I thought I understood the healing power of food during Ramadan – until I cooked with refugees who’d lost everything

Most of us can’t imagine the horror of being forced to flee our homes due to war. But food is often the balm that we need to soothe our souls when we feel lost. As a Muslim chef, I’m holding on to that

Asma Khan
The Independent Voices

Like all Muslims around the world, during Ramadan, I enjoy breaking my fasts with a sumptuous meal surrounded by family and friends.
Since my childhood, I remember Ramadan as the month in which the whole family got together and ate in the evenings. At sunset, there could be as many as 50 people eating in my house. It was completely chaotic but great fun – so many happy memories.

The day of Eid at the end of Ramadan is particularly special. I’ll be spending the morning with my sons and then go into my restaurant, Darjeeling Express, to distribute traditional sweets to my team.

Asma Khan (middle) cooking with two refugees ( Islamic Relief/Alice Carfrae )

But I’ll also be thinking about the time I recently spent in Jordan with Islamic Relief UK, meeting refugees from Palestine and Syria. Ramadan is an important spiritual time when we reflect upon the world and our place within it and how we can best help those less fortunate than ourselves.

Wherever Muslims are in the world and whatever their circumstances, sharing a meal together with loved ones is incredibly important, which is why I can’t stop thinking about the women we met on that trip. Women like Umm Zaid from Palestine, who struggle to put a meal on their family’s table.

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