“The one who fasts has two moments of happiness: when he breaks his fast and when he meets his Lord.” – Prophet Muhammad
Iftaar, an Arabic word, means meal eaten by Muslims in the evening for breaking fast.
Iftar, for someone who is fasting, starts when the sun goes down; it marks the end of fasting for that day, according to Islamic injunction. Unfortunately, most Muslim families around the globe see this period as time to feast, so they overeat and care less about their eating habits, as they attempt to recover the food they missed during the day. Instead of using the month of Ramadan to cultivate healthy eating habit, some people end up losing it due to ignorance and archaic typological and unscientific misinformation trending in their societies.
Typically, it is essential to hydrate before eating. This could be done by drinking plenty of fluids such as water, freshly squeezed juice, or milk to prevent dehydration and provide our individual bodies with the relevant fluids they need. More so, a fasting person, following the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is expected to hasten to break the fast as soon as the sun sets. In Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadhrat Sahal (RA) narrates that the holy Prophet (SAW) said: “The people will remain prosperous so long as they hasten in breaking their fast (at the time of Iftaar).”
Let’s now briefly look into the key virtues of eating iftaar, especially during Ramadan.
Iftaar Promotes Generosity
Iftaar time promote generosity among the Ummah because people struggle to amass more reward from Allah by giving something to eat or drink to a fasting person. According to Ibn Majah, Hadhrat Umar (RA) narrates that the holy Prophet (SAW) said: “Not a single prayer made by a fasting person at the time of breaking fast (iftaar) is rejected.” A lot of Muslims therefore use this period to seek for forgiveness from Allah for sins they’ve consciously or unconsciously committed in the past, with the hope that Allah will answer their prayers and grant them forgiveness.
Iftaar promotes unity and humbleness
Records show that some of the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) used to give up their iftaar for others. For instance, it was reported that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them) used only to break his fast with orphans, the poor and the needy. Also, report also shows that some of these companions of the Prophet (PBUH), like al-Hasan and Ibn al-Mubaarak, used to offer food to their brothers whilst fasting, and they would sit and serve them. This act of kindness promotes unity among the Ummah, especially between the rich and the poor, and also makes the rich to submissive and down to earth.
Promotes Love and Friendship
The Islamic principle of spirit of sharing and providing providing food for people opens door for love and friendship towards those who are given the food, which ultimately paves way them to enter Paradise in the hereafter, as the Prophet (PBUH) said, as reported in Muslim 54: “You will not enter Paradise until you truly believe, and you will not truly believe until you love one another.”.
All in all, as Muslims fasting in the month of Ramadan, and even after, we should learn to cultivate good eating habits by ensuring that we follow the tradition of the Prophet (PBUH) such as braking fast with dates, drinking water or juice, incorporating high quality of protein, greening the iftaar, and avoiding overeating, food with high fat and sugar.