As well as all that spiritual enhancement, there’s the other hallmark of Ramadan, Iftars. And as Emiratis often share the meal with their family and friends, Iftars have become associated with tables heavily laden with food. What’s more, there’s usually an excess of meat dishes, and the surplus subsequently means there’s a lot of leftover food. However, an event in London showed it’s more than possible to turn the evening meal that breaks the fast into an environmentally friendly affair.
The event, which took place in Rumi’s Cave, where millennial Muslims can take courses and enjoy open-mic nights, served only vegetarian, dairy-free food. And the organisers made it a priority to use ethically sourced, homegrown seasonal vegetables whenever they could in the dishes, which included a soup that featured foraged nettles and a vegetable stew.
What’s more, the eco-friendly Iftar, which was organised by Jumana Moon and a creative collective called The Rabbani Project, saw all the participants bringing their own utensils. And there wasn’t a single plastic fork, straw or disposable plate, which usually fill up bins after observers eat at mosques, in sight. While eliminating plastic waste, they also reduced food waste by getting participants to bring containers so they could take all the leftovers home.
"This ethical iftar is about looking particularly at key issues around meat consumption during Ramadan, food waste during Ramadan and plastic waste,” Moon told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “We wanted to do an Iftar plan that had none of those things.” She added it’s about “trying to reconnect our responsibility to nature as part of our worship not a separate hobby or interest.” Moon said that she would love to see people going green in their personal lives, not just their public lives, too.
As well as getting people who fast to eat healthy and wholesome food and highlighting the importance of waste practices, the organisers arranged readings from the Quran that underlined how important it is to care for the environment. Additionally, the seeds from the dates that are traditionally used to break the fast were gathered for replanting or composting.