Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Iftar *






*{Iftar the time we break our fast}

There is a growing ease to fasting in our home, ironically, given that we are fasting in the summer months when fasting is at its very hardest. It is due, I think, to having children of an age where they can understand, join in, be less demanding than infants.

They understand that we can't take them out as much, do as much, be on the ball as much. They forgive our crabby pre-iftar sloth. They make allowances for us in so many ways. But more than that is their keenness to join in, be part of it, enjoy the fast so that they can celebrate in the meal of iftar. For they love iftar, these two boys of mine. They love it with a love that is infectious. They love the food after an afternoon of fasting, and the juice of course, but as they fill their tummies, and their brains and stomachs finally feel sweet relief, they chatter - none stop - about what they LOVE about this time most of all.

It turns out they love waiting for iftar doing dhikr with mama in the sitting room, breaking the fast and praying maghrib together. They love everyone sitting around the same table eating the same food. They love that best of all. I think they must feel the blessing in the meal. And it's true in hectic days when so many families miss out on an evening meal together, that this has a deep impact on family relations. For a meal eaten together binds like nothing else. Rifts can be mended, hurts can be soothed, bridges rebuilt. There is something so very powerful about eating around one table. It's one of the very few times that something subtle and nuanced, referred to as 'blessing' or 'barakah', can be almost touched on a tangible level. A meal with barakah has the same level of connection that you find in a place of prayer, because it becomes elevated from something quite mundane and animalistic into a channel for true goodness, beauty, healing and grace to enter the world.

Food, we are told, is an equivalent of Qur'an - it has the same status because both are ni'mah from Allah. To have that withheld for so long in the fasting day, and then to feel the blessings of the food magnified by the blessing of eating it in company, well, is it any wonder my children have come to love this time so very much? Unfettered by adult cynicism and rationalism they tell it the way they see it. This time, by their own admission, is a good time, special, the best time of all. And it is a time I treasure too; the iftar is the reward of a hard days' fast. Not just because we get to fill our stomachs, but because we get to sit around one table, together, as a family.

Whoever you are, whatever you believe, may blessings be on your meals too!


  1. I admire your stamina! I am sure I would become an impatient, grumpy misery very quickly! I am renowned for my lack of patience when hungry - even without fasting... I do totally agree with you that a family meal, in the evening should be special... and one day, when all 3 children will eat without a fuss and not turn the whole thing into a 3 ring circus it will feel special ;-)

    Thank you again for revealing such a precious part of your life.


  2. You get beyond grumpy, and just become very quiet and in need of peace ;) oh the three ringed circus. Just coming out of that phase.... Both boys have discovered they love food... :D

  3. Assalam o Alaikum

    Nice to read about your family. May ALLAH shower HIS blessing on you and your family along with whole ummah.



  4. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing :)

  5. i love that your boys are old enough to enjoy the sacredness of this. fasting from something does make it all the more appreciated!

  6. Thankyou for reading!

    I don't know if they get the inner meaning of it all yet, but hopefully one day it will mean more to them than just a set of 'rules'. Experiencing the joy of it rather than just the hunger will hopefully put them on that spiritual path.

  7. I recognise me and my children! Our lent before easter is different, but somehow similar too. Have a good ramadan! (I wonder what is the correct way to express this?)

  8. Yes, one year I fasted lent too! Thankyou :)

  9. Just discovered your blog. Beautiful home, beautiful family and a lovely post.
    I will look forward to following your stories in the future.
    Emma (Oooh Betty) x

  10. Thankyou Emma. Glad you found us :)


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