By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric S. Garst, Naval Support Activity Bahrain Public Affairs
MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain's Muslim chaplain hosted the second annual Ramadan Iftar with guest speaker Sheikh Sultan Bilal, June 6.
NSA Bahrain Commanding Officer, Capt. Cory Howes and 86 other guests gathered to learn about the merits and virtues of Ramadan and to observe the breaking of the fast.
"Fasting... is one of the five pillars of Islam," said Bilal. "Our body is composed and consists of three elements: the physical part, the spiritual part and the mental part, so you have to fast physically, spiritually and mentally."
The event was organized by Chaplain Haneef Mubarak, one of only two Muslim chaplains in the U.S. Navy. It began with the introduction of Bilal as a religious and community leader who is also involved with several Islamic cultural centers in Bahrain, appears on television in the region, and has lectured throughout the world.
"No one can tell if you are fasting... it is something between you and your Creator," said Bilal. "You are doing it out of obedience, total submission to your creator so that you are subservient to the creator, it creates a nearness to the Creator."
Bilal also shared that the Al Fateh Grand Mosque would be open to the public for Eid events in the two days following Eid al-Fitr, which is the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.
Just after the day's fast was broken with dates and water the Athan (call to prayer) was performed before Bilal lead the Maghrib Salah, or after sunset prayer.
During Ramadan, Iftar is the meal that breaks the fast after sundown. It is a time of family and fellowship, and people from all backgrounds to gather for a generous meal. Those who partook were treated to a variety of culinary delights including a traditional Arabic dish called Hareesa.
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For more news from Naval Support Activity Bahrain, visit www.navy.mil/local/nsabahrain/.