Ramadan is a holy month of the Hijri calendar where Muslims fast for 29 to 30 days. It is a month of divine rejuvenation where more of Islamic jurisprudence is brought to the limelight and as well as a means to propagate Dawah and the beauty of Islam.
Muslims abstain from sin, eating, drinking, and some irrelevant ways of life that could hinder them from getting their full rewards from Allah.
It is a month dedicated to worship, charity, celebration, and reflection with families and friends. We frequently invite friends and families into our homes for Iftar (breaking the fast) because it is such an important component of the holiday. While Ramadan is not the time for fine dining, we must nonetheless manage and fulfill our responsibilities of caring for and nourishing our families and guests.
Before you know it, Ramadan will be here. Food is an important element of this beautiful month, as it is with many holidays. Ramadan food preparation will be a lot easier if we organize ourselves and fine-tune our kitchen productivity now, providing us more time to focus on our worship and less time on grocery shopping and meal preparation.
If you decide to implement some of these suggestions, I recommend doing one every day or 2-3 per weekend – it’s a lot easier to manage in little increments.
“Actions are but by intentions and every man will have only what he intended.” [Sahih Bukhari]
- First and foremost, in your time and effort, pray for barakah. Make a du’a to Allah (SWT) for blessings to come your way in your time, your home, and everything you do. When we undertake household tasks with the right purpose, i.e. for Allah’s sake, we will receive the same reward as those who are in sujood.
- Start with a strategy. A more productive kitchen during Ramadan can be achieved with a little forethought and planning now. Make a plan ahead of time for how you’ll prepare and decorate your kitchen for the month of blessings. A more productive kitchen during Ramadan can be achieved with a little forethought and planning now. Make a plan ahead of time for how you’ll prepare and decorate your kitchen for the month of blessings.
Preparing for Ramadan is making plans to ensure that you have the most spiritual Ramadan possible. What will you be eating for Suhoor (meal taken before morning prayer) and iftar? Are you planning to make hummus at home or buy the stocks for those Ramadan soups? Are you breaking your fast in the masjid this weekend, sponsoring meals for needy families, or inviting non-Muslims to iftar? When do you want to invite friends and family over for iftar and on which days? Make a list of all the things you desire to do. Once you’ve decided on a strategy, make a menu plan so you know what you’ll need to buy.
- Get the pantry in order. Arrange your pantry shelves like a library, with food items categorized by type. To make short work of keeping leftovers, keep ziplock bags, plastic wrap, and aluminum foils together at the pantry door or closer to the refrigerator.
Make a list of everything you already own so you don’t buy it again during the Ramadan buying frenzy. Check for restocking needs at Staples. You may believe your pantry and spice rack are well-stocked but double-check staples two weeks before Ramadan begins. Spices, in particular, can develop rancidly or completely lose their flavor and fragrance. Examine your supplies of dates, honey, almonds, dried beans, lentils, wheat, and other similar items. Remove all of the half-empty snack boxes and place them in one large snack basket. Make a shopping list based on your needs.
- Clean out the refrigerator and freezer. As you prepare and freeze meals ahead of Ramadan in the coming months, the freezer will be your best friend. You’ll be able to operate much more efficiently if you use the freezer appropriately! Remove items from their heavy boxed packaging and store them in Ziploc bags to make extra room in a packed freezer. Date and preparation instructions should be written on the bags.
Now is the time to rummage through the contents of the refrigerator and get rid of as much as possible. Finish nearly empty jam jars, dump empty condiment containers (mayonnaise, tahini, etc.), and discard all outdated, empty food containers. Spills and stains should be wiped away. Clean out the produce drawers and wipe off the shelves before restocking new Ramadan products.
- Purchase some cooking equipment. Having a few high-quality kitchen appliances on hand will help you save time and effort. One of the reasons I enjoy using my food processor is that it takes only a few minutes to make hummus, chop onions, and ground almonds, allowing me to prepare meals more quickly. In my kitchen, having a reliable vegetable peeler and kitchen shears has been a true blessing.
- Keep an eye on the appliances. For Ramadan, appliances must be prepped and ready to use. Make sure all of your appliances, including the microwave oven, stovetop, oven, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, food processor, mixer, and blender, are in working order and ready to use. If you come across an appliance that doesn’t appear to be up to the task, get it mended or replaced before Ramadan. During Ramadan, you don’t want to waste time tracking down a malfunctioning device. It’s also a good idea to monitor the temperature of the oven.
As we approach Ramadan and seek cleanliness of our homes, minds, bodies, and souls, let us do so to give ourselves more time to devote to Almighty Allah (SWT) throughout the holy month and throughout the year.
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