Narrated by Abu Hurairah: The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, has said: “The food for two persons is sufficient for three, and the food for three persons is sufficient for four persons.” -Sahih Al-Bukhari
As I type this, I am nodding and groaning at the same time. Why, oh why, did I eat so very much at Iftar today? I think it’s because there was so much food that we ran out of space on the table, and that it’s mandatory to take a little bit of everything. You know, just to taste.
We don’t have Iftar like this every day, today was a party-sharty. It was also a lesson in self-control, as in, “Why it is important to exercise some.” I’m not going to type of the shamefully long list of all the things I ‘tasted,’ (pitch-in parties…groooaaan…) I’m just going to say it was too much at the time. It wouldn’t have been too much at any other time during the year, but after a week of fasting I think my stomach capacity may be reduced to about…eight ounces. Yep. How else to explain that I can fill up on a cup of coffee and two dates and be set until dinner two hours later?
Right, well my stomach has shrunk, but my eyes are still the same size. They’re still way too big for my current stomach capacity. If I had been smarter, I would’ve implemented all the neato tips I have learned to discipline one’s stomach during Ramadan. Which are:
Number One: The less food you put before yourself, whether in your plate or on the table, the less food you’ll eat. Never mind how empty the dining table looks, or how deprived you THINK you’ll be, the fact is, we don’t need half of the food we cram into our faces as soon as the Azhan is called. One good idea is to prepare a plate of Iftari using your brain and not your hungry eyes. Set this plate in front of you and eat from it once the Azhan is called. Don’t fill it again, because chances are, your logical estimation of the food you needed was correct the first time, and anything that would be added afterwards may be due to an overly-enthusiastic tongue. Besides, stuffing yourself silly as soon as the sun sets kinda defeats the purpose of fasting, in that fasting is supposed to help us tame our bodily cravings, not just put them off for a few hours and then indulge them to excess. :::whacks self on head with empty plate:::
:::brushes crumbs out of hair:::
Number Two: Eat and Run. To the prayer rug, that is. Don’t make Iftar a long, leisurely affair, because the longer you’re at the table, the more you’ll eat. Eat and go pray, then come back and have a big drink of water because chances are you were dehydrated anyway.
Number Three: Clean up right away. Brothers too. Help your mother out. She’s probably tired. Plus, if you put the food away immediately it can’t sit there and demand that you eat it.
Number Four: After Iftar and Maghrib, leave the dining area. Go read a book, preferably the Qur’an, or work out, or contemplate the sky, or something, but don’t hang around and pick on things non-stop until dinner is served. Yes you, I’m talking to YOU, Abez.
(Blog version 2.0. Edited for clarity at 10:37 pm, +6 GMT)