During the holy month of Ramadan the Qatar-America Institute will be hosting a weekly iftar in celebration and in reverence of the holiday. These iftars will also serve as educational opportunities for those not familiar with the traditions of Ramadan – or Islam in general – to witness them in an open and educational setting.

Iftar, meaning “breaking the fast” in Arabic, is the meal eaten at sundown during Ramadan. Iftar is one of the religious observances of Ramadan and is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is taken right after Maghrib (the fourth of five daily prayers), which is around sunset. Traditionally, the fast is broken with dates before prayer, after which the main meal of salads, appetizers, desserts and juices is served.

During Ramadan, QAI will be hosting a weekly iftar, each with a unique theme encompassing heritage, tradition, and community. QAI invites you to partake in these iftars to learn more about the traditions of Ramadan, Islam in America and around the world.


These iftars are made possible thanks to our sponsor:


2018 Iftar Schedule


Islam & Family Traditions

June 4, 2018 (Monday), 7:30PM – 9PM


This is an iftar of traditions and heritage in which it focuses on the role of Islam in the family, such as the dynamics between family members, especially in regards to women and children. This night also highlights ADAMS Center’s young American Muslim choir (ADAMS Beat) and a traditional Qatari celebration for children celebrated in Ramadan called “garangao.”

Sunset is at 8:30pm.

Key speaker(s):

From the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center Hurunnessa Fariad, Outreach Coordinator (ADAMS Center) & Abidah Ali (Youth Coordinator, ADAMS Center)

Featured activity: 

ADAMS Center young American Muslim choir (ADAMS Beat) and “Islam in America” photo gallery


Special thanks to the Qatar Cultural Attaché’s Office for their support with this Iftar.


**We would like to extend a special thank you to Imam Yahya Hendi, for providing the Qatar-America Institute with prayer mats**


Islam, Culture & Arts

June 12, 2018 (Tuesday), 7:30PM – 9PM


This is QAI’s last iftar of Ramadan which will not only feature Iftar and Ramadan rituals but also will celebrate traditions of Muslim holidays and Eid Al-Fitr, the closing event of Ramadan. This is also the last day for “Islam in America” photo gallery.

Sunset is at 8:34pm.

Key speaker(s):

Imam Yahya Hendi 

Featured activity: 

Live and interactive Islamic calligraphy, live Oud music performance, Henna art, traditional Qatari clothing photo-op, and “Islam in America” photo gallery




Special thanks to the Qatar Cultural Attaché’s Office  for their support with this Iftar.



**We would like to extend a special thank you to Imam Yahya Hendi, for providing the Qatar-America Institute with prayer mats**

Past Iftars


Islam, Ramadan & America 


Islam & the World Religions


Overall schedule/timeline:

7:30-8pm – 30 mins pre-event arrival (meet & greet) and screening of videos
8-8:30pm – program of the evening (speeches, interfaith dialogue, entertainment) including guest Q&A with speakers and partners. To be followed by ‘optional’ worship time.
8:30-9pm – Iftar time



What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Muslim calendar and the holiest month in Islam. It is obligatory for all able-bodied Muslims to fast (sawm in Arabic) during this month. It is observed globally by Muslims as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to the prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Muslims observe this holy month by fasting (refraining from consuming any liquid, food, smoking, or some other activities) from sunrise to sunset. Muslims should also engage in providing charity and alms (zakat and sadaqah in Arabic) to those less fortunate.


How do Muslims observe Ramadan? 

Muslims observe Ramadan in several key ways. All Muslims attempt to give up bad habits and fast during this month. The start of the fast observed before dawn is called the “suhoor” and the breaking of the fast, after sunset, is called the “iftar”.

It is also expected that all Muslims read the Islamic holy book, The Qur’an, in order to come closer to the word of God (in Islam, Qur’anic text was handed down from God to the archangel Gabriel, who revealed the text to the prophet Muhammad (PBUH)).

Muslims also attend mosque prayers held after the breaking of the fast known as “Taraweeh”, in which “Surah’s” (chapters) from the Qur’an are recited over the month.


Why does the month of Ramadan change every year?

In Islam, Muslims adhere to a lunar calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar used in the West. The Islamic Calendar, also known as the Hijri Calendar, consists of 12 months but only 354-355 days. The calendar was established in 622 A.H.

Due to the difference between a lunar calendar and a solar calendar, the month of Ramadan drifts 11 days, each year. That is why Ramadan moves on an annual basis and does not have a set month in comparison to similar Abrahamic religions observed in the West.



The end of Ramadan is celebrated by commemorating the day of Eid. The day can be translated as “the festival of breaking the fast”. The celebration not only celebrates the end of fasting but also indicates Muslims’ gratitude to God in providing them the strength to practice self-control.

The festival occurs when the new crescent moon is sighted in the sky, marking the end of the month of Ramadan.

At Eid, it is also obligatory to give a set amount of your income to charity so that it could be used by the less fortunate to buy new clothes, food, and other provisions that would allow them to take part in the festivities.