Time to fast and feast

Time to fast and feast

Now that the month of Ramzan has started, carts with goodies can be seen all across the City

Ramzan is here and it is time for piety and self-abnegation. Muslim men and women, old and young, are all set to plunge into month-long fasting with unalloyed fervour.
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and every Muslim follows it with all earnestness and in good faith. It is believed that fasting is not just an act of giving up or restraining from eating, but also a guide to good living. It not only cleanses the mind, body and soul, but also makes one more responsible.

Metrolife spoke to a few people and asked them what Ramzan means to them.
The fast starts with Saheri or Suhoor, the early morning meal taken before the namaz or the early morning prayer.

The meal before and after the fast is healthy, nutritious and well-balanced — enough to provide the energy for the day.

Sharing her thoughts about fasting, Salma Begum, professor and head, department of economics at Maharani Science College, points out, “Fasting is not just restraining oneself from food and drink but a complete guide for the day — restraining from everything that can harm or hurt another person. We are made responsible for our behaviour towards others.” She adds that the true spirit of fasting is to share one’s good fortune with others, especially the poor and needy.

About the food, Salma says “There is no specific food that has to be taken, anything that is nutritious and good for health is consumed.” However, the food during fasting is rich and most Muslims dish up a number of delicacies during Iftar like sherbets, pudding, falooda, kanji, samosas, sawaiyan, kebabs, fruits and salads. 
 Amidst his hectic schedule, additional commissioner of police (traffic) M A Saleem and his family too fast during this season.

For Saleem, fasting in Ramzan is not just about avoiding food. “It involves developing a strong character. It helps one control one’s material and worldly desires. It helps develop honesty, integrity, belief in the right values and moral courage which are ingredients of a strong character,” observes Saleem. He adds, “Fasting also helps the body, as the digestive system is rested for almost 14 hours a day and for 30 days.”   

Youngsters like Asma Banu, a final-year BBM student at Indian Academy College, think Ramzan is an occasion for fasting as well as feasting.

“Fasting is good. It helps to clear the skin and it brightens the eyes. It is the quickest way to stay healthy and beautiful,” says Asma. 

For Asma, breakfast is usually heavy, comprising porridge, bread, fruit and soups. Dates are also a very significant part of the Ramadanmenu. The fast is broken with dates and a glass of water.

Traditional sweets such as Mamoul (a walnut and date cookie), Ramzan Pidesi (special pita bread for Ramadan) Gullach (pastry sheets soaked in milk and rose water, with crushed pistachios in between and decorated with pomegranate seeds) and halvah (thick paste made with sesame or tahini including chocolate, pistachio or plain) are dished out in every home during the fast.

After a month-long fast, Muslims wait to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, where feasting is the order of the day.

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