3 Ways to Reduce time in the Kitchen and at Socials!
The world has just welcomed our blessed guest, Ramadan. This month, full of blessings and wonders, comes and goes in a flash. Since there is such little time for which the month of fasting dawns upon us, let’s see about how this month turns into a month of feasting over fasting!
The literal meaning of the word sawm (fasting) means, ‘to restrain’ or to ‘abstain from something’, which in essence makes Ramadan a month of abstinence - abstinence from indulgence, greed, excessiveness and miserliness. It is a time where we fast not only in the physical sense, but also spiritually by restricting our tongues from evil speech and our eyes from anything impermissible.
When Maryam عليه السلام gave birth to Isa عليه السلام, she was ordered not to speak with the people for a few days. Her silence was a type of fast. It was so that she would abstain from speaking when they were insulting and slandering her. This would accomplish twin benefits: a) Her innocence would be proven and, b) Isa عليه السلام would instead miraculously speak on her behalf whilst in the cradle!
Thus, the very nature of fasting includes restraint and abstinence from our needs and desires. When we starve our bodies, we feed our souls.
The Test of Indulgence
The sad reality is that today, many people and cultures all around the world use this month in a way that fundamentally opposes its sole purpose! So instead of abstaining, they are indulging. How? By spending hours in the kitchen cooking fancy dishes, holding lavish dinner and iftar parties that drag on till midnight, which means not only do people miss praying Taraaweeh but they also end up sleeping in because they have no energy after a night full of eating and partying.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not forbidden to hold or host an iftar dinner for someone. Rather, with the correct intention it can multiply our rewards in this sacred month. But, everything must have its boundaries and we must straighten our priorities so that we are spending less time socializing and cooking in the kitchen, and more time seeking the best of this month – reciting the Qur’an or seeking beneficial knowledge, etc.
Upgrade This Ramadan – Balance it out!
Here are three simple ways of how you can reduce the time in the kitchen, increase time in other more beneficial activities and still attend iftar parties!
- Set your limits!
It’s that simple. If you know in advance that you will be getting many invites to iftar parties, then set your limits now. Make sure your friends and family know that there are, for example, five days in total in Ramadan that you have kept free to either host or attend an iftar. Moreover, though it is sunnah to accept an invitation, but if you know that it will involve music, gossip and other impermissible activities, then politely decline the invite, stating your reason for it. When you yourself host an iftar party, make it beneficial. Begin with a reminder, ask a child to recite little Qur’an, prepare a Sunnah-based meal (dates, etc.), pray Maghrib in congregation, and end the dinner before Taraaweeh so that no one misses the chance to grab more rewards.
- Prepare your meals in advance:
This is a skill I’ve just begun to learn. I call it a ‘skill’, because as a married couple who are both students, it takes a lot of smart thinking to be able to plan meals that are a) time-saving, b) affordable and within our weekly budget, and c) lasting! Therefore, creating a meal plan for each week of Ramadan, buying everything in one go, cooking and freezing food that can last you two days at least is the best way to reduce time in the kitchen. Don’t forget to go for the healthy options!
- Get the family involved:
We all know that working together as a team speeds things up and also gives better results as opposed to working individually. Therefore, when it’s time to cook, get your children or your husband to help out. Cook at a time in the middle of the day or in the morning so that you are not wasting or missing out on the precious moments of du’a and dhikr just before iftar.
I pray these three simple tips will help you have a more productive Ramadan and that they are a reminder of how it is not the month of feasting, rather a month of fasting.
May Allah bless us with life and good health to reap the many fruits and barakah of this amazing month! Ameen.
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