By Noor Mastura | SINGAPORE | OPINION
Context: My girlfriend (a Sikh) organised an iftar cum Langar for 100 Muslim migrant workers in Gurudwara Sahib Katong – a Sikh temple.
1. Langar is the term used in Sikhism for the community kitchen in a Gurdwara where a free meal is served to all the visitors, without distinction of religion, caste, gender, economic status or ethnicity. The free meal is always vegetarian.
2. The Sikhs wanted to make sure everything was perfect for the Muslims.
They cooked all the meals, made chapattis fresh because most migrant workers eat rice, bought dates, made desserts, prepared the seating arrangements and ensured there were enough volunteers to serve the food at the same time so every person who broke his fast would be eating a nice and hot meal.
3. The Sikhs did it with pure joy and sincerity.
It wasn’t easy work. I helped out in the chapatti corner – turning it back and forth and I was practically dying. Sweat was trickling from my neck and all the way to my ankles. I looked at my fellow Sikhs around me – and they too were heavily perspiring while flipping the dough but they continued with smiles on their face.
4. The Sikhs were more concerned that the Muslims broke their fast in time even if it meant playing the Azan in the temple.
When the workers finally arrived, everyone was served within minutes. My girlfriend who organised the Langar brought speakers and at 7.14pm – the prayer call of Muslims around the world, rang loud and clear in a Sikh temple in Singapore.
5. The Sikhs honoured their Muslim brothers.
After eating, the workers immediately organised themselves and wanted to pray.
I don’t know if they asked the temple management for permission because it certainly wasn’t in the plan my girlfriend had.
So I went up to one of the ICs and wanted to make sure they were not uncomfortable with the Muslims praying there – and he simply brushed it off and said not at all.
By then, the workers were already starting the Maghrib prayer. At this point, all the Sikhs stood up – and stood still.
And the most amazing bit? They didn’t move until the prayer was over to respect and honour it.
I would love to insert my opinion of how I think my religious community can learn from them. But right now, I am just going to end this post here so we can all take a moment to absorb how beautiful, open, compassionate and loving our Singaporean Sikhs are.
The article is extracted from the author’s Facebook entry. Noor Mastura is a founder of Interfaith Youth Circle, a Muslim-initiated effort aiming to explore high-quality engagements and create a safe space for challenging and controversial issues amongst Muslims (intrafaith) and between other faith and non-faith communities (interfaith)
Christians and Sikhs offer iftar to Muslim faithful in Lahore (Asia Samachar, 4 June 2018)
Singapore interfaith buka puasa by kidney support group (Asia Samachar, 9 June 2016)