What’s for Iftar

Thursday, 9th day of Ramadan, Alhamdulillah, I just had a bowl of sweet corn salad with two slices of Oats bread for my Iftar. I had plans to go to my local mosque before Maghrib for supervised Quran recitation and break fast there before returning home. I was unable to make it today, so I had my Iftar at home. Yesterday, it was Rice with Chicken at the mosque and the previous day it was an array of food at an Iftar hosted by a family near the mosque. Ma sha Allah, the food on offer were so delicious and I most especially enjoyed the lentil soup. I have always enjoyed breaking fast lightly with soup and the best of the soups for me during Ramadan is Harirah.

In my culture we usually break fast lightly with what we call Ogi or Pap made from Corn starch, which bears similarity with Custard. Ogi is very light and filling, when you break fast with it, it fills you without the heavy feeling and it restore your sugar level to normal after the day’s fasting. You can go ahead and pray Isha and Tarawih without any discomfort from over filling yourself, Ogi digests quickly especially for people with fast metabolism. Once Tarawih is out of the way, most people would have digested their Ogi for more space for the next meal on the menu, if they so wish. Personally, I will not go for any more meal after Tarawih, unless I am very hungry or just feeling a bit greedy for more.

Alhamdulillah, so far Ramadan has been going on well, though I must confess it’s much harder than I can remember. What makes my Ramadan hard this year is not because it’s difficult to fast; it is what I had to do during fasting. The past 12 years had seen me through fasting having only been responsible for myself, which means, cooking was not something I must do and most especially I do not enjoy cooking. So, during Ramadan I feel librated from cooking. Yes, I feel librated because I do not have to cook.

My Sahur is usually two cups of water and if I feel hungry I eat a banana or two blocks of weetabix with Soya milk. I find it very hard to down food so early in the morning, if I do sometimes, I may spend the rest of the day with a very painful ache in the tummy. I will usually leave my first meal of the day to early afternoon by which time I am really hungry and food can settle in my tummy without causing me pain. Since I cannot do this during Ramadan, I do manage to get something down my tummy hoping it will be ok and most of the time it has been, especially water.

To break fast, since I am librated from cooking, I go to the Regent’s park mosque, Ma sha Allah. May Allah (swt) reward them abundantly for the wonderful Iftar they have been providing all these years. I have never had to worry about cooking during Ramadan, it’s either at the mosque or at a friend’s and if I had to cook its just something simple and straight forward like a stir-fry or soup.

But for this Ramadan, the first of it in my memory, I am cooking, not just cooking for myself but for 5 others and more when guests are invited. It’s very hard and tiring, not just the cooking but the other things I had to do all by myself in addition. I thought during Ramadan, there is going to be a let off but it’s even more than I imagined. For all the Housewives out there, I feel for you, just imagine having to do this all year round, churning out feast for people all by yourself in addition to all the household chores. Alhamdulillah, I am not married and if I ever get married, my marriage contract will feature a no feasting Ramadan.

When I was designing my Ramadan greeting card, I had it in mind to remind people that Ramadan is not about feasting but fasting. So we shouldn’t have to spend the whole of Ramadan cooking instead of spending the time to ensure full benefit of the Month. There was a beautiful writing titled “Turn off the Stove!” from Sound Vision that I forwarded to all my contacts too. Alhamdulillah, I got 2 days without cooking so far and I hope I can have more of such days.

Ma sha Allah, there is a lot of blessings and rewards for feeding the fasting people, so cooking is not such a bad thing, else how do you get the blessings if you don’t feed the people and how would you feed people if you do not cook? So, when I am cooking and doing all I have to do, despite the fact that it’s so hard, very tiring and I had to do it all by myself, I think of the brighter side with patience and endurance hoping for the reward that comes with this hardship from Allah(swt). With that said, I am looking forward to cooking the next Iftar, the last one was a delicious Shepherd’s pie, sprout, chick pea and loads of fruit salad, Wow, that sounds English! Yes, it is and the feedback was brilliant! I am not such a bad cook after all, I just don’t enjoy cooking but if I have to, I guess I will make a good job of it.

May Allah grant us all the rewards of this Ramadan and make us witness it to the end in good health and greater Iman.