‘O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good…..’ (Surah Baqarah, Verse 168)
The awareness of consuming ‘halal’ (lawful) food is known to us. In Muslim societies, eating ‘halal’ is always prioritized, and it definitely should be the first aspect thought about. However, the discussion on ‘tayyib’ food is limited. ‘Tayyib’ is an Arabic word (derived from ‘Tayyibah’, plural ‘Tayyibaat’) which has extensive use and purpose in the Quran and hadith. As with most Arabic words within the Quran, it is difficult to translate direct to one English word. So, the most used definitions are – Wholesome, good, pleasant, excellent, fair, pure and clean.
Allah (swt) has clearly guided us towards eating the right food, prepared in the best manner, i.e, if meat is halal for us, we cannot consume it directly, and so, have to cook, prepare it, in order to make it eligible for consumption.
With the on-set of ‘Ramadan’, this idea becomes more significant
– the idea of refreshing my diet. A change in the variety of food and beverages consumed takes place. As goes the norm, I am a tea/coffee person but I try to pause this habit temporary so as to detox my body during ‘Ramadan’. I replace them with milk and related products.
- Be it for ‘suhoor’ or ‘iftar’, milk becomes an important part of my daily intake. Undoubtedly, it is refreshing and healthy. I would love to permanently switch to it someday, but until then, milk is my ‘Ramadan’ special item. Some of my favourite milk recipes are almond milk made using almonds, milk, semolina, and sugar. Oatmeals made using milk, jaggery, and oats. Avocado milkshake with vanilla ice-cream and the star of all milk based items ‘falooda’, made using aromatic rose syrup, basil seeds, noodles (faluda sev), milk, vanilla ice cream, and garnished with dry fruits. Sometimes, if I run out of time, I simply sip lukewarm milk with some juicy dates. Though simple in nature, this combination always brings happiness to my mind and stomach.
‘And indeed, for you in grazing livestock is a lesson. We give you drink from what is in their bellies – between excretion and blood – pure milk, palatable to drinkers’. (Surah An-Nahl, Verse 66)
- No matter what the occasion is, the importance of water cannot be highlighted enough. I try to eat less after iftar, and drink lots of water and fresh hydrating liquids. Juices become very common during ‘Ramadan’ and though made in major quantity, are never enough. After breaking my fast with a date and a glass of water, I turn to the ‘juice of the day’. Some of them are pomegranate-beetroot or pomegranate-watermelon juice. We call it ‘the red drink’. Orange and carrot, ‘the orange drink’ and mint, lemon, kiwi, ‘the green drink’.
‘And Allah (swt) created from water every living thing…..’ (Surah Ambiya, Verse 30)
- ‘Iftar’ cannot be complete without a fruit platter. To keep my stomach cool, I feed it first with valuable vitamins and fibers, before jumping to luring food items which do not contain healthy nutrients. I am generally a fruit lover and open to all kinds available in Kuwait. I have my very own version of fruit fusion – banana with dates, apple in mango syrup, just papaya (because it doesn’t need any add-ons), and all fruit mixture coupled with vanilla ice-cream and some walnuts.
‘‘And the earth He has put down (laid) for the creatures. Therein are fruits, date palms producing sheathed fruit-stalks (enclosing dates). And also corn, with (its) leaves and stalks for fodder and sweet-scented plants. Then which of the blessings of your lord will you both (jinn and men) deny?” (Surah Rehman, Verse 10-16)
- Now that all healthy and recommended part of the meal is done, I turn to ‘the other food’. This can be our usual rice, gravy, bread, or fried items and sweets, which are quite luring. While having these meals, it is important to remember that our purpose of fasting is to consume less. (Refer to my article: risky, luring appetite)
Towards the end of it all, it is important to be grateful to Allah (swt) for all the savouries He has blessed us with and to share it with those who are underprivileged.
رَبِّ اَوۡزِعۡنِىۡۤ اَنۡ اَشۡكُرَ نِعۡمَتَكَ الَّتِىۡۤ اَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَىَّ وَعَلٰى وَالِدَىَّ وَاَنۡ اَعۡمَلَ صَالِحًـا تَرۡضٰٮهُ وَاَدۡخِلۡنِىۡ بِرَحۡمَتِكَ فِىۡ عِبَادِكَ الصّٰلِحِيۡنَ
“My Lord, enable me to become grateful to Your favour that you have bestowed on me and on my parents, and to do good deeds that You like, and admit me, with Your mercy, among Your righteous servants.”
(Surah An Naml, Verse 19)
(Do let us know what your Ramadan special dishes are in the comment section below)