© 2024 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

During Ramadan, Muslims opt for pre-dawn comfort food


For Zoya Ahmed, nothing says Ramadan like pancakes before dawn.


That's because every year during the Muslim holy month, she gets together for a pre-dawn breakfast, known as suhoor, with a group from her mosque in Fredericksburg, Va.

ZOYA AHMED: We always go to IHOP once, sometimes twice a Ramadan. And it's just a tradition now. And we've been doing it for, honestly, as long as I can remember.

MARTIN: The same goes for Hira Qureshi. She wrote about it for the Cherry Hill Courier-Post in New Jersey.

HIRA QURESHI: Being Muslim American, I think it plays into that identity. I want to have American breakfast for this holiday that I celebrate, and it kind of combines those two identities for me.

MARTÍNEZ: Zoya Ahmed says she recently went to an IHOP in Pakistan, and everything on the menu was halal, or permissible in the Islamic faith.

AHMED: It was like a whole new world of, like, oh, my God, I can order whatever I want. I can order chicken. I can order steak. Oh, I can get any of this.

MARTIN: Mohammad Ashraf started offering a halal menu at his IHOP franchise in Southern California back in 2009.

MOHAMMAD ASHRAF: We couldn't accommodate people on every Friday and Saturday night. People were sitting in the parking lot by the sidewalk and eating halal food, and it went viral.

MARTIN: So he added a weekend buffet and outdoor seating.

ASHRAF: They're overwhelmed because they are going to a mainstream American restaurant and having halal food.

MARTÍNEZ: Ashraf says at a time when Muslims are fasting from dawn to dusk, the chance to share a meal before sunup with lots of food choices can be especially meaningful. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Journalism at this station is made possible by donors who value local reporting. Donate today to keep stories like this one coming. It is thanks to your generosity that we can keep this content free and accessible for everyone. Thanks!