One of the most eye-catching sights in Ramadan are “Mawa’ed Al-Rahman”, which literally translates to Tables of the Merciful (God). Passing through almost every neighbourhood in Egypt, by the time the Maghrib (sunset) prayers is called, it is difficult to miss the long, stacked tables of food and drink, which often stretch the entire length of a street.
Mawa’ed Al-Rahman are one of the distinguishing aspects of Ramadan in Egypt and are heavily dispersed across the country, with the aim of not leaving a single person, no matter their religion or background, hungry by the time Muslims break their fast.
The meals are prepared by the hands of hundreds of volunteers who spend their day preparing different types of food to serve any passer-by who would like to join them at their iftar for free.
Believing that the month of generosity includes offering food to any person in need, Mawa’ed Al-Rahman are organised daily for the whole month.
The tables are usually filled with different types of juices, food, and water.
Some of the districts allocate certain streets to be closed, with the acceptance of the residents, to turn into one huge table that serves every passer-by.
In the past, Mawa’ed Al-Rahman used to be organised with the help of districts’ residents. With each house serving some of the food the family would eat that day, the neighbourhood ends up with one giant table that serves various types of food.
Photos taken by Mahmoud Fekry in Cairo and Ahmed Mostafa in Assiut