As a member of the South Asian community, I have attended numerous iftars that seem more like parties than iftar gatherings. If you’re a Muslim you’re probably thinking, “Iftar ‘parties’ and ‘gatherings’ are the same thing, dummy!”
Sadly, our community has failed to distinguish between the kind of parties we host during most of the year and the kind of gatherings we should host in the blessed month of Ramadan. An extravagant iftar “party” ends up taking a big chunk of our night away from gaining the good deeds Allah offers to us so generously in this wonderful month.
At these parties usually so much food is prepared for the iftar andthe dinner that by the end of the night, many have adjusted their belts and buttons to accommodate their full stomachs. Sometimes people take more food than they can handle and end up throwing it away.
We seem to forget that in these short summer nights there’s not that much time between the start of maghrib and ishaa. At these type of iftar parties, the ishaa and taraweeh prayer at the masjid are usually missed due to the lengthy duration of these parties. Appalled by this excessiveness, my family decided to host a different kind of iftar this year. By utilizing these techniques, we were able to have a more successful iftar gathering:
- Tell guests beforehand of your intention to attend ishaa prayer at the local masjid.
- Make a couple of signs to remind everyone not to waste food. For example, one sign can remind the guests of the condition in East Africa. Another can remind that God does not like wastefulness.
- Make a moderate amount of food dishes so as to not take too much time from your worship in cooking. This will prevent overindulgence and wastage of food at the iftar.
- Break the fast simply with dates and milk. Then, pray maghrib in congregation with your guests.
- After prayer, serve dinner. Gentlemen, try to let ladies and children go first!
- Try your best to make time for a small halaqah or Islamic reminder about Ramadan. You can serve tea and sweets with the talk. Imagine how much Allah swt and the angels will love listening to us talk about our religion rather than gossip or politics!
- Keep an eye on the clock to make sure you do not miss the ishaa prayer at the masjid!
Previous iftars I have either been a part of hosting or attending have usually left me feeling guilty at the end of the night. This kind of carefully planned iftar, on the other hand, ended up enhancing the productivity of the night and allowed us to also earn extra good deeds for feeding our fasting guests!