How to Host the Perfect Iftar During Ramadan

How to Host the Perfect Iftar During Ramadan

Whether you're a born Muslim or a revert, hosting the perfect iftar may seem daunting but can be done with the right preparation and intentions. افطار (Iftar) means “to break” in Arabic since iftar is the time where muslims break fast after fasting from dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan.

As a revert, I was extremely intimidated hosting my own iftar considering the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes. I've been to several iftar dinners already, from simple to extravagant ones, and I was stressed over my ability to host a perfect iftar. However, let's remember that iftar is not simply a matter of having dinner. The spiritual experience behind iftar allows us to have gratitude the second we consume water and food. Hence, we should take into consideration the many people around the world who are unable to eat food due to famine, starvation, and other unfortunate circumstances. 

According to Islamic teachings, iftar should be a simple meal and not a lavish dinner in order to avoid overeating. Hence, simplicity saves us from distraction and allows us to concentrate on the spiritual aspect of fasting. So, whether this is your first iftar or your 20th time hosting, here is a quick rundown on how to host the perfect iftar now that we know the context and beauty behind fasting!

Make a guest list

Think about how many people you’ll decide to host. Consider your budget, size of the dinner table, and the amount of help you'll be having. As someone who is the only muslim in my family, I decided to keep my iftar guest list small since I was the only one setting everything up. If you don't have the budget for a huge iftar or catering, consider turning the iftar into a potluck! Potlucks are always fun and make the iftar process much easier. Don't forget to send out invitations. Do this either by texting people individually or using an evite invitation. I use evite for the cutest free invitations that have headcount included. 

    Create a food menu

    Decide which type of food you'll be serving. Is it Palestinian, Mexican, Asian food? A mix of all three? There are no rules when it comes to what food you have, as long as you prepare in advance what to get at the grocery store or tell people what to bring if it's a potluck. Going grocery shopping the week before and preparing the food the day before is key. Last year, I attended an iftar potluck where everyone bought something from their own culture. It was the most diverse plate of food I had in one sitting. I brought enchiladas with horchata and everyone loved it since they've never tried it before! 

      Start off with Sunnah

      As always, break your fast with three dates a sip of water, then pray maghreb before indulging in the big meals. Recite this dua when breaking your fast: “Dhahaba al-zama wa’btalat al-‘uruq wa thabata al-ajr in sha Allah (Thirst is gone, the veins are moistened and the reward is certain if Allah wills).” Narrated by Abu Dawud. 

        Offer fun appetizers and desserts

        Appetizers and desserts are my favorite part! Be creative and have fun with what you decide to make. Decorated dates are my go-to for easy and beautiful sweet snacks. Other popular Ramadan appetizers include: cheese samoosas, kibbeh, and honeycomb bread. 

          Add Ramadan decor

          The best part of Ramadan is the environment, so try incorporating Ramadan decor at your iftar dinner for a Ramadan feel. There are plenty of Ramadan decor options available online. I get mine from EidCreations, Rasm, or any local islamic store like the Nour Company in Orange County. Decorations range from Arabic lanterns, crescent moons, and Eid Mubarak signs to put near the entrance or on the tables. Any simple Ramadan decor goes a long way into making your iftar feel special. 

            Make it meaningful

              After eating iftar, consider adding Islamic activities that can benefit everyone's deen. For example, I made chai tea for everyone as we sat in the living room watching islamic lectures and taking notes. Then, we played Islamic trivia from these flashcards on Amazon. I also had the 99 Names of Allah flashcards to finish off the night with more knowledge about Allah swt. Doing this was the most meaningful part of the night since everyone can leave the iftar with something more than just food.


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