Baltimore Jamaat organized its annual cookout on Sunday May 4th and it turned out to be just a beautiful day.
The organizing team came in early. By early afternoon, as the members began tricking in, the grills were sizzling. It didn’t take long for Atfal and khuddam – ok, some Ansar were among the players too – to start playing football in the large field right behind the pavilion. By 3 pm, the pavilion at the Hunt Valley Park – which the community had rented – was nearly full with people. The Kababs were spicy and the conversations were sweet. Over 50 brothers and sisters joined from neighboring Jamaats of Harrisburg, Silver Spring, Laurel and Potomac.
It took nearly 200 people over two hours (from 3-5 pm) to savor loads of BBQ. Nasir and Sabiha Jamil marinated over 50 lbs of ground beef, 40lbs of boneless chicken skewers and30 lbs of Bihari Kabab. They also shopped for the countless cantaloupes, strawberry boxes and watermelons that were later cut by Sarah Waqar, Rani Khan, Jennifer Bashir and Sabiha Jamil. JazakAllah to Aziz Hamid for bringing a large professional grill from York. Amir Waqar and Naeem Ahmad helped with marinating the bone in chicken, drinks and cooking. Inayat Khan looked after the tea arrangements and supplies and Basit Khan’s family brought the coolers. Plenty of salads and condiments were available. Once burgers, hot dogs, kababs, and Biharee Kababs were dealt with, it was time for ice cream and Baklava. At the same time, the temperatures dipped into the 60s (at times feeling like the 50s), which made the hot tea more enjoyable than ever. Somewhere in the background of all this food and hot beverages, the football continued to float and the conversations continued to flow.
Around 5:20 pm Sajeel Khan rocked the Oregon Ridge Park, nestled in green pastures and trails, with a call to prayers and at 5:30pm, approximately 100 people offered their Zuhr and Asr prayers. After the prayers, despite the fact that many of us didn’t want to, the cookout went into a wind down mode. As brothers and sisters helped with clean up, they also gathered for last minute chit chat.
By 7 pm, many were leaving the Park, munching on different thoughts. “This was so good” a non-Ahmadi Muslim guest said, “The people are just so friendly.” “We should have this cookout every quarter” said another member. “Baltimore has taken the game to a whole new level. It’s a great idea” said another. And then this text message came from one of the attendees, “Just thanked Allah for all (of) today’s blessings – He bestows so much on us. All the barbecue food, the juicy fruits, the ability to play and run and be among so many great people…” But if you were to sum up all the sentiments in one word, it would be undoubtedly “Alhamdulillah – all praise belongs to Allah.”
We thank the nearly 200 Ahmadi Muslims who joined us for an unforgettable experience. Alright, enough with the food. Now let’s start gearing up for an even more enjoyable Ramadan!
We invite you to share your thoughts about the cookout in the comments section below.