Keeping Halal in a COVID-19 Ramadan
By Arsalan Iftikhar
As our world continues to grapple with yet another year of quarantine because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it also marks the second straight year that the Islamic holy month of Ramadan will force nearly 2 billion Muslims into another virtual Ramadan away from our families, friends and local mosque communities.
As this pandemic has brought the entire world to a virtual standstill, we continue to learn that it is the little things in life that make the biggest difference. While we witness millions of people suffering physically, emotionally and spiritually because of this loss of human connectivity; this month of Ramadan allows the global Muslim community to appreciate and reflect on the most important things in life.
During the month of Ramadan, in addition to fasting from food and drink from sunrise until sunset, we are also called to become better human beings by freeing ourselves from the constraints of our ego and mindless consumption. Muslims believe that spiritual acts – even a smile or a kind word to a fellow human being – are magnified exponentially during this month. We all know that a little goes a long way and there is always food to share with other people during Ramadan. After a day of fasting, our stomachs literally shrink so that a surprisingly small amount is enough to ease hunger and quench thirst. So we practice deliberate eating, focusing on tayyib (pure and wholesome) nutrition.
With the world still largely on pause due to the pandemic, one of the main ways that we can continue to share the Ramadan spirit of gratitude and giving is by delivering (or sending) food to others in a socially-distant manner.
Innovative companies like Saffron Road have created ready-made halal meals which are the perfect way to enjoy sharing a delicious and healthy fast-breaking meal with your friends and family without actually being together. Not only are Saffron Road products made with the highest quality ingredients, they also come safely and conveniently packaged in individual and family size portions at your grocery store or online.
Now available on Amazon as well, Saffron Road has a range of delicious ready-to-eat meals, chickpea snacks, frozen entrees, and simmer sauces from a melody of world cuisines that my wife and I have been enjoying for years. Like the diversity of Ramadan, these foods fit every table and home across the globe. Your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers will appreciate and enjoy the variety of ready-made dinners whether they fast during Ramadan or not.
Over the years, I have eaten countless Saffron Road halal meal dinners of Chicken Biryani, Lemongrass Basil Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, Vegetable Pad Thai and more! For the youngsters (or the young at heart), you will also love their Crunchy Chickpeas for a protein packed quick snack or on top of a salad or soup for a quick meal.
So as another year of quarantine has taught us to focus on the important things in life, let us remember that Ramadan is meant to focus us on what is good, pure and healthy for the body, mind and soul.
Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and author of the new book FEAR OF A MUSLIM PLANET: Global Islamophobia in the New World Order