It's that time of the year again. When the Instagram feeds become a test of restraint for non-Muslims, thanks to their Muslim friends. Yes, the kind of nightmare where all kinds of gorgeous, mouthwatering food dance before you and make the idea of gatecrashing someone's dinner without a warning a legitimate, respectable exercise.
Fasting, or Sawm, is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is required for all Muslims to keep Rozas once they reach puberty.
Iftar, which literally means 'breaking fast' during the holy month of Ramadan in Arabic, is an eagerly awaited part of the day for fasting Muslims and their food-loving friends. What's not to like about piles of delicacies beckoning to you to come devour them? Steaming mutton curries and fragrant biryanis. Juicy fruits, icy sherbets and desserts to satisfy everyone's sweet cravings. Tender kebabs to sink your teeth into. Slow-cooked vegetable and meat stews. Flaky egg parottas. Crispy, crackling jalebis and light soufflés. Seriously, what's not to like!? Of course, one must earn the feast by diligently keeping the strict Roza, or fast, during the day — no food, water, smoking or sex — for the entire month.
Fasting is meant to help Muslims introspect, think kind thoughts and help those in need.
The ninth month of the Islamic calendar is believed to be the month when the Quran, the central text of Islam, was revealed to the Prophet. To celebrate the revelation, Muslims fast for the entire month, which begins with the sightings of the crescent moon. Fasting is meant to help Muslims introspect, think kind thoughts and help those in need.
The devout still break their fast with dates, followed by Maghrib (evening prayers) and a healthy meal shared with one's family and friends.
Iftar meals were not always the lavish affairs they are now (not that we're complaining!). Traditionally, the fast is broken with a glass of water or juice and dates. It is believed that the Prophet broke his fast with three dates. And even though Iftar meals are now full-blown parties and social gatherings with dozens of dishes offered buffet-style, the devout still break their fast with dates, followed by Maghrib (evening prayers) and a healthy meal shared with one's family and friends to promote communal harmony.
Whichever way one chooses to end the fast, one thing's for sure: community Iftar meals are a feast not just for the fasting, but those that enviously devour them with their eyes on social media. Here are 15 Iftar spreads that are so mouthwatering, you cannot help but walk away feeling ravenously hungry after seeing them.