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October 22, 2004

Revisiting the “Time to Reinvent Iftar” Post


For those of you who have been following my ramblings from the blurty.com days, you probably know how I feel about some of this topic. However, one year removed from my sounding off on what’s wrong with the Muslim iftar, I’m still shocked to see that no changes have taken place, especially at Iftar parties. Being as this is Ramadan, I’m considering this as an act of charity and a public service to offer my advice.


The elegance that we once called iftar has been replaced by erroneous and wayward practices that have corrupted the intended beauty of iftar. This has been done by choosing horrible food items that have destroyed the institution of iftar as a whole, such that we have been reduced to simply break our fast, pray, and then proceed to dinner. This is a tragedy. Iftar in and of itself is a sacred rite, and we have transgressed against it with our foolish food choices. To return us all back to guidance, I am offering this counsel.


To proceed:


Foods that must be included at any self-respecting “iftar”


1. Dates and water. You might think this is a given, but I’ve actually been to iftars where this wasn’t provided. Breaking the fast with dates and water is not only spiritually rewarding (as it is following the Sunnah), but it also gives one great contentment to bite into that juicy date after having made the prayer to break one’s fast. That sip of water is also priceless, perhaps an allusion to the drink from the Hawd (fount) of kawthar that we hope to drink in the next world. Don’t bother having an iftar if you’re not going to have dates and water.


2. Mango shake. This is perhaps the subcontinent’s gift to the Muslim world (after kurthas and biryani of course). That cool refreshing blend of mangos, milk, and ice rejuvenation in a glass. Do not ruin your day (and possibly invalidate your fast… hehe) by serving that VILE rooh afza.



3. Samosas. People have to understand that veggie samosas dont cut it during iftar time. Outside Ramadan, these are pretty good if youre in the mood and they’re still hot. But again, after a day of fasting, these slow-release time bombs have no place on the table. Meat samosas need to be standardized on every iftar table: every fasting person deserves this to finish off their day. The samosas cannot be too oily either, otherwise the taste of the meat is lost amidst the artery-clogging corn oil. Preparing and frying the perfect meat samosa is a sacred art known to only the true seekers of the way.


4. Pakoras. Can we stop making these to be the size of footballs? These are meant to be small, keep them that way. The rule of thumb should be that if you cannot eat it in a single bite, its too big. And adding potatoes to pakoras is a bid’ah of the highest order. Do not attempt to violate the laws of nature by adding potatos to pakoras.


5. Dahi baray. I’m not really a fan of dahi baray, but they’re good stuff nonetheless. The only problem with these is that you can either get a really good one, or a really horrible one. Unfortunately, lately I’ve been finding only really bad ones. I think the problem is that people let them soak in the yogurt too long so they become all soggy and oatmeal-ish.


6. Fruit chat. This is a very borderline issue, as I learned from the comments last year. However, after giving the matter much thought, I’m still of the school that fruit chat is like salat: you have fard, sunnah, and nafl components. In other words, there’s some essential, preferred, and optional components. Also, just like salat at certain times is prohibited, there’s certain kids of fruits that ought to be banned from fruit chat. Essential fruits are like apples, bananas, grapes. Preferred fruits are kiwi, oranges, and strawberry. Optional fruits are pomegranate and such. The totally prohibited-because-they’re-just-yucky-in-a-fruit-chat fruits are things like watermelon, canteloupe, cherries, etc. The secret of the perfect fruit chat: adding in a spoonful or orange juice. Also, finding the right combinations of fruits in chats is key: the chat cannot have too many or too many fruits–just like the Muslims, it is meant to be balanced and following the Middle Path.


Foods that are prohibited in the Kamran Riaz madhab


Basically, it’s just one food–specifically, a drink–that I cannot tolerate and I believe has NO PLACE on any decent Muslim’s iftar table. It is a drink so disgusting, so horrendous that it would self-torture and a form of suicide to drink this at iftar. Allah says, “And do not kill yourselves; indeed, He is ever-merciful to you.” Be merciful to yourself and do not drink this beverage, colored red because it is as vile as blood and is a sad ending to innocent roses who needlessly died and packaged in a alcohol-type bottle because it is such a gross abomination. I am speaking of none other than than nasty rooh afza. It is an affront to all people of decency and should never be consumed, least of all in Ramadan. I call upon all Muslims to smash their bottles of rooh afza and free themselves from this needless suffering. Let the streets of Chicago flow red as we celebrate our freedom from years of horrible oppression.


Finally, don’t attempt to defend this horrible drink. Mohammed Tabrizi tried to vainly defend the rooh last year, only to be horribly defeated by yours truly. I have recreated his foolishness below to serve a warning to anyone who decides to be a hero and defend rooh afza.


His misguided argument:


I see that logic and reason will not convince the deviants of their wretched transgression.
The time for Jihad Ar-Rooh Afza has come.
Whoever is with me in defense of all that is good, pure, tasty, and refreshing, join me in this battle to abase the Rooh-Rejectors!
We will find them wherever they are. Even if they are practicing their deviant acts in the dead of night we shall find them and shatter their mango drinks on their heads.
Stand firm all who are with me for we have the strength and vitality that comes from years of drinking Rooh-Afza. Soon we shall be bouncing here and there and everywhere and witness high adventure that’s beyond compare.

We must be courageous and prepared to sacrifice ourselves for this great cause.
I promise you the skies and seas will soon be painted red.
With the bright sparkle of Rooh-Afza if we are victorious.
Or with the last drop of our blood,
in defense of our beloved nectar.

I declare today that I Mohd Tabrizi am ready to take on the role of leader and am ready to fight for all that is good, pure, tasty, and refreshing.
I declare today that Kamran Riaz is our supreme enemy and that we shall not rest until him and his deviant sect have surrendered.
I also declare that Kamran Riaz is ugly, whereas I am am quite handsome and possess a much more muscular build.

The War Has Begun.


My overpowering and crushing reply:


Mankind’s ignorance is evident in many ways
Our species has certainly seen better days
What takes the cake are the defenders of this vile drink
Have they not any sense, do they not stop to think?

Driven to ignorance by the rooh
They live their lives without a clue,
Mired in their drink that ought to be banned
They think that they can make one last stand?

Awake o Mohammed, for your heedlessness is strange
Your old and ignorant ways are bound to change
The sewers will be flowing red after mankind awakes
And returns back to their fitrah of mango shakes

Shakespeare wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Little did he know that roses would be corrupted in this “treat”
A drink that makes a fitnah of flowers and juice
The eyes shed tears at the needless death of these fruits

Had they known they would be part of this disgusting potion
They would instead choose to be part of some skin lotion
Alas o ye fruits, your murders can be blamed on Mohammed and his ilk
Who take your sweet remains and mix them in milk
To make a beverage that is so vile
Don’t let the red fool you, it tastes like bile

In the midst of this crisis, mankind needed a hero to lead
A man of integrity and courage, one who could complete the deed
A champion of might and wisdom to vanquish the rooh
A drink that’s worse than red mountain dew
Thus I have arisen to perform my foretold tasks
To destroy rooh afza and its disgusting flasks

O mankind, I am gathering my forces so take heed!
The trees and stars and rivers are praying that I succeed
In restoring balance to all things
And destroying rogue afza and the evil it brings
O Mohammed, abandon thy futile effort and surrender
Cast away thy rooh afza and put mangoes in thy blender

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15 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    Come to think of it, I should have gone to medical school. You have absolutely no life. Nothing better to do than write poetry about why you hate rooh afza? God dang law school, I dont even have time to finish writing this po…

  2. Anonymous permalink

    hey, kr is an awesome man. he deserves all the eProps ever. he did not ask me to give him eprops, i am doing this on my own accord. once again, kr is awesome and will rule the world. (i hope this is enough kr).

  3. much better.
    youre not such a bad guy for being a law student. though i know its a matter of time before you turn to the dark side.
    all lawyers are evil. even you shariq.

  4. Anonymous permalink

    KR youre a fool.
    Fruit Chaat is DRIVEN by Apples Oranges and Grapes.
    Preferred but strongly encouraged are: pommegranate, kiwi, pears, guava, pineapple, mango pulp.
    Optional: strawberrys, mango chunks etc.
    BIDAAH: BANANAS! They are SICK! They  ruin the perfection of a damn good fruit chaat

  5. Hisham..bananas are the champions of the fruit chat…its is thru them that balanced is established in the chat….they are the guardians of its perfection…never speak against them again…

  6. Pathetic fools. You know NOTHING of what real Fruit Chat is.
    In the mid 1980s, my mother was adjusting to the move from the motherland and experienced her first ever Ramadhan in the States. While adjusting to cooking traditional dishes with American resources, my aunt from Michigan revealed upon her an addition to fruit chat that redefined the dish altogether.
    Mango pulp.

  7. that makes the fruit chat all sticky and wet. i like my fruit chat dry so that the fruits dont get all soggy and mushy.
    mango pulp belongs only in a blender, to be mixed in a beautiful symphony with ice, milk and sugar.

  8. Anonymous permalink

    saqib’s mom knows what she’s doing. mango pulp does wonders for fruit chat*. OJ works well (it prevents apples and bananas from browning/turning mushy prematurely) but mango pulp, added to fruit chat and chilled for roughly an hour before iftaar, creates a more flavourful and refreshing treat. try it over softened vanilla ice cream for a yummy Ramadhan dessert.
    *by “fruit chat” i mean just a bunch of cut-up fruits with NO salt, pepper, or masala added.

  9. you guys are pathetic… wasting time on worthless arguements… Wa idhaa khaatabahumul Jahiloona Qaloo Salaama…so As salam alaikum…

  10. Earlier this year, I was at a club where a girl slipped some Rooh Afza into my drink and the high brought back all of those memories from my degenerate days.  Needless to say, I’ve relapsed back into my addiction.  Please pray for me.

  11. fahad, youre pathetic with your assumed self-righteous comment.
    go give a talk at a uic-msa iftar.

  12. assumed self-righteous comment???be specific…

  13. A follow-up on fruit chaat.I quote from Queen4112’s Xanga:Personally, I prefer some black pepper as well, but many people are against that.  My take is that it’s called fruit *chaat*.  It isn’t fruit salad.  Any type of chaat should have some type of spice to it. 
    You conviniently left this out of your #6 take on fruit chaat, but maybe you just forgot. As for your comment…
    That makes the fruit chat all sticky and wet. i like my fruit chat dry so that the fruits dont get all soggy and mushy.
    SimmSimmah commented, mango pulp, added to fruit chat and chilled for roughly an hour before iftaar, creates a more flavourful and refreshing treat. When my mom adds in mango pulp, it’s right before the fruit chaat is served. But as you can see, even if you have it an hour after the pulp is in, the fruit chaat is far from soggy/mushy. Oh and the soft serve vanilla ice cream addition is SICK (meaning awesome).
    If debates on the best fruit chat continue, we must implement my brother’s plan. If anyone is interested, ask him about his idea, it’s incredible…

  14. And I will revisit the comment I posted to your blurty post on iftaars (which was much shorter and to the point and people would look at it and actually want to read it, unlike your Xanga posts).
    Yes, I would agree with whole Rooh-Afza thing, except for one thing. Never have I tried it straight outta the bottle or even with just water. Though, it does sound disguting. Well here’s something you might have to consider. When my mom makes Rooh-Afza, she doesn’t make it with just water or milk. Instead she releases a remix of Rooh-Afza in which goes in milk, TONS of Edy’s Grand vanilla ice cream, and a proper amount of Rooh Afza. The result is something that would make you reconsider banning the drink. Another possible solution: Offer *both* Rooh-Afza (Remix) and mango shake at iftars.
    Studly.

  15. hey saqib, if my posts are so long that no one wants to read them, how come i got 120+ hits yesterday.
    anyway, your rooh afza and vanilla ice cream idea is foolish. it’s an insult to vanilla ice cream.
    fool of a took.

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