We fast all day and struggle through the pangs of thirst and hunger. When it's time to break the fast and enjoy the 'Iftar' meal we literally loosen our belts and stuff as much food down our throats as we can fit into our bellies.
As a result, the rest of the evening we feel lethargic and can barely breathe. Praying the 'Taraweeh' prayer is uncomfortable and we just don't have the stamina we should have during this auspicious time of prayer. And we have such a heavy feeling of fullness that a lot of us skip the special 'suhoor' meal because we are still trying to digest what we ate for Iftar. The overeating takes on a life of its' own and has a bad effect in other areas of our lives. So, not only are you gaining weight and making yourself sick by stuffing during Iftar, you are also missing out on the blessing of Ramadan due to the maladies associated with overeating.
Allah says in the Holy Quran:
"And eat of the good things We have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein". (20:81)
In Islam we are commanded to be moderate in all our affairs whether it is praying, working or even eating. You should not overdo anything while at the same time you should not be lacking in anything either. We must always follow a middle course. The whole purpose of Ramadan as a time to learn self-control and purify your mind and body is completely wasted when you indulge in overeating right after the daily fast. It pretty much nullifies all of the good deeds you are striving to attain.
Food is a blessing from Allah. It should be eaten in proportion with need and not wasted. And we should always remember the people who have nothing to eat when we are tucking into our meals. There are people in Africa, Sudan and Afghanistan (to name only a few) who have not eaten for days and have no idea where their next meal will come from.
The benefits of fasting are innumerable. The fast gives your body a chance to rest and repair itself. And also to rid itself of toxins that have been accumulating over the past year. So, just imagine your body is in a state of rest all day and then it's time for the Iftar meal. All the food that you stuff gets all jammed up. Your stomach and the rest of your organs were in a state of rest. They cannot process it and don't even have a chance to start because the food just keeps coming down your throat.
Keep things light for your Iftar meal. Focus on soups, fruits and salads as the staple of your meal. Avoid the greasy and fried treats we all love as much as you can. And as for the sweets limit your intake to only one or two. There is still a lot of time left this Ramadan to change your eating habits and end the cycle of overeating once and for all.
21 Sep 2007
Sumayyah Meehan is a Kuwait-based American writer who embraced Islam.