In the last part of this article series, we looked at the important etiquettes often forgotten at the table when attending or hosting an iftaar party during ramadan, below are tips for both the host and guests to consider:
Rules for Guests:
• Well ahead of the party, notify the host of any food allergy that you have. It is also wise to inquire about the dishes during the party so that you do not end up eating anything which you do not prefer. Prophet Muhammad used not to eat food until he had been told about it or told what it was called, so that he would know what it was. .
• Except for genuine reasons, do not decline any invitation or cancel your attendance at the last minute. Prophet Muhammad said:
“The rights of a Muslim over his fellow Muslim are five: returning greetings, visiting the sick, attending funerals, accepting invitations, and saying Yarhamuk Allah (may Allah have mercy on you) when he sneezes.” .
• Inform the host whether you will be attending or not to prevent wastage of food and to prevent others from waiting for you. Also, inform the host if you think you will be late.
• Always allow the host to take charge. Therefore, start eating only after the host has done so (however, finish before him/her). If you need anything, inform the host. Ask if the host has pre-planned the seating (decided who is to sit next to whom) and if that is the case, sit accordingly. That way, the host feels appreciated for his/her endeavour.
• Finish whatever food you take. Not doing so suggests that you have not really enjoyed the meal, not to mention you will be wasting food.
• Avoid criticizing the meal. If you feel that one dish has not been prepared well, put that aside, and try another one – it is unlikely that all the dishes will fail to cater to your taste-buds! Prophet Muhammad did not criticize food. If he liked it he would eat it and if he did not like it he would leave it. . In addition, if a dish is lacking salt (or any other condiment) according to your preference, then take a spoon of salt (or any other condiment) at the edge of your plate.
• Before leaving the table, seek permission of the host. Try not to leave the table too early. If there is an urgent need for leaving the table, inform everyone and apologize.
• If you feel sick all of a sudden, inform the host and take necessary actions. However, do not panic – imagine the feeling of worry the host may face if you become unwell after their iftaar!
• Before leaving the party, thank the host, praise the food (or anything about the gathering), and make du’aa for the host.
Anas narrated that the Prophet came to Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaadah who brought him some bread and oil, and he ate. Then the Prophet said: “May the fasting people break their fast with you, may the righteous eat your food, and may the angels send blessings upon you.” .
Rules for Hosts:
• It is your duty to ensure that your guest is not bored or uncomfortable. Therefore, try to arrange a seating-plan where you put one shy person next to someone who has a good sense of humour or good communication skills. Furthermore, observe the guests and cater to their needs.
Abu Hurayrah narrated about the story of drinking milk where Prophet Muhammad repeatedly said to him, “Drink!” and he kept telling him to drink until he (the guest) said,“By the One Who sent you with the truth, I have no more room for it!” .
• Inquire about food-allergy. Also, try to serve favourites. This can be easily done if you keep a log of people’s likes and dislikes.
• Avoid cooking too much or too little by preparing a list and estimating the number of guests so you don’t waste a great deal once the party is over.
• Well ahead of the adhaan, keep everything (sufficient napkins/tissues, glasses, plates, etc.) ready at the table. That way you will not be rushing to-and-fro during the iftaar and can sit to make dua peacefully before breaking fast, and the guests will not feel deserted.
• At the table, you should place bone-plates (to prevent the guests from stacking bones at the edge of the plate, which might be an unpleasant sight for others) and condiment-mills (guests may have different preferences for salt and pepper).
• If you have invited the poor, treat them well. “Kind speech and forgiveness is better than charity followed by injury.” . Many people make them sit on the floor or in a separate room, or serve them different food in cheap utensils. Make the poor dine at the same table. If you are not comfortable about their table manners, then at least make them sit in the same room with proper seating arrangement. If done with the right intentions and actions, an iftaar party will not only be a social gathering with impressive manners, but also an opportunity for achieving immense rewards insha’Allah. Share below how your party goes when you follow the ultimate dining etiquettes this ramadan!
 Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5391; Muslim, 1946.
 Narrated by Saheeh al-Bukhaari, 1164 and Saheeh Muslim, 4022.
 Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3370; Muslim, 2046.
 Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3854; Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood, 3263.
 Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6087.
 Qur’an 2:263
About the Author:
Khadeejah Islam, writer at http://www.habibihalaqas.org
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