Arsalan Iftikhar is founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and author of the book Scapegoats which President Jimmy Carter called “an important book” on Islamophobia in America today.
Can you think of a major religious holiday that combines the devout abstinence of Lent, the sincere atonement of Yom Kippur, the immense gratitude of Thanksgiving and the celebratory nature of Christmas combined together for 30 consecutive days every year?
Welcome to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
As America’s best-selling poet Rumi said: “Fasting blinds the body in order to open the eyes of your soul..." This annual month of fasting is both simultaneously intimate and deeply communal with family, neighbors and community. Ramadan is an annual time of reflection for 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide; it helps us to replenish gratitude by fasting which helps us to reflect on all that we have and remember those people who are far less fortunate than us. While abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours and dreaming of a hearty meal at the end of the day can help keep the raptor in your stomach at bay, these hunger pangs also remind us that there are billions of people around the world with nothing to eat or drink every day.
The spiritual concept of “fasting” is found within many major world religions today; including the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. With the ever-increasing diversity in the U.S. — just like Lent and Yom Kippur — the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has been celebrated in America for centuries.
Like Judaism, the Abrahamic religion of Islam operates on a lunar calendar. So this year, the 30 days of Ramadan falls during the summer months and like most families, my wife and I are hoping to limit our time cooking in a hot kitchen and find halal-certified meals that we can share with our family and friends.
Like millions of American Muslim halal consumers, we are fortunate enough to be able to pop into our local Whole Foods Market and stock up on heathy and delicious halal-certified Saffron Road meals, simmer sauces, and cooking broths. These wholesome foods are not just halal certified, but their offerings are made with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, and the meat dishes are from animals that are vegetarian fed and raised with no added hormones and antibiotics.*
Every night during Ramadan, millions of American Muslim families will break their daily fasts at dinner tables in their homes all across the country. Representing the best in global cuisine today, the diverse menu of halal-certified products at Saffron Road conveniently allow millions of individuals, families and students to enjoy traditional Ramadan classics such as crispy samosas and chicken biryani as well as other popular international dishes that we love — including everything from their incredibly yummy Vegetable Pad Thai to their scrumptious Chicken Enchiladas Poblano. One of my favorite meals during Ramadan is Saffron Road’s Tandoori Chicken Nuggets.
As over 7 million American Muslims prepare for Ramadan this year, it is quite a blessing that millions of halal consumers are able to visit our local Whole Foods Markets across America to find authentic Saffron Road meals that are halal-certified and are made from a cornucopia of fine ingredients harvested on family-owned farms that we can share with our families for generations to come.
Whether you’re observing Ramadan or simply looking for convenient and enticing dishes, check out these shortcuts to delicious meals.
*Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising poultry, goats, pigs, veal and bison.