Kazan Iftar 2020 to gather 20k people at Ak Bars Arena

It is going to be the most massive collective meal in the new history of Tatarstan

Kazan, the founder of the republican iftars, will continue this glorious tradition this year. In the days of Ramadan, the main football stadium of Tatarstan will turn into a huge dastarkhan and mosque. Instead of fans, 20,000 fasting people will gather in the sports complex. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

To a new record

Kazan is aiming to break another record. In the days of Ramadan, 20,000 people will gather at Ak Bars Arena stadium for the 8th Republican Iftar. The press service of the Muslim Spiritual Board of the Republic of Tatarstan (MSB RT) told Realnoe Vremya about this.

The muftiate added that this year's event will be dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the TASSR. The Association of Muslim Entrepreneurs of Russia and the Directorate of Ak Bars Arena stadium are the organizers along with the MSB of the Republic of Tatarstan.

While the organizers are engaged in general issues for the mass breaking the fast. More intensive training will begin in the spring: site preparation, catering, steward work, cultural programme, etc.

The site chosen is Ak Bars Arena football stadium, which was known as Kazan Arena before rebranding. According to Realnoe Vremya, Kazan Expo IEC was also considered among the options for holding the iftar. However, due to the distance of the object from the city, additional organizational difficulties arise (first of all, with the delivery of thousands of people to the exhibition centre and back to the capital of Tatarstan). Therefore, it was decided to hold the collective meal in the usual place.

Last year, during the 7th Republican Iftar, the mufti of Tatarstan, Kamil Samigullin, told our correspondent that record setting is not the goal of the Mejlis. The main thing, according to him, is that at one dastarkhan and in one prayer, both old and young, the president and an ordinary student or worker gather.

How was it before?

In 2019, 15,000 Muslims gathered under the arches of the football stadium. In 2016-2018, we managed to feed 10,000 people, in 2015 — up to 7,000, and in 2014 — 2,500.

For the first time, the Republican Iftar for a thousand people was held in 2011 on Kazan Millennium Square. In 2012, due to the assassination of Muslim figure Valiulla Yakupov and the assassination attempt on the then mufti of the Republic of Tatarstan, Ildus Fayzov, it was considered inappropriate to hold a solemn meal. In 2013, the city was again not ready for a large-scale breaking the fast: Kazan was hosting the Universiade. Since 2014, regional-scale construction resumed — now at the football stadium. In 2017 and 2018, the meal venue temporarily moved to the Tennis Academy: Kazan Arena was preparing for the matches of the Confederations Cup and the World Cup.

Kamil khazrat said that every year it will be more difficult to hold a multi-thousand event since Ramadan comes earlier (10-11 days), and the days will be colder. In 2020, the Holy Muslim month will come with the sunset on April 23, and from the early morning of April 24, the believers will begin to fast, refusing to eat, drink, or intimacy during the daylight hours.

The Republican Iftar is traditionally attended by top officials of Tatarstan (Rustam Minnikhanov, Mintimer Shaimiev, Farid Mukhametshin, Ilsur Metshin), religious leaders of the republic and Russia (Muftis Kamil Samigullin, Talgat Tadzhuddin, Albir Krganov, Metropolitan Feofan, Rabbi Yitzhak Gorelik, etc.), foreign guests, children of orphanages, wards of rehabilitation centres and other social institutions.

Example to follow

For many years now, the organizers have kept the full cost of holding a multi-thousand-strong Mejlis a secret. However, it is known that each portion of food cost them about 500 rubles. The business boxes contain traditional pilaf, vegetable salads, dried fruits, sweets and meat cuts. Each fasting person is given a bottle of water for “avyz achu” (literally — “opening the mouth”, means the first sip after the day of fasting).

They also do not disclose the names of patrons who contributed money to this campaign. Benefactors prefer to receive a reward from Allah instead of human praise.

A good example turned out to be contagious. Last year, the Republican Iftar was held in Makhachkala, which was attended by the head of Dagestan, Vladimir Vasilyev. Similar events are now held in Magas (Ingushetia) and Grozny (Chechnya). Perhaps, the Russian record was set by Ramzan Kadyrov, who in 2016 organized a mass meal for 35,000 fasting people in the Chechen capital.

As Realnoe Vremya wrote, now they want to make their own republican iftar in Ufa. Mufti of Bashkiria Aynur Birgalin is still choosing sites and hopes for the support of the regional leadership and the business community.

By Timur Rakhmatullin