The Colours of Ramadan

The historic Jama Masjid of Delhi clicked from the rooftop of a nearby hotel after iftar.

Muhammad Shoaib Mir | Caravan Daily

RAMADAN, which falls on the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is the most significant religious time of the year for Muslims throughout the world. It marks the month in which the Quran — the holy book of Islam — was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) by the archangel Gabriel in 610 CE.

This is a month of fasting, prayer, and reflection for Muslims. During this time, Muslims refrain from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset and strive to avoid thoughts and behaviour which are considered to be impure under the tenets of Islam. Muslims believe that the spiritual rewards for this good behaviour are increased during Ramadan.

Muhammad Umar with his son reciting Quran after the asr prayers inside Jama Masjid, Delhi..

This fast is broken each day with a meal shared amongst family and friends, and the end of Ramadan culminates in a three-day festival, known as Eid al-Fitr.

As the Ramadan started on May 7, 2019, in India, New Delhi roads one can easily see deserted during day in Muslim dominant areas and the same roads come to life during the evening with a wide range of sumptuous vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines and the air is infused with the delicious scent of spices and syrupy desserts.

A young boy reciting the holy Quran while his friend reacts to camera.

Everyday around 300-500 people come to the historical Jama Masjid to break their fast. People can be seen reciting Quran, offering prayers and some just taking a nap before iftar inside the mosque.

Around an hour left for iftar 15-year-old Galib can be seen sitting patiently with his friend on the stairs of the Shahi masjid to break their fast. “I come here everyday to break my fast, so I can have my favourite fruit custard that is being served here during iftar and sometimes I help the masjid committee to fill the empty glasses with water for iftar. Today my friend also joined me,” says Galib.

A family doing preparations for the ifar inside Jama Masjid.

As the sun is about to set, people can be seen moving towards the masjid where multiple tablecloths have been spread across the premises with different variety of food on it, children are the first to sit around these whether they are fasting or not.

People have made Ramadan all about food neglecting the actual message of this holy month says, Muhammad Umar, “It has been my habit since childhood to pray Asr and Maghrib at Jama Masjid during the holy month of Ramadan. After the asr prayers are over, I start reciting the Quran till the time of iftar. In between, I offer nafal prayers and make a lot of supplication for my family, friends and Muslim world. The level of spirituality I find here particularly during this month is totally different, from this year I have brought my son along so he can also inculcate this habit of coming to masjid”

A scene before the iftar inside Jama Masjid. People are waiting for the time to break fast of the day.

Finally, with the bursting of high-intensity firecracker people start to break their 15 hours long fast. Bursting of firecracker has been a tradition to let people know that its time for iftar.

Preparations in full swing before the iftar at Jamia Masjid Delhi.

As soon as maghrib prayers over people can be seen moving back towards their home while some decide to stay back till Isha prayers.

This man has been serving people iftar for last twelve years at Jama Masjid.

As for 34-year-old Nizamudin the priority is totally different. “After the maghrib prayers are over I straight away look for shop to purchase a cigarette. If I won’t have a cigarette soon after the iftar, I feel intensive carving inside my body,” says Nizamudin with a cigarette in his mouth while others love to chew paan (betel leaf) as both the things are prohibited during the fasting.

The iftar feast is incomplete without kebabs. Kababs are being prepared at a shop near Jama Masjid.

People can be seen making way through the jampacked lanes around the Jama Masjid. I saw two elderly men are sipping tea at the stairs of a shop. ‘’We two have been friends since grade 7th and it’s our routine to have tea after the maghrib and remember our old days of youth said one with a smile on his face.

Elderly men having tea at a roadside tea stall outside Jama Masjid after maghrib prayers.


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