Surah Al A’raf, verse 31: ‘ O Children of Adam! wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for God loveth not the wasters.’
Dinner was being served when I realised we were actually finishing up our leftovers from previous days. Living in a country where food is in abundance and reasonably priced, leftovers are usually thrown out after one or two days in the fridge. Sure, it didn’t taste as good as on the day it was cooked but, hey! it’s better than throwing it out.
I guess a lesson was being learnt when Daniel asked me if I wanted the last bit of rice on his plate (I could count the grains of rice on it!). I said, ‘Okey!’ and scraped the rice onto my plate. Now, I’m sure there’s an outcry of protest in the background from those who (1) never eat leftovers (2) never eat leftovers from somebody’s plate (!), I remember being reprimanded by an older person who saw me eat my son’s leftovers, but food, however little and whatever condition it is in, is still a blessing from God. Just recall the state of our brothers and sisters in Darfur and other places where a grain of rice and a trickle of clean water could mean life or death for them.
With Ramadhan nearing, it made me think about food and iftar. Nothing wrong with satisfying hunger after a day’s fast. But unfortunately, we have turned what is suppose to be an exercise of restraint and moderation into a feast of excess and greed. Fasting teaches us to experience (from pre-dawn to dusk, for a month only!) how the rest of the starving world lives, yet even this little sacrifice is not done.
The banners promoting hotel and restaurant deals on Ramadhan buffet are already up and reservations are being booked at the most popular restaurants a few weeks ahead (“in case we might not get a table, darling…”) How have we allowed the important lesson of fasting to be lost? How many of our children will soon be asked,’ What do you want for your iftar? You’ve fasted today so you get to choose the food you want to eat.’ Do our brothers and sisters who are hungry and weak from starvation have the option of choosing their food?
Wake up and see the damage we are causing to our own selves and our society by the choices we are making. Let’s choose to put only the barest minimum of food in front of us for iftar during Ramadhan. Let’s choose to stop eating before we are full and let’s choose to finish up the leftovers…