Ramadan is one of the most festive times of the year for Muslims, despite hunger being the concept associated with it due to fasting, from dawn to sunset. This month is a merry month, time for family and friends to make time to be together for iftar, (breaking of the fast) and going for night prayers.
Every household would want to host an iftar due to the reward we hope to receive from Allah subhana wa taala. Often, every attendee to an iftar will bring food to share, even though the gathering is not a potluck, this is out of generosity that runs in every Muslim during this month, hoping for reward and mercy from Allah subhana wa taala (God).
There’s nothing wrong with being generous and sharing food as Islam encourages feeding the fasting person. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever gives iftar to one who is fasting will have a reward like his, without that detracting from the reward of the fasting person in the slightest.” (Tirmidhi, 807; Ibn Maajah, 1746)
This month is about pleasing Allah subhana wa taala.
In Canada, there’s so much food, especially during iftar time. Unfortunately, this abundance also leads to lots of food wastes. Individually, and collectively, we do waste food in an iftar gathering. We seem to have forgotten that the Qur’an (6:141) says “Eat – But waste not by excess: for God does not love the wasters.”
So next time you attend an iftar gathering remember the above-mentioned verse. If our action for this month is about pleasing Allah subhana wa taala, then we should be conscious to not waste food.
Here are 11 ways avoid food waste during iftar, in shaa Allah.
- When planning for iftar dinner and you’re shopping, obviously hungry, be aware that your hunger will make you want to buy and cook every single food that you can think of, don’t give in, that’s a trap towards wastage.
- Prepare food only enough for your guests or your family, do not go overboard. Do not fall into the fear of not having enough. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The food of one person is enough for two, and the food of two people is enough for four, and the food of four people is enough for eight.” (Sahih Muslim)
- Take away your fear of not having enough food by remembering the sunnah of eating. As Muslims, we were reminded to eat in thirds dividing our stomach into 1/3 for food, 1/3 for water, and 1/3 for air and this is better for us.
- Another important thing to remember we as Muslims begin eating with “Bismillah” and this brings barakah to our food. Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) was eating with his six Companions when a desert Arab came and ate up the food in two mouthfuls. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Had he mentioned the Name of Allah, it would have sufficed for all of you.” (At-Tirmidhi).
- If you are hosting an iftar and there is leftover food, offer your guests to take some home to avoid food waste.
- Should you find food more than enough for the family or guests, pack some and share it with your neighbours. This will foster good relations.
- When guests bring food to share, and their food wasn’t consumed, suggest it to them to bring their leftover back home instead of emptying their containers at your place.
- When you find yourself left with so much food after iftar, store it away in containers and freeze them. It will stay fresh and good for your next meal.
- When attending an iftar and you are unfamiliar with the dishes you find at the gathering, take only a little to taste so that when it doesn’t suit your taste buds you can still manage to finish it.
- Put a lesser amount of food on your plate, especially when there’s a variety of it available. It is better to do it this way, you can always go for a second plate anyway.
- Don’t overfill your plate, make sure that you will be able to finish your food to the last morsel of it. Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) commanded the licking of fingers and the gleaning of the dish, saying “You do not know in which portion the blessing lies.” (Muslim).
Besides it being a religious recommendation not to waste food, the consciousness to adhere to this obligation will help our society too.
In its 2019 Avoidable Crisis of Food: Technical Report, Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue organization and an expert in food recovery, shares that globally, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimated that one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted.
According to the report, in Canada, the root cause of food waste is the “culture of accepting waste.” Four million Canadians, including 1.4 million children don’t have enough access to food. The report added that the annual cost of avoidable food loss and waste per household is $1,766.
The food waste that goes to landfills creates methane gas, that can cause 25 times damage to the environment compared to carbon dioxide.
Meanwhile, lovefoodhatewaste.ca shares that globally, one-third of all food is wasted and in Canada, 47% of food waste happens in our homes. Unfortunately, we Canadians throw 63% of the food that is still consumable, and it costs us more than $1,100 a year.
So next time you throw food that are still good for consumption, remember that your action has consequences, besides wasting.