Thousands gather for Ramadan activities in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque General July 28, 20120 Abu Dhabi: The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the country’s largest mosque, situated in Abu Dhabi has received over 170 thousand fasters in the first week of Ramadan. Specialized air-conditioned tents have been set up for the Holy Month to accommodate the thousands for daily fasters. As the sun sets during the Holy month of Ramadan, worshippers and fasters gather to hear the call to prayer (adhan) which signifies their fasting has come to an end for the day. It is a time to gather in prayer and to share an Iftar meal with fellow fasters. This Ramadan also, Iftar program has been offered by the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in prayer for the UAE’s founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 2004. This charitable initiative also respects Sheikh Zayed’s legacy and demonstrates Abu Dhabi government’s commitment to helping the needy, whether residing in the country or elsewhere in the world. Iftar literally means break-fast’ and fasters will usually break their fast with water and dates first and follow with a balanced nutritious meal after praying the sunset maghreb’ prayer. The Armed Forces Officers Club in Abu Dhabi prepares and delivers around 20 thousand complete Iftar meal packages to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. A team of around 300 people organise, distribute and supervise the meal distribution into the Ramadan tents. Tents are situated in the lower gardens of the mosque and accommodate around 1500 people in each tent. There are even separate tents for women and children. The SZGMC took over the management of this important project in 2008, and it continues until today. In order to professionally manage such a large daily operation, the SZGMC cooperates with several entities. The traffic, health and safety, transportation and waste management are all key elements to the program’s success. Under the management of the SZGMC, a committee of members from Ministry of the Interior, Department of Civil Defence, Abu Dhabi Police, Department of Transport, Red Crescent Authority, General Command of the Armed Forces, Waste Management and Special Task Department Abu Dhabi. As the light from the night sky disappears and the evening prayer of Al-Isha draws near, worshippers arrive at the mosque to offer their Taraweeh’ prayers, which are performed directly after the ‘Isha’ prayers. This is the largest gathering of worshippers on a daily basis and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has received approximately about 100 thousand worshippers since the beginning of Ramadan. Throughout the month, the prayers are led by various well known imams (prayer leaders) and the first ten days Sheikh Mishary Alafasi is scheduled. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque receives a large number of worshippers from all over Abu Dhabi and the UAE. A magnificently designed Islamic structure, the ambiance of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque provides worshippers with a deep sense of tranquillity, serenity and meditation which is important in the practice of worship. The SZGMC, under the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, is sponsored and monitored by HH Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and was established to be the centre of the cultural and intellectual movement focused around the Mosque. Its vision and mission was created from the cultural and national values preserved and nurtured by the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. These cultural values are still deeply-rooted in the consciousness of the people and are an extension of the national identity inspired by the teachings of the Nation’s religion.