How to Prepare Suhoor and Iftar Meals

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During the month of Ramadan, Muslims practice Sawm, or fasting, during the hours between sunrise and sunset. However, most Muslims rise before dawn to prepare an early meal known as Suhoor. At the end of the day, friends and family gather to prepare an evening meal called Iftar. According to tradition, the Prophet Muhammad broke his own fast for the Iftar meal by consuming a date before partaking of other Ramadan dishes. If you'd like to follow such traditions, take some time to discover how to properly prepare Suhoor and Iftar meals.

  • Keep it simple. Since Ramadan is a time for self-purification and to contemplate charity toward those less fortunate, both Suhoor and Iftar are intended to be very humble meals to help remind you that there are those who go without food daily.

  • Plan ahead. Extend invitations to family and friends to attend your Suhoor and Iftar meals well in advance. Additionally, remember to adjust your schedule accordingly so that you'll have sufficient time to prepare and partake in pre-dawn Suhoor and evening Iftar meals.

  • Expect to prepare the Suhoor meal at least 2 hours before sunrise to leave sufficient time to enjoy it with your family. A sample Suhoor menu might include yogurt, pancakes, zahawiq (crushed tomatoes seasoned with ground black pepper, sometimes with cheese added), or shurba (whole oats cooked with milk and sugar). Coffee and tea may also be served.

  • Start to prepare the Iftar meal anytime after your afternoon prayers. A pleasant Iftar meal might consist of fried bajia (mashed beans), tabeekh (vegetables in gravy), samboosa (herbed, ground meat in a filo pastry) and rice. The meal may be served with qamruldeen (made from dried apricots) and coffee or tea.

  • Learn how to prepare a month's worth of simple meals--from porridge, breads and egg dishes for Suhoor to breads, soups and stews for Iftar--from AllRecipes.com (see Resources below).

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider spending the daylight fasting hours during Ramadan volunteering to prepare Suhoor and Iftar meals at your local mosque or even a soup kitchen. Your service may be rewarded with additional Sawab (blessings) during the month.
  • It has been said that even Muhammad shared in the task of preparing Sahoor and Iftar meals. If you're a man, earn extra blessings over Ramadan by assisting your mothers, sisters and wives in this joyful duty.

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