Iftar begins at Maghrib (sunset) each day. In many parts of the world, including Ireland, the time of Iftar varies as the month progresses, due to changes in day length.
As the Islamic calendar is based around the lunar cycle, the Holy month of Ramadan rotates by approximately ten days each year. This year, Ramadan is expected to begin on Thursday 23rd March 2023, depending on the sighting of the moon.
You can find information about Sehr & Iftar times in Ireland for Ramadan 2023 here.
Iftar is the name of the meal eaten by Muslims at sunset to break their fast during Ramadan. It is the main meal of the day for those who are fasting.
The other meal of the day for those who are fasting is called Suhoor, which is eaten early in the morning before dawn.
An Iftar meal is the most important meal of the day for Muslims, as it is the meal which follows a whole day of fasting (for around 15/16 hours per day in Ireland).
Therefore, it’s important that the Iftar meal is as balanced and nutritious as possible.
While Iftar is a significant meal with regards to health and nutrition, it also has a spiritual meaning and significance. At Iftar time, Allah (SWT) shows special mercy and love to those who have been fasting, and especially to those who have provided food for others at Iftar time.
The Prophet (saw) said,
‘Whoever feeds a person breaking his fast will earn the same reward as him, without anything being lessened from the reward of the fasting person’. [Tirmidhi]
Every year, Islamic Relief runs a Ramadan food distribution programme, where we provide staple food items such as bread, oil, flour and rice to families in need across the globe, with which they can begin and end their fast. Help provide Iftar for others and gain Allah (SWT)’s pleasure by donating with Islamic Relief.
It can be a struggle thinking about what to cook for Iftar each day in Ramadan, so here are a few things to consider when choosing your meal.
The food we eat can help us maintain a good immune system and stay healthy. During Ramadan, make an effort to maintain a balanced diet consisting of carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, fibre and essential vitamins and minerals.
To keep up your strength whilst fasting, eat slow-release carbohydrates such as oats, wholegrain rice and wholemeal bread.
Be mindful of how much salt you use while cooking during Ramadan, as too much sodium can lead to bloating, leaving you feeling uncomfortable and heavy in the evenings while you pray.
It is important to drink plenty of water, and eat foods that have a high water content such as watermelon.
It’s also important to ensure we’re being kind to the environment in our choices for our Iftar meal, as we have a responsibility to Allah (SWT)’s creatures and we are stewards of the earth. For example, try and cut back on meat this Ramadan, and aim to buy more local produce.
If you’re struggling to find Iftar recipes, you can find ideas by searching on YouTube.
It is recommended to read the following du’a at Iftar time when opening your fast:
Translation: Thirst is gone, the veins are wet, and the reward is confirmed by the will of God. (Abu Daud)
Iftar time is one the best times to make du’a: The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “There are three whose duaa is not rejected – the fasting person when he breaks his fast, a just ruler, and the prayer of the oppressed person”. (Tirmidhi)
Please remember to make du’a for our brothers and sisters in need across the world as we break our fasts.
Muslims are taught to break their fast by eating dates before eating their main meal. This is because it is a Sunnah ( tradition) of the Prophet (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) enjoyed eating dates and encouraged others to do so. He would break his fast with a date with fresh dates, if there were none available then with dry dates, or with a few sips of water if dates were not available. (Abu Daud)
“When one of you breaks his fast, let him break it with dates for they are blessed. If they are not found, let him break it with water for it is pure.” [Tirmidhī]
As with other Sunnahs of the Prophet (PBUH), there are many health benefits of eating dates. “Indeed in dates there is a cure” (Muslim). Dates are a great source of protein, B vitamins, fibre and potassium, helping to support the immune system and healthy functioning of the body.