Ramadan is that time of the year that all Muslims look forward to all year round. But as soon as it approaches, we start panicking. We panic about not preparing the food on time. We panic about not getting the house clean on time. But most importantly we panic to get our work done before Ramadan so that we can focus on our Ibadah (or maybe sleep a little longer).
Two of the most memorable times of Ramadan for me is getting ready for Iftaar and leaving for the masjid. Both involve family getting together to pray, feast and then pray some more. But most often than not, we get so caught up in preparing the food influx for breaking our fasts that we forgo the most crucial time of the day; the time when our prayers are never rejected: Iftaar.
So how do you make the most of that Iftaar time so that our energy is directed more towards supplication instead of preparing the Ramadan feast?
Get everything ready before hand:
This may sound like a very trivial thing but makes all the difference. The south-Asian culture, especially Pakistani, is such that fried food basically becomes a necessity. Prep your food before Ramadan starts and freeze it in batches. This way, you are not going into the kitchen an hour before breaking the fast and exhausting yourself making food. But if you are the kind of person who likes preparing fresh food, then making it during the day makes it so much easier. All you will have to do is, get the food heated for breaking the fast and you can focus more on your prayers.
Keep the spread simple and minimal.
Everyone has different traditions when it comes to breaking your fast. For me and our family we go all out on our feasts. A huge spread is laid out during iftaar time. But over the years, after getting married, piling on weight and also having less time to focus on praying, I have come to the realisation that less is better. Breaking the fast with a few dates and water is not just stress free but also a major Sunnah. Praying on a full stomach is not only uncomfortable but also makes you really lazy and often times, you tend to skip your namaz.
Have your dua material ready.
This is something that I have learned from my mother. She used to sit down on the table with her dua books and just focus on the supplication. Whereas, us sisters were all over the place and just supplicating for whatever came to our mind. I have now printed out dua cards for before breaking the fast and it makes my time so so much easier and also makes me focus more.
Get everyone involved.
Most often than not, it is the women of the house who are usually slaving with their kitchen duties and making sure that everything is ready for the Iftaar table. Allocating chores to family members makes it a lot easier for everyone and this way, all the members of the family get considerable time to pray and supplicate. Children as young as 7 can be allocated chores. Setting up the table, adding dates to everyone’s plates, so on and so forth. While the older children can help the parents fix up the dishes in the kitchen for Iftaar. Not only does that teach them responsibility but coming together and working as a family unit brings everyone more closer and takes the burden off from one single family member.
Fasting is one of the five pillars of our beautiful deen. And we as Muslims are blessed with this month to focus on ourselves to not just become better human beings but also focus on bettering our lifestyle. So instead of putting all our time and energy on feeding ourselves food for those few ours, let’s focus on feeding ourselves the nutrients and the blessings bestowed upon us by our Creator.