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Insights

Purification of the Body and Soul, 

 

Part I

 

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that Ramadan isn’t all about Iftar, Suhoor and the food we consume during those times. I mean, who doesn’t get so excited about breaking their fast with sambusa, bhajia, kaimati, katlesi, kababu, and all the other fried foods? I know I do.

 

Women mostly talk about the kinds of foods they will be making for their families and men talk about the kinds of foods that their mothers, sisters and wives will be preparing.

 

Normally, we do not go out of our way to make such dishes at home unless there is a special occasion and Ramadan is such an occasion. That is part of what makes Ramadan so special.

 

Yet amidst all the excitement, it’s important to step back and reflect on the significance of the holy month. I was researching various hadiths that I could use to further elaborate my point and I came the following claim on a Yahoo forum:

 

“And look at the Muslims today, with their big lavish banquets for Iftar all the time. It’s okay on occasion[s] when guests are coming over, but [keeping it] simple is best in our religion. We are really supposed to dedicate most of our time to doing acts of worship during Ramadan— not slaving over a hot stove, or obsessing about what gourmet meal we'll create,  astaghfirullah!''

 

This holds true for a lot of us. We eat so much that we find it hard to go for Taraweh prayers and to finish reading the Qur’an.

 

Some of us women spend so much time finding recipes and cooking the best meals for Iftar that our whole days end up wasted. As a result, we have no time to open and read the book of Allah (SWT).

 

And then there are those of us who work full-time. When we get home after a long work day, some of us have the additional responsibilities of taking care of our families and end up not going to Taraweh because we are fatigued. So we only go during the weekends because it is convenient and because we are not so tired.

 

But, are we so sure that Allah (SWT) will give us that chance to wake up the next weekend for ibadah? We only have the last third left now so we should prioritize this Ramadan and manage our time wisely.  

 

And in regards to our eating habits, here’s a recommendation on how to portion the food on our plates: a half should be dedicated to vegetables and fruits, a quarter for starches such as bread, and a quarter should be for meat and other proteins. To make it healthier, it’s best to avoid eating fried foods often. We should avoid foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats e.t.c.

 

Exercise is also recommended if possible. Taraweh is a good form of exercise and praying all those hours won’t just get you ajar from Allah (SWT); it  will also help with digestion.

 

Personally, before Iftar or Suhoor, I drink milk and follow the Sunnah as narrated by Anas ibn  Malik: “The Apostle of Allah (PBUH) used to break his fast before praying with some fresh dates; but if there were no fresh dates, he had a few dry dates, and if there were no dry dates, he took some mouthfuls of water.”


 

For more tips on how to stay healthy this Ramadan and beyond, I welcome any questions and/or comments below. I am not an expert but a young Muslimah who is passionate about food and who is trying her best to eat and stay healthy.


 

Let us try to make the most of the last third of this Ramadan, inshallah.


 

photo credit: Ranoush. via photopin cc

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