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Ramadan Special: The Great Prominence of Iftar

Samiah, X-B, Kuwait Indian School Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Ramadan Special: The Great Prominence of Iftar

As we already know, Ramadan, also spelled Ramazan, Ramzan, or Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community. For Muslims all around the globe, it is a time for piety and spirituality; an opportunity to get closer to God.

Iftar is an Arabic word, which means ‘to break’. In the Islamic context, it means breaking the fast and eating and drinking in the evening after the daylong fast. Iftar is not simply a matter of having dinner. It has great significance. It is the partaking of a combination of spiritual and physical food. This is the second meal of the day; the daily fast during Ramadan begins immediately after the pre-dawn meal of suhur and continues during the daylight hours, ending with sunset with the evening meal of iftar. Traditionally three dates are eaten to break the fast, in emulation of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), who broke his fast in this manner, but this is not mandatory. Many Muslims believe that feeding someone iftar as a form of charity is very rewarding and that such was practiced by Muhammad (PBUH).

Iftar is like dinner, but it is a dinner combined with a spiritual experience. It is like a compulsory form of training. When one experiences hunger in the daytime, one discovers the importance of food and water which give us energy. Indeed, one discovers the fact that one cannot live without food and water. And, after this experience, when a person takes food and water in the evening, he is filled with gratitude to Allah Almighty, who not only created him but also provided him with all the basic needs, essential for his continuing existence. Iftar, thus not only gives physical energy but also becomes a source of spiritual development.

Across different countries of the world, a wide variety of foods is prepared to break the fast at Maghrib time. In India, Muslims break their fasts with family and friends, and many Mosques arrange free 'iftar.' Preparations for iftar commence hours before, in homes and at roadside stalls. Iftar begins by eating dates or drinking water, but this is only the opening of a rich meal. The spread of 'iftar' can be grand, with both vegetarian to non-vegetarian dishes and a variety of juices and sherbets. Iftar is usually a heavy meal followed by a second, lighter dinner eaten before the night (isha) prayers and the Taraweeh prayers.

It is reported that the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) used to say at the time of iftar, ‘Thirst has been quenched, and hunger is no more, and, God willing, God will bless us with His reward.’ This shows that iftar invokes the spirit of prayer. It gives us an opportunity to say,

‘O God, I have fulfilled my duty and now I hope You will not deprive me of Your higher blessings.’

During the fast, the pangs of hunger and thirst make a man feel vulnerable and he turns towards God with renewed zeal. He cries out, ‘God, I have obeyed Your one command, there are many I could not. I kept one day’s fast, but I failed on several other occasions. I seek Your forgiveness and your special blessings.’

When a sincere prayer like this is uttered, God turns His special attention to it and the rewards are boundless. Man prays in this world and the reward is given in the world hereafter. But fasting is an exception for which a taste of the reward is given in this world itself. Iftar gives a glimpse of the boundless rewards that await man in the world hereafter.

As we welcome Ramadan this year, let’s keep the entire Muslim Ummah in our thoughts. There are many individuals in some parts of the world who will be fasting under the open skies with little personal belongings. Ramadan teaches us a great number of things; patience, piety and discipline are just a few to name. Muslims should strive to take advantage of the opportunity Ramadan brings.

I would like to conclude my article by greeting everyone a very peaceful and joyous Ramadan. May Almighty Allah fill all our lives with divine light of luck and joy. Ramadan Mubarak!

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Express your comment on this article

Irene Lobo
Sunday, April 10, 2022
Good Article

Reeba Renne
Sunday, April 10, 2022
Great read.

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