Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is also the holiest month of Islam — believed to be the month the Muslim Prophet Mohammad received the Quran.
Adult Muslims fast strictly during the entire month of Ramadan. During this period, Muslims avoid all food and drink — even water — from sunrise to sundown. This does not mean that they starve themselves for the whole month, though. In fact, Muslims break their fast twice a day: during suhour and iftar.
Before Sunrise and After Sunset
The few meal times during Ramadan are traditionally spent with the family or the community. Blast Catering, a boutique catering company in Dubai, suggests making meal times extra special with a full catering service.
Suhour is served before sunrise and ends once the fajr or morning prayer starts. As the meal before an entire day of fasting, suhour consists of simple but hearty foods. These usually include high-fiber oats and protein-rich eggs. Muslims are also advised to avoid high-sodium food to keep hydrated throughout the day.
Iftar, meanwhile, is served after sunset and the maghrib prayer. It is also a more lavish affair than uhour. Many Muslims first break their fast with dates and milk. The dried fruit is easily digested and helps prepare the stomach for the heavier meal that comes next.
Traditional Ramadan Food
Traditional Ramadan fare goes far beyond just dates and milk. Some iftar favorites include harira, a rich Moroccan-style soup of lamb, lentils, and chickpeas that also helps the stomach relax after an entire day of fasting. Mansaf, a Jordanian lamb and yogurt dish served with nuts, and tabbouleh, a Levant salad made of soaked bulgur, are also iftar crowd-pleasers.
The simpler, wholesome meals of suhour receive a lot of love, as well. Egg brik, an egg pastry pocket originating from Tunisia, and aloo ki bhujia, a Pakistani spiced potato dish, are some of the food traditionally served at suhour.
Ramadan is more than just abstaining from eating — it is also a time for introspection and self-discipline. Most of all, it is a chance for Muslims to create deeper connections with their family, community, and faith.