With only 10 days of Ramadan left, we asked our country manager, Fazal Khan, how people observe the holy month in Afghanistan:
'Temperatures here reach 40 Degrees Celsius in the summer so in Ramadan the government offices close early, usually at 3pm. Most men make their way to the masjid for Iftar. Just before Maghrib the young boys of the family will bring their fathers food from home. It isn’t unusual to see over 60-100 dishes spread out between the men as they share the food their wives have made with each other.
The Iftar table of Afghanistan includes a great array of dishes. People usually begin with dates and soup. Then they move onto manto (seasoned mincemeat dumplings), kabuli palaw (rice with raisins, carrots, and lamb) and bolani (fried or baked flat bread with a vegetable filling).
I like to open my fast at home with my family before heading to the mosque. My wife makes delicious samosas! Once I have prayed Maghrib, I head back home for more food followed by green tea and then onto Taraweeh prayers.
In Afghanistan people have their Sahur early. The local Imam will usually call to people through loudspeakers. Our Sahur is much like our Iftar meal. It usually includes rice, meat and cooked vegetables with fresh bread. Most people stay up after Sahur to read the Qur’an.
Of course, for many who are less fortunate, sustaining themselves for the hard day of fasting ahead is a different matter. This is why the Muslim Hands communal Iftars and Ramadan food parcels are so important here. Without them, many families would struggle to provide enough food for Sahur and Iftar'.