Bismillah. I have just returned from a brief visit to Israel & the West Bank. The visit was the first half of the excellent Study Tour organised by FODIP UK (www.fodip.org) with Mejdi Tours of Jerusalem. More on that later, but here is a short extract from a 2013 publication by the White Mosque, Nazareth (al-Jami’ al-Abyad, al-Nasirah), that we came across during our travels:
It is said that the Emir Ahmad bin Tulun, founder of the Tulunid state in Egypt, initiated the Dining-Spread of the Merciful (Ma’idat al-Rahman) in Egypt during the fourth year of his reign. He invited leaders, merchants and notables to an iftar party during the first days of Ramadan and addressed them thus:
“The only reason I have gathered you here is to teach you how to be kind to people. I know that you do not need the food and drink that I have prepared for you, but I find that you have forgotten your duty of kindness during Ramadan. Thus, I command you to open up your houses, extend your dining-spreads and stock these with your favourite foods so that deprived poor people may also taste them, throughout Ramadan.”
Others say that the Fatimid Caliph al-Mu’izz
Li Dinilllah was the initiator of charitable banquets: he established a daily Ramadan dining-spread for the congregation of the ‘Amr bin ‘As Mosque to break their fasts: 1100 pots of different foods would be sent from his palace daily to be distributed amongst the poor.
(From Jami’una al-Abyad or Our White Mosque, Nazareth, 2013)
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