Today, is the 9th day of Ramadan, the Muslim’s fasting month. To those who are not familiar with Islamic religion, Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar,. For the whole month we are required to fast from dawn to sunset and to refrain from all food and drink and sexual relations with our spouse during that time.
The main purpose of fasting is described in the Al-Quran as “so that you may attain Taqwa or God-consciousness.” Fasting is thus yet another instrument for bringing us closer to our natural state, our state of Fitrah and for cleansing this state from the dross of any disobedience and corruption.
The month of Ramadan is also an opportunity to develop qualities of endurance and self-restraint, to control anger and a fiery or malicious tongue, and an opportunity to fine tune the body and shed it of obesity and sloth, and to benefit from any therapeutic effects fasting may have.
During Ramadan, every part of the body must be restrained. The tongue must be restrained from backbiting and gossip. The eyes must restrain themselves from looking at unlawful things. The hand must not touch or take anything that does not belong to it. The ears must refrain from listening to idle talk or obscene words. The feet must refrain from going to sinful places. In such a way, every part of the body observes the fast.
Therefore, fasting is not merely physical, but is rather the total commitment of the person’s body and soul to the spirit of the fast. Ramadan is a time to practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one’s self on the worship of God.
The month of Ramadan will ends with a day long celebration known as Eidul-Fitr in the month of Syawal. Eidul-Fitr begins with a special morning prayer in grand Mosques and open grounds of towns and cities of the world. The prayer is attended by men, women and children with their new or best clothes. A special charity, known as Zakatul-Fitr is given out prior to the prayer. The rest of the day is spent in visiting relatives and friends, giving gifts to children and eating. In some countries, the celebration will continues until the month of Syawal ends, like here in my country Malaysia.
Well, for today, since it’s Sunday and I’m at home, so I’ve decided to cook some meal for Iftar, or break the fast. Although during Ramadan there will be lots of stalls selling various food for Iftar (here in Malaysia we called it Bazaar Ramadan, places with 10-300 stalls selling foods for Iftar), but I’ve decided not to indulge too much in those food this year, and mainly because I wouldn’t know what to choose looking at all those yummy foods in hunger…
My Iftar menu for today are chicken meehun soup, fried apples with butter, sugar and cinnamon, and some local delicacies I bought dowstairs like “buah melaka” (a yummy meatball like pandan flavour dough stuffed with coconut sugar or “gula melaka”, and rolled off with grated coconut), and sweet spicy fried rolls filled with cucumber, potatoes and carrots, locally known as “popia”.
Right at 5pm I started to cook my chicken soup, my recipe is really simple. I just fried some onions and chillies (since I like it spicy), and put in some tofu and cut chickens, stir them a little bit until a bit brown, and then I added some water. To make the taste more appealing, I put in a pouch of Knorr’s soup mix or locally known as “sup bunjut”. After it simmered nicely under small heat an hour later, I put in some chopped onions leaves and leave it to cool. For the meehun, I put them in a pan filled with hot water until they’re soft and tossed them into a sieve to cool.
For the fried apples, this is something I never try before but I lost appetite over the increasingly soft apples in my fridge so I decided to fried them after browsing on the Internet for some recipes. Since I couldn’t find any interesting ingredients to use in my kitchen so I settled on butter, cinnamon sticks, sugar, lemon and essence of vanilla.
Firstly, I cut out all the apples (which I only have 3) into small slices, without the skins. Then, I put them out to dry some moisture off while I cooked my chicken soup. After the apples looked dry enough, I put 2 spoons butter into a hot frying pan, put all the apples into the pan and stirred the apples, then I added 3 spoons of sugar, 1 stick of cinnamon and stirred them again, then I put in 1 tablespoon of essence of vanilla, and poured in a small cup of lemon juice. I stirred them well until I’m satisfied they’re soft and cooked enough. Since I couldn’t taste any of the dishes I cook today I have to satisfied with their looks only 😀
This is the first thing I grabbed when I break my fast today at 7.30 pm, instead of the usual dates fruit, the taste is surprisingly amazing, I already plan for more variety of fried apples in the future 😀
During the month of Ramadan, it is advisable to break the fast with dates fruit, or clear drinking water and performs the Maghrib prayer, before we continue eating again. And in Ramadan month too, a special evening prayer may need to be perform after the ‘Isha prayer (the last evening prayer), this prayer is called Tarawih prayer. Contrary to popular believes, Tarawih prayer is not compulsory.
It is recommended that Muslims attend the taraweeh prayers in the mosque, to pray in congregation. This is true for both men and women. However, one may also perform the prayers individually at home. Although these prayers are voluntary, but are strongly recommended and widely practiced. Unlike the normal prayers, the cycles of Tarawih prayer may be 8 or 20 raka’at, and it is during the standing portions of the prayer, long sections of the Qur’an are read. The Qur’an is divided into equal parts (called juz) for the purpose of reading sections of equal length during each of the Ramadan nights. Thus, 1/30 of the Qur’an is read on successive evenings, so that by the end of the month the entire Qur’an has been completed.
Well, wishing all Muslim all over the world a blessed and wonderful Ramadan! remember –
See not what displeases Allah s.w.t
Speak no evil
Hear no evil
Do no evil
Look to Allah s.w.t with fear and hope!