One of the most integral part of Ramazan is the iftar. After long hours of fasting from dawn to sunset, Muslims settle down to break their fast and eat their meals. In recent years, there has been a trend of going to expensive restaurants for iftar. Often people order more than they can eat and a lot of leftover food gets wasted this way, all the while outside that restaurant, a poor kid has been selling tissue papers all day just so he can have one proper meal.

The Facts

Food wastage is a huge problem around the world, with more than 1.3 billion tons of food wasted annually, more than enough to feed some 900 million people who suffer from hunger and malnourishment.   In monetary terms, this is an equivalent of $ 1 trillion or nearly 3 times the size of Pakistan’s economy.

In Pakistan alone, more than 60 million people go to sleep each day on an empty stomach while famous eateries and fast food chains casually throw away any uneaten food after the customers leave.

A Religious Issue

Wasting food is not only an ethical problem but also a religious one.  In Islam, it is sinful to be wasteful and extravagant. In both the Quran and in hadiths, it has been stressed upon Muslims not to waste food.

“…and eat and drink and be not extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant.” –  Surah al-A`raf 7:31

Unfortunately, this is exactly what we Pakistanis like to be when it comes to food.  Packing of left-over food is seem as an embarrassing matter  and at weddings and banquets, it is encouraged to put more food on the plate than one can eat.

Before putting food on the plate…

…take a moment to think about the poor farmer who work so hard to grow his crops while keeping his fast or about the millions of families whom only iftar is a few dates and a glass of water.  Never over-order or eat more than you need. Not only will you be doing your part in reducing wastage of food but the habit will also benefit your health.

Humanitarian leader Abdul Sattar Edhi, seen here having a meal with children living in one of his charity houses

This Ramazan, instead of going to some over-priced restaurant in DHA, share a meal with those less privileged than you.