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Nur ar-Ramadan

Free Iftar Banquets on Egyptian Roads

Free Iftar Banquets on Egyptian Roads


By Wesam Al-Dowaik, IOL Correspondent


Minutes before the call for Maghreb prayer resonates, many Egyptians roam the streets carrying dates and juice, offering them to fellow Muslims who could not make it home for the fast breaking meal.

"People living in areas overlooking the main roads between Cairo and other governorates offer dates to the passengers and even invite them to iftar banquets," Shaaban Muawad, a cap driver, told

"They wave off the racing cars and offer dates and water to fellow Muslims who would not made it home until hours after the fast-breaking time."

Essam El-Mallah, another 35-year-old driver, said he always run into such volunteers.

"I rotate with my colleague working at such hours and we all meet such God-fearing and kind people who insist on offering us something to break the fast."

He continue: "I traveled to several countries but never seen the practice so prevailing except in Egypt."

Adel Salama, who works in a factory in Cairo, needs at least a one-hour drive every day to make it to his homes town in the Manoufia governorate, northwest of the capital.

"Earlier this Ramadan we were traveling on the highway and one man insisted to invite the 14 passengers of the microbus to an iftar banquet and absolutely refused to let us go without eating something to break the fast."

In addition to helping people in the streets break their fast, many well-off Egyptians prepare iftar meals for security guards and traffic soldiers who are on duty at the time of the fast-breaking.

Other peoples drive their fancy cars across the capital to distribute ready-made meals for the poor and needy in the streets.

Minutes before iftar time, the United Arab Emirates traffic police head for certain cross-roads known for their traffic jams, to distribute iftar meals to drivers in a bid to avoid high speed to catch iftar at home.