Ramadan Iftar (Breakfast)

Ramadan Iftar
A Muslim man in London prepares plates for a community iftar during Ramadan. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Definition: A meal served at the end of the day during Ramadan, to break the day's fast. Literally, "breakfast."

Iftar is the meal served at sunset during Ramadan, as Muslims break the daily fast. Muslims traditionally first break the fast with dates and either water or a yogurt drink. After maghrib prayer, they then have a full-course meal, consisting of soup, salad, appetizers and main dishes. In some cultures, the full-course meal is delayed into later in the evening or even early morning.

Traditional foods vary by country.

Iftar is very much a social event, involving family and community members. It is common for people to host others for dinner, or gather as a community for a potluck. It is also common for people to invite and share food with those less fortunate. The spiritual reward for charitable giving is considered to be especially significant during Ramadan.

For health reasons, Muslims are advised not to over-eat during iftar or at any other time. Here are some other health tips for during Ramadan. Prior to Ramadan, a Muslim should always consult with a doctor about the safety of fasting in individual health circumstances. One must always take care to get the nutrients, hydration, and rest that you need.

The other meal during Ramadan, which is taken in the morning (pre-dawn), is called suhoor.

Pronunciation: if-tar

Also Known As: fitoor

Examples: During Ramadan, we sometimes go to the mosque to have iftar, breaking the day's fast with a community meal.