nature is like an 'I' and 'it', where 'it' is referred to the natural world. Rather, it should be 'I' and 'them'.

Muslim Spaces:

  • The word “space” can be associated with the amalgamation of our five senses and fragments of sensations that make up a full-bodied experience
  • What makes a space “Muslim” is how we engage our experiences and channel our consciousness of thought to access our divine Creator.
  • A Muslim space must have the ability to enable you to contemplate what is within your heart, to make you feel remembrance and allow you wonder, imagine, and reflect, all in a state of tranquility.
  • The design and aesthetics of a space can reflect Muslim values and principles.

Feminism in Islam:

  • Islam was revealed to a very patriarchal society and increase the rights of  women. 
  • Colonialism has had gendered impacts on Muslim communities, often increasing gendered hierarchies and inflicting gendered violence.
  • Much of the misinterpretations about women in Islam are derived not from Islamic guidance, but from cultural practices which stand in direct opposition from the teachings of the Quran and the Prophet (peace be upon him).

These were some of my learnings from the events. If you weren’t able to attend, not to worry, because OCE and CCMS plan to have many more collaborations in the future! For future events, make sure to keep an eye on CCMS’ Facebook page or OCE’s Instagram page. You can find the CCMS website here and OCE website here.

Author

Nasreen Patel is currently an International Studies major at Simon Fraser University. She is one of the founders of Open City Events, an event planning business working towards social good through raising awareness and funds for humanitarian issues. She is also a member of the Solid State Board of Directors. In her free time, she likes to find ways to give back to her community and read heaps of books from her forever growing list.