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Tharid (lamb stew) recipe for Ramadan

Although I am not a practicing Muslim, I have read those portions of Islam’s holy book, the Koran, concerning the consumption of food and drink, all in service of my ongoing interest in the nexus of religion and food. I also have read the same in the sacred texts of other religions, notably Christianity and Judaism.

In the Koran, my favorite passages about food are about what Allah states about food quantity and its quality. Of the former, “Eat and drink, but not to excess.” And of the latter, “O you who believe, eat the good things that we have provided you.”

But I’ve learned, further, that the Islamic understanding of the goodness of that which is provided goes beyond, for example, the Hebrew idea that the Lord God causes food to grow for our good or benefit, or the Christian belief that if God created it, it must be good or worthy.

In the Koran, “good things” means not merely those foods either allowed or prohibited to the faithful; it also means “good quality” foods. Allah commands us to cook with good quality ingredients in our recipes. Again, I’m not a practicing Muslim, but I’ll buy that.