RAMADAN: Communal iftar, an expression of social solidarity and compassion

Organizers set the venue to receive fasting people and arrange the quality and variety of food served. (SPA)
Updated 16 May 2019

RAMADAN: Communal iftar, an expression of social solidarity and compassion

SAKAKA: Community iftar in the holy month of Ramadan is one of the most rewarding deeds. The Prophet said: “Whoever gives iftar to a fasting person will have a reward like his, without that detracting from the reward of the person in the slightest,” and in this holy month, communal iftars are abundant in a number of mosques in Al-Jouf cities and some external roadways.

Good and affluent people, along with charities and advocacy offices, compete to organize communal iftars where residents of different nationalities come together in a spiritual, brotherly and friendly ambiance even though most of them had never met each other except in communal iftars, and the big mosques are these charitable events’ venues.

Communal iftar organizers prepare the venues properly and decently to receive fasting people; they set up air-conditioning and appropriate furniture and make sure the place is clean to receive the biggest number possible. They also prepare a variety of food and drinks at the dining table, such as dates, juices and drinking water, dairy products, pastries, sweets, fruits and soup, in addition to rice, chicken, meat, coffee, tea and other items.

Organizers set the venue to receive fasting people and arrange the quality and variety of food served and many iftars have adopted “meat and rice” as the main course.

Mohammed Al-Ali who volunteers in organizing communal iftars, said that his role, along with his fellows, is to prepare the place and dining tables, receive fasting people, organize their seats without crowding each other, remove the remaining food and distribute it.

“The most notable challenges are the organization of the big number of people who come daily, which may result in a shortage of meals when the turnout is more than expected. The opposite happens sometimes, and there is a surplus of meals, however, the former happens more than the latter,” he said.

Resident Abdul Samad expressed his happiness about the organizers’ hospitality and fairness in treating Arabs and non-Arabs alike. He commended the good organization and quality of meals served.

Mohammed Mahmoud said that communal iftars found in most mosques exemplify the citizens’ hospitality and their kindness. He described the communal iftars as the perfect location to catch up with friends in the holy month of Ramadan.

Khaled Al-Anzi, one of the organizers, said that communal Iftars in the holy month are positive events for legal, social and advocacy reasons. He noted that the social reasons are evident since communal iftars are a meeting place for people of different nationalities and languages, which promotes unity and promotes compassion and social solidarity in Islam. Feeding others embodies the Goodness of the Creator and helps some people with scarce resources, he said.

Saudi entrepreneur aims to revive Al-Balad

Saudi entrepreneur Abdullah Al-Hodaif has been passionate about art all his life. (Photos/Supplied)
Updated 2 min 55 sec ago

Saudi entrepreneur aims to revive Al-Balad

  • Abdullah Al-Hodaif’s passion for art has led him to invest in a wide range of cultural projects

JEDDAH: Thirty-two-year-old Saudi entrepreneur Abdullah Al-Hodaif has been passionate about art all his life. He started collecting paintings in his warehouse when he was only six years old. By the time he was 16, his warehouse was filled with vintage art pieces.
After attaining his master’s degree from abroad, he was inspired by Saudi Vision 2030 upon his return to the Kingdom.
Today, Al-Hodaif has redecorated four buildings in Jeddah’s popular tourist attraction, Al-Balad.
They house Bait Al-Hodaif, a non-profit art organization, and include a small museum that consists of 14 rooms and displays items from the 1910s to the 1980s: artwork, photographs, newspapers and magazines, and nostalgic games such as Carrom, currencies from different Arab countries and more.
“It displays old Hejazi interiors, visitors can see how kitchens used to be, an old Majlis and games, televisions, newspapers. People can even host events there,” Al-Hodaif told Arab News.
Bait Al-Hodaif creates annual campaigns to redecorate the streets of Jeddah with graffiti and different artwork. Last Ramadan, they created eight projects in districts such as Al-Karantina, Al-Petromin and Al-Aziziyah.


• Bait Al-Hodaif’s mission is to promote Saudi art culture. • The buildings of his projects are over 200 years old. • Values: beauty, peace, kindness, giving, persistence and love. • Bait Ziryab was named after Iraqi composer Ziryab. • 90% of Bait Ziryab’s students are female.

“In the poorer areas, we created artwork in different districts and held recycling workshops for children. The aim of the artworks on the wall is to create a cheerful image for the children, for them to see one of their favorite cartoon characters on the wall,” Al-Hodaif told Arab News.
“We worked under seven values: Beauty, peace, kindness, giving, persistence and love. We paint the language of love and peace on the walls.
“This year, we created a project called Arbab Al-Jamal to beautify areas in Al-Balad — as seen on the roof of Al-Hodaif Museum — for all of Ramadan. The goal is to complete 11 artworks by the end of Ramadan.”
Al-Hodaif Museum consists of six floors and is one of the tallest buildings in Al-Balad.
“It offers weekly art workshops and classes for pottery, sketching and other forms of art. It also hosts events on a monthly basis, be they cultural, poetic, cinematic or musical.”
The museum also houses contemporary art. “I want the youth to come to historic Jeddah, not to see something old. Visitors have seen plenty of that. What I want to do is bring them through modern art and something new. The youth don’t want to see an old car or an old radio, they want to see art, but I want to show them art in a historic site.”
Al-Hodaif’s goal is not to bring back the past.


• Provide a service that supports the thriving art scene in Saudi Arabia. • Discover and support local artists and showcase their work locally and internationally. • Provide the space and equip the artists with the appropriate resources to work. • Instill values of peace through art. • Offer educational workshops and courses to develop the skills of young talents.

“We combined the modern with the old. We are very much with the present times,” said Al-Hodaif.
Bait Ziryab is a music school that teaches Arabic music and promotes Arabic music culture. It offers lessons in Arabic instruments such as the oud, qanun and ney, and also offers lessons in Western instruments such as the piano.
“It was named after the most famous musician in Andalusia, Iraqi composer Ziryab, who migrated to Andalusia and was the first to open a music school that teaches the oud in Andalusia, and he taught the daughters of kings,” he told Arab News
Al-Hodaif established Arbab Al-Heraf, a platform that promotes the art and culture of Saudi Arabia, with a branch in Al-Balad and another in Al-Basateen district.