Ramadan started on Monday. Since I've been so busy working on Christa's cookbook for her shower on Sunday, I will start my Ramadan post now. For the whole month of August (which in Islamic lunar calendar, it is Ramadan) I will be posting recipes that Muslims use for Ishtar, to break the fast for the day as well as meals Muslims eat before sunrise when they can't eat. But, first, a history!
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is also the Muslim holy month when Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) received the messages from Allah (ﷲ) for the Qur’an, which Muslims believe is the true uncorrupted source of interpretations from Allah (where the Torah and Bible were changed ). During Ramadan Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. We are to make peace with those who have wronged us, strengthen ties with family and friends, do away with bad habits -- essentially to clean up our lives, our thoughts, and our feelings. The Arabic word for "fasting" (ڝۏݥ) literally means "to refrain" - and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts, and words.
During Ramadan, every part of the body must be restrained. The tongue must be restrained from backbiting and gossip. The eyes must restrain themselves from looking at unlawful things. The hand must not touch or take anything that does not belong to it. The ears must refrain from listening to idle talk or obscene words. The feet must refrain from going to sinful places. In such a way, every part of the body observes the fast. Therefore, fasting is not merely physical, but is rather the total commitment of the person's body and soul to the spirit of the fast. Ramadan is a time to practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one's self on the worship of Allah.
At the end of the month, Muslims break fast by celebrating Eid al-Fitar. On the day of Eid, Muslims gather early in the morning in outdoor locations or mosques to perform the Eid prayer. This consists of a sermon followed by a short congregational prayer. After the Eid prayer, Muslims usually scatter to visit various family and friends, give gifts (especially to children), and make phone calls to distant relatives to give well-wishes for the holiday. These activities traditionally continue for three days. In most Muslim countries, the entire 3-day period is an official government/school holiday.
Rice Pudding With Dates
2 cups cooked white rice
2 cups 2% milk
3 tablespoons white sugar
15 dates, pitted and chopped
1.Place the rice into a food processor or blender, and process until coarse, but not pureed. Transfer to a saucepan, and stir in the milk, sugar and dates. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the dates are tender, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or cold.