Thinking Of Food Waste In Ramadan
For the past few days, Muslims have welcomed the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a special month when Muslims carry out their duty of fasting.
The month of Ramadan is a blessed month for many reasons. Besides performing fasting, Muslims have the opportunity to obtain rewards for other good deeds such as helping others, sharing food with neighbours, maintaining cleanliness, speaking good words and avoiding wastage.
Ramadan also promises various opportunities to gain Allah’s rewards, but unfortunately, some of our poor attitude and habits may spoil the prospect of attaining Allah’s blessings. One of the bad habits is food wasting.
Based on The Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SW Corp) data on food waste, the amount of food wasted in Ramadan is 15 to 20 per cent higher than the average month. In 2015, Malaysians produced 15,000 tonnes of food waste daily and 3,000 tonnes were food that was good before it was thrown away. That 3,000 tonnes of food were able to feed 2.2 million people.
The study by SW Corp also found that households generated the highest percentage of food waste (38.4 per cent) compared to wet markets (24.5 per cent), restaurants and dining halls (23.3 per cent) and hotels (6.88 per cent). Thus, households, which refer to families, make up the major contributor of food waste in Malaysia.
The high wastage of food also means that an amount of money has been wasted on buying food. The SW Corp research shows that a household of five spend about RM900 a month for food and a quarter of the food is wasted during preparation, cooking and consumption. The wasted amount of money is about RM225 and in a year, the amount is worth RM2,700. This shows that we have wasted so much food and money which is contrary to the teachings of Islam.
In Islam, there are many verses in the Quran and numerous hadiths on eating and matters associated with it. Food is seen as not only to fulfil one’s need or hunger, but also as something that benefits our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Additionally, food is also something that connects humans to The Creator through the sense of dependency, gratefulness and responsibility.
In the Quran, there is not any verse that directly deals with food waste. However, some Quranic verses could be a guidance to shape the human attitude towards it. For example, in verse 31, surah al-A’raf, Allah SWT says, “O Children of Adam! Dress well every time you go to a place of worship (or at each performance of worship). And eat and drink, but do not be wasteful.” Thus, Muslims are advised to avoid wasteful or squandering acts and in this sense, wasting food is one of them. Allah SWT also warns us that a wasteful act is regarded as following “in the footsteps of Satan” (Surah Al-An’am, 142) and certainly, Muslims do not want to be associated with Satan, a creature cursed by Allah SWT.
In various hadiths, Rasulullah SAW also taught us to be mindful of our food. The Prophet taught us to eat moderately, that is, ‘Umar narrated that Allah’s Apostle said, “A believer eats in one intestine (is satisfied with a little food), and an unbeliever or a hypocrite eats in seven intestines (eats too much)” (Bukhari). In addition, Muhammad SAW also taught us to share our food with others especially the unfortunate, to finish our food when eating and to be grateful for the food we have.
To avoid wasting food, Muslims must uphold the true teaching of Islam especially moderation in buying, preparing and eating food. In order to achieve that, planning what to buy and eat is crucial. We must have certain skills to manage our food. Thus, we should learn the skill in order to be a good consumer and to avoid wastage.
Lastly, we must try our best not to waste food. Remember that, it is not easy to produce food. There are people who endure hardship in order to provide the food on our table. Rasulullah SAW reminded us that, if some food were to drop while we are eating, we should just remove anything filthy from it and eat it and it should not be left for the devils, as we do not know which part of the food the blessing lies (hadith by Muslim).
Food is a blessing from Allah SWT, thus do not waste it. Even more so in the glorious month of Ramadan, we must make an extra effort to avoid wasting food.