OUTLOOK — By Majed Al Sulaimany —
♦ O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become God-fearing. — The Quran, 2:183
♦ Ramadhan is the month in which was sent down The Quran as a guide to Mankind, and clear (signs) for guidance and judgement (between right and wrong). So everyone who is present (at his home) during that month, should spend it in fasting. — Al-Baqarah 2:185
♦ When the month of Ramadhan starts, the gates of the Heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.
I was watching this Al Jazeera Television programme showing how the economy is hard-hit and the poor families in certain countries in Europe were coping in their daily lives. Associations that help the poor and needy have sprung up. These associations buy food and contribute for the worthy cause of feeding the needy. In actual fact, without these campaigns many of the families would have gone without their daily needs!
The donors contribute good edible food packages — some may have dented tins or unpacked wraps — but the food is still edible and good. Some food that are nearing expiry dates and would have ended up in dustbins are routed to homes that could still use them with no fear of being bad and or expired.
In one of the countries they even give just average and good food to cater for different tastes and categories in people. Some of the people have lost their homes and volunteers have offered them temporary homes and shelter. It is all so moving and touching especially when you see the children tucking in with their parents eating together as a last touch of humanity, respect and dignity!
The shops and supermarket chains that are involved advertise these noble causes so that those who are well-off and can afford it can go shopping to supplement and support the programmes. What is so touching is that all kinds of people are helping and volunteering in these programmes — from students to professionals — and even doctors and those in the high echelons in the corporate world — from youngsters to even the old and sick too! They are all in these together as one, in joint mind and heart.
I thought to myself that these people can teach us a lot of things for some of us are an unmoved and uncaring lot! Especially the rich well-off family run businesses. Though some of them still do care but not to the rate and levels that their grandparents did!
I remember a long time ago when I went to the showroom of one car agency and the man at the door gave me an envelope, thinking I was one of the poor people gathered there to collect. He was surprised when I returned it back and told him that he got it all wrong, which he complimented because I looked all dressed up and dignified! But it was a great learning experience because this old man (may Allah rest his soul in eternal peace Amin) had his heart in the right place — wanting to share his quickly got riches with others who are lesser advantaged and poor.
The poor man insisted I take the envelope and give it to any poor man I knew! The money inside at that time was still significant. What touched me more was the envelope was plain and did not carry the company name nor logo!
Two years back I had gone to our poorer relatives still in Tanzania. There my eyes were opened to the artificial and hypocritical lives that we have here. It was lunch time and there was extra food cooked for the others who were lesser-advantaged and more poorer than them to come to eat. When I raised a voice as to why they were doing this when they themselves were in need their shock, awe and disbelief was plainly visible for me to see ‘for even thinking’ like that! The part that really eats me out are the other religions — non-Muslims participating to help poor Muslims fast in this month!
You just have to go to the dustbins and see the food that is thrown away. Even the cats and dogs are choosy about which food and from which house to eat or ignore! I was always wondering why especially in the month the Baladiya trucks come in twice a day instead of only once! And then we have homes that are looking for food — what food they can get and or afford — to break their fasts. But the real eye opener and the most heart rendering and painful are the state of the children who go out looking for food!
Some of us for sure can help out by doing more than what we are doing now, not forgetting the maxim that do with the right hand that even your left hand does not know about! I can share with you that when some of our relatives come to our homes to break the fast they are shocked to see so much food provided — especially when they see how many people are there in numbers vis-à-vis the found amount — quite high, unrepresentative and high!
I have this morbid fear that one day we will be hit hard by Allah’s anger and fury for wasting food and the artificial and fake lives that we are leading, and the competition, and all the show off that we practise!
We surely can learn a lot from others. Please think of the lesser advantaged starting around you, at the home villages, at poorer families abroad — and those in war-torn areas like Syria, Palestine, Somalia, Niger (drought) and so many other Arab and Muslim countries and even minority Muslims in other countries and so also others worldwide. Time to open our eyes to see, ears to hear and our mouths to speak!
May Allah protect and preserve us all — Amin. Take Care!