Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 4: Iftar Indigestion

It seems common knowledge, but it happens a lot: iftar indigestion. Not because we haven't eaten all day and are eating the RIGHT amount, but because too many Muslims tend to gouge on food from 9:48pm until the first slivers of light reveal the start of dawn.

I'm trying to understand the psychology behind how Muslims view food, during Ramadan, as only existing for a predetermined amount of time before disappearing off the face of the earth. This seems to be the only rational explanation behind why so many of us tend to eat more than our heart's content. And then some more.

Yes, it is tough to fast the 18 hours here in Calgary and the hunger does become quite unbearable sometimes. Yet what I find after a few days of fasting is how my stomach actually shrinks and becomes unable to handle more than a certain amount. Coupled with the fact that there are only 5 hours between iftar and suhoor, you'd THINK people would leave a little room for eating the morning meal.

I remember attending Fayaz Tilly's Ramadan prep course a couple of years ago and one thing really stuck with me. He recounted Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) saying that we should have 1/3 of food in our stomachs, 1/3 for liquid/water, and another 1/3 for breath/air. In other words, Allah knew the nature of mankind and sent this down to help guide us. But how many of us actually live by these words?

I want to add that it's normal to crave food while we're fasting, since if we're out and about, food is all around us. But the point of Ramadan, in my eyes, is to also have self-restraint over food, not solely other vices. Do we really need 2 heavy appetizers before eating the main dish? Do women really need to labour in the kitchen to prepare a feast fit for a king?

And you wonder why SO many Muslims actually GAIN weight during Ramadan. True, our metabolism slows down during the month since we're not feeding our bodies, but eating heavy meals does not help with the cause.

So yes, it seems common sense but since so many of us are not following this, we really need to limit the Iftar spread! Focus on having one main meal, a salad, and fruit and dates to open your fast. Drink water since we are all dehydrated and our bodies need it badly!

And let's re-define what it means to prepare a feast "fit for a King"!

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