Kazan iftar 2017: ''VIPs'' in the first row, tonnes of pilaf and namaz on running track

The mass breaking fast in 2018 will also take place in the Tennis Academy

Kazan iftar 2017: ''VIPs'' in the first row, tonnes of pilaf and namaz on running track Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

More than three tonnes of pilaf, the same amount of vegetables, a tonne of sausages and half a tonne of sweets they ate in the evening of 15 June in the Kazan Tennis Academy. On the eve of the event, the stadium turned into a big mosque, and its rooms – into a dining room. It was the place where the 5th Republican iftar took place. The evening of breaking fast was visited by the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya.

''We do not chase igh-sounding titles''

This iftar can be called republican only conditionally. There were presented not only all districts of Tatarstan but also guests from many regions of Russia, so it can claim to be federal. Besides, there were natives of near and far abroad.

''We do not chase high-sounding titles,'' modestly said president of the Association of Muslims Entrepreneurs (APM) of Russia Aydar Shagimardanov. ''We strive for the sake of Allah to feed so many people, to organize cultural programme.''

The head of APM said the iftar is held at this site for the first time, so he was worried a little how it would go. Meanwhile, he refused to announce the amount of money spent on the collective breaking fast. According to him, the organizers (APM, MSB RT and the Directorate of the stadium Kazan Arena) will not disclose the financial component of the event anymore. However, earlier the mufti of Tatarstan Kamil Samigullin stated that the cost of each portion alone cost about 500 rubles per person.

At last year's iftar it was spent 10 million rubles.

The iftar is held on this site for the first time

From namaz to iftar

Closer to the evening prayer (aksham/Maghrib prayer) Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov and State Counsellor of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev came to the stadium. They were accompanied by aide to RT President Kamil Iskhakov, Chief of Staff of Tatarstan President Asgat Safarov, Chairman of the Muslim Spiritual Board of Tatarstan Kamil Samigullin, his deputies Mansur Dzhalyaletdin and Rustem Valiullin. Also at the event there were Mayor of Kazan Ilsur Metshin, Consul General of Turkey in Kazan Turhan Dilmaç and others. They all sat in specially designated areas in the first row.

At sunset there sounded the call to prayer (adhan). Everyone took a drink of water. Half-liter bottle were in advance distributed from a separate booth near the building of the Academy. The lawn area was not enough for everyone, and many had to pray on the running track surrounding the field. Some believers prudently brought with them mats (namazlyk) that spread in front of themselves.

After the prayer, all went for dinner. First came ''VIPs'', and behind them there was a huge 10-thousand crowd following them. However, no one trampled someone. The police could not control the flow. Volunteers were lost when they were asked about the venue of the iftar.

Tatarstan peculiarities

Breaking fast was held in the Tennis Academy. As it has been stated earlier, to share a meal with the Muslims here came Metropolitan Feofan, with pleasure eating the pilaf, and Rabbi Yitzhak Gorelik, who ate only fruits. As Samigullin emphasized later, the presence of the abbots of the Orthodox and Jewish communities in the Republic is the highlight that is unique to Tatarstan.

The cooks were provided by the restaurant complex Tugan Avylym

Tables for men and women were separated. Also in separate rooms there were journalists and volunteers. As the organizers assured, they products were the same on all tables.

As it turned out, the cooks were provided by the restaurant complex Tugan Avylym. They prepared 3 tonnes of pilaf, cut 3 tonnes of vegetables and fruits, 1 tonne of sausages. Also on the tables there were 800 kg of dried fruits (dates, raisins and dried apricots), 400 kg of candy and 10,000 Chuck-Chuck bars.

The president was satisfied

''This iftar is the reason for uniting the hearts of the Muslims,'' stressed in an interview with the reporters Kamil Samigullin after the event.

According to the head of MSB RT, around iftar there was a great excitement. Many believers expressed a desire to visit it, but it was impossible to accommodate more than 10,000 people. Shagimardanov added that it was prepared an additional 1,000 lunch boxes for those who stayed outside the territory of the Tennis Academy.

''The president thanked for the iftar, he said that it has been conducted well,'' said Kamil khazrat. He noted that next year there will be the World Cup, so we'll have to hold iftar here again.

On the question of Realnoe Vremya whether the organizers noticed some flaws, the mufti replied that he saw only advantages.

''If only journalists did not see cons,'' he joked.

Thousands of residents from the neighbouring regions who were brought here by bus attended the mass breaking fast. Some of the cars on the way back went to the mosque Yardem. In the two Ramadan tents installed at the Muslim temple, they made a suhoor (pre-dawn meal). As earlier our correspondent was told by Imam-Khatib of the mosque Ildar Bayazitov, in recent years it has become a kind of tradition among non-resident believers coming to the republican iftar: upon returning home they go to Yardem for suhoor and morning prayer (Sabah/Fajr prayer). Given this, the Muslim employees of the complex after the iftar, which daily feed 1,200 people, there is prepared food for suhoor per 1,000 people.

The organizers of the republican iftar managed to feed 10,000 people last year. This time, despite the more cramped conditions, they decided not to lower the bar.

The first republican iftar for a thousand people was held in 2011 in the Millennium square. In 2012, due to the murder of Muslim activist Valiulla Yakupov and the attempted assault on then mufti Ildus Fayzov they decided that it was inappropriate to conduct the festive meal. In 2013, Kazan was again not ready for a large-scale breaking fast: the city hosted the Universiade. From 2014 ''big iftar'' has been resumed — now on the football stadium. In 2014, on the same place, 2,500 people were breaking fast. In 2015, according to various estimates, from 5 to 7 thousand people. This year in connection with carrying out of football matches of the Confederations Cup the iftar was relocated to the territory of the Kazan Tennis Academy.

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By Timur Rakhmatullin. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov. Video: Kamil Ismailov