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sehri - the last meal just before sunrise – they eat fairly rich and sumptuous food.

After a long day’s work and fasting - many curry restaurant staff finish work past midnight - Muslims devote themselves to 30 rakat (30 times standing, bowing and prostrating including time spent at reading parts of Quran at each standing) with prayer. It is testament to their dedication that curry restaurant staff from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan – totalling about 100,000 all over England – along with restaurant owners serve millions of curry lovers to their complete satisfaction despite being very hungry - and tired. It is the spirit of Islam that makes it possible.

This issue of Spice Business is published during the holy month of Ramadan, a period of observance for Muslims that is followed by one of celebration. During Ramadan Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset every day. The purpose of


fasting is mainly to pray and build up the habit of abstaining from all kinds of temptations and sins so that Muslims can become more righteous and virtuous.

As a restaurant employee explains: “We are continually committing sins by making false excuses, not keeping promises, getting angry with people, showing our unpleasant emotions, showing disrespect to others and backbiting, and so on. By fasting we should build up the habit of abstaining from these routine sins as well as food and drink. At the end of the day when Muslims break fast they derive unprecedented joy from defeating all these sins – if

Spice Business Magazine they really have.”

Fasting is not unhealthy for most people, although those taking medication or who would be made unwell can be exempt. There is some medical evidence in fact that fasting can be good for health.

The length of a Ramadan day varies according to season because it follows the lunar and not Gregorian calendar. So this year it takes place in August, but next year will be around one month earlier. During summer Ramadan days are long - this time it will last from around 4am to 8.35pm - but in winter it can be relatively short.

Muslims break fast - Iftar- with foods and drink like lassi, lemon sherbat, dates, chholey masala and green chholey, jilapi, aloo chop, begoni, piaju, and khichuri which they normally do not eat or drink at any other time of the year. Even for late night dinner and early morning

16 August | September 2010

About three weeks into the month a different kind of joyous mood grips Muslims when they start planning the purchase of gifts for family members. One month of arduous fasting leads to the most enjoyable festival of Eid, which lasts for three days. Before Eid, Muslims have to give away a certain portion of their earnings as Zakat and Fitra for the poor and needy all over the world.

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