Most people think that fasting is the most important aspect of Ramzan, but iftar, the breaking of the fast, holds great traditional value too. Muslim families in the city put great effort into preparing a delectable spread every evening. From dates and seasonal fruits to haleem, biryani and khubani ka meetha, the daily meal is no less than a feast.
Explaining the significance of iftar, Md Imran, a businessman from the city, says, “Many people think that iftar is just the breaking of the fast. But it’s actually a whole process that begins at 4 am and continues until the night. In my house, we make sure that everyone is at the dinner table during iftar. My father prays first, and we break our fast only after that.”
They also use the opportunity to sample delicacies from outlets across the city. “My mother makes some awesome dahi wada and samosa, and we all have haleem from at least two places every evening. Around 15 days of Ramzan are over, so I have already had haleem from 30 places across the city,” Imran says.
Politician Amjed Ullah Khan considers iftar to be a time that brings families closer. “We are a huge family of five brothers and four sisters. On other days, everyone is busy with work. But during Ramzan, and especially during iftar, we all get to spend time together. We enjoy a spread that consists of dates, dahi wada, homemade haleem, and, most importantly, lime juice to restore our energy levels. Fridays are special because we indulge in khubooli, which is an Arabian dish.”
It is not easy for Muslims to keep roza this year because of the unbearable heat, but they are still continuing. “It gets a little difficult to deal with the heat while fasting. We make sure that we have a lot of fruits and juices for iftar so that we remain hydrated the next day. Some people also drink juices in the morning, before beginning their fast,” Imran says.
Apart from prayer, Ramzan is also supposed to be a month of charity. Many Muslims donate food and clothes during this period. Shedding light on this practice, educationist Shagul Ali says, “Iftari is one of the cardinal elements of Ramzan. The purpose is to reach out to the hungry and malnourished, to feed those who’ve been starving, people from marginalised and downtrodden sections of society. The meal is commenced with dates, which symbolise purity, followed by other dishes including mouth-watering haleem, and biryani.”
Iftar is not a party: Sherry Zaveri, socialite
I would like to let everyone know that we celebrate Ramzan for a reason. I have heard many people say that the iftar party is a Muslim tradition. Let me clarify that there is no such thing as an iftar party. We break our fast by eating with our families and relatives. My family sends a lot of food to the mosques because that is the purpose of Ramzan — to help the needy. We follow the tradition of reading the entire Quran, and we cook special haleem, cheese samosas, hash lukmi, and goodies made of dal. As it is extremely hot this Ramzan season, we keep our up strength by eating dates.
— With input from Bansari Trivedi J.