S’porean Sikhs prepare iftar for Muslim migrant workers & stand in solidarity during prayers

The breaking of fast and prayers by the Muslim migrant workers happened in a Sikh temple in Katong.

By Joshua Lee | 7 hours

Here’s a story that is testament to Singapore’s multi-religious society.

A June 13 Facebook post about interfaith solidarity is making the rounds online in Singapore this Ramadan.

The post is by Noor Mastura, who was helping her friend prepare a meal at a community kitchen at Gurdwara Sahib Katong, a Sikh temple in the Katong area.

Via katonggurdwara.com

Free meals for Muslim migrant workers

According to the post, Mastura’s Sikh friend was in charge of organising a langar, a community kitchen, where anyone regardless of race, religion or status can pop by for a free vegetarian meal.

As it is Ramadan, the temple decided to host an iftar (break fast) session for a group of 100 Muslim migrant workers simultaneously.

The Sikh temple volunteers made chapatis and desserts, bought dates, and planned a meticulous seating arrangement, as well as made sure that there were enough volunteers to serve the food.

Although it was hot preparing meals and the volunteers were perspiring profusely, they carried out their duties with smiles on their faces.

Mastura mentioned that the volunteers were more concerned with making sure the workers broke fast on time.

Break fast followed by prayers

When it came time to break fast at 7.14pm, the call to prayer was even played in the Sikh temple.

After eating, the workers immediately organised themselves as they wanted to pray.

The Sikh temple management allowed it without any hesitation.

And as the Muslim migrant workers were praying, the Sikh temple volunteers stood up and remained still for the entire duration of the prayer, in honour of the Muslim workers.

Sikh temple volunteers standing while the Muslim workers prayed. Via Facebook.

Here’s her Facebook post in full:

What a Muslim learnt last night from Singaporean Sikhs.

Context : I was helping my girlfriend (a Sikhi), who organised an iftar cum Langar for 100 Muslim migrant workers in Gurudwara Sahib Katong – a Sikh temple.

1. Langar is the term used in Sikhism for the community kitchen in a Gurdwara where a free meal is served to all the visitors, without distinction of religion, caste, gender, economic status or ethnicity. The free meal is always vegetarian.

2. The Sikhs wanted to make sure everything was perfect for the Muslims.

-They cooked all the meals, made chapattis fresh because most migrant workers eat rice, bought dates, made desserts, prepared the seating arrangements and ensured there were enough volunteers to serve the food at the same time so every person who broke his fast would be eating a nice and hot meal.

3. The Sikhs did it with pure joy and sincerity.

-It wasn’t easy work. I helped out in the chapatti corner – turning it back and forth and I was practically dying. Sweat was trickling from my neck and all the way to my ankles. I looked at my fellow Sikhs around me – and they too were heavily perspiring while flipping the dough but they continued with smiles on their face.

4. The Sikhs were more concerned that the Muslims broke their fast in time even if it meant playing the Azan in the temple.

– When the workers finally arrived, everyone was served within minutes. My girlfriend who organised the Langar brought speakers and at 7.14pm – the prayer call of Muslims around the world, rang loud and clear in a Sikh temple in Singapore.

5. The Sikhs honoured their Muslim brothers.

-After eating, the workers immediately organised themselves and wanted to pray. 
I don’t know if they asked the temple management for permission because it certainly wasn’t in the plan my girlfriend had.
So I went up to one of the ICs and wanted to make sure they were not uncomfortable with the Muslims praying there – and he simply brushed it off and said not at all.

By then, the workers were already starting the Maghrib prayer. At this point, all the Sikhs stood up – and stood still.
And the most amazing bit? They didn’t move until the prayer was over to respect and honour it. 😭

I would love to insert my opinion of how I think my religious community can learn from them. But right now, I am just going to end this post here so we can all take a moment to absorb how beautiful, open, compassionate and loving our Singaporean Sikhs are.


Top image via Facebook

About Joshua Lee

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