Syed Muthahar Saqaf
TIRUCHI: When the exact time arrives for breaking the day long fast (Roza), Muslims all over the world, before consuming some food or water for the first time in the day since dawn, recite the Arabic verse which gives the following meaning:
‘God, I have fasted for your sake. I believe in you. I break my fast with the food provided by you. Please accept the same.’
The ‘gruel’ (nonbu kanji) made with the ingredients of rice, coconut, dhal, coriander and some times with mutton too, has a special place in the Iftar parties.
Nonbu Kanji is synonymous with Ramzan fasting. The rich and the poor break the fast only with this gruel, which is prepared in every mosque and household during the fasting days. One must not miss out the ‘kanji’, which will help digestion and avoid flatulence, says Moulvi M. Abdur Raheem Manbayee, Pesh Imam, Salahiya Mosque, Tiruchi city.
The body’s immediate need at Iftar (the food eaten after sunset to break fast) is to get an easily available energy source.
With dates and fruit juices as starters, along with vegetable and mutton samosas, vadai, cutlet, sweet rice, phirni (rice pudding) as eats, the fast-breaking takes place.
Though Nonbu Kanji is served only during the sun set, the preparations start right from the morning itself.
“We have to commence our work by 9 a.m. itself so that the kanji is ready by evening”, says Akbar, a specialist in making the gruel.
The occasion paves way for communal harmony, as members of all religious communities too join in the celebrations seeking God’s blessings.
Not only the Muslims pay for the preparation of the Nonbu Kanji in the mosques, in many places, the Hindus also extend assistance in every way possible for the same, thus setting a worthy example for every one to emulate.
Particularly in rural areas, the Hindus come forward to provide rice, ghee, coconuts, dhal, other groceries and even the firewood used in cooking the gruel, on their own in turn basis during the whole month.
The Hindus feel it an honour to feed the Muslims when they break the fast and are of the view that this noble act will bring them prosperity.
“It is a great gesture on the part of the Hindus to volunteer themselves in sponsoring the ingredients for the preparation of Nonbu Kanji. The Muslims too accept their gesture with both hands. Such acts have paved way for everlasting communal harmony and camaraderie among all sections of the society in the rural areas”, says Like Ali, a native of Kalakkad in Tirunelveli district and now settled down in Tiruchi city.
Apart from the fasting Muslims, many Hindus living in the Muslim localities and in the colonies surrounding the mosques too enjoy the Nonbu Kanji everyday.
“We never missed Nonbu Kanji for the past many years.
“We get Nonbu Kanji every evening without fail from our neighbours. It used to be very tasty and helps digestion", observes M. Thulasi, a 60-year-old housewife of Sundararaj Nagar in Tiruchi city.