This month, we’ve given up many things that we would ordinarily think we could not do without. Some of us have heard the comments from some of our non-fasting friends, “There is no way I could do that”. Yet, many of us have found strength inside ourselves that we may have forgotten, or may not have even been aware we had. Some of us depending on where we are in the world have been fasting 16-18 hour days which gives us ample opportunities to feel that sense of hunger and thirst. Yet, again for many of us, we know that at the beginning and end of the day we have the luxury of a meal.
There are many people around the world who do not have this. They fast inside Ramadan and outside of its windows because they have no choice. They have been stripped of their basic human right- to have food to eat to ensure their survival. We must remember that the prophet peace be upon him said, “S/he is not a Muslim- the one who goes to sleep with their stomach filled, while their neighbour goes to sleep with their stomach empty”. This is so critical in parts of the world such as the Horn of Africa, where some parents are being confronted with the horrific choice of deciding which child they have to leave behind to die in order to try and save the others. In other parts of the world, there are those who are affected by war and climate change and so continue to suffer.
As we shift back to our own context, iftar for many of us is a party. We stuff ourselves with food and we overfill ourselves. Many times, not only are we spending extravagant amounts of time preparing food, but unfortunately, food is wasted.
Perhaps one of the things we need to think about this month is to cook less and give more, to cook simple meals and not waste our entire days trying to cook and losing valuable opportunities to do good, perhaps ensuring that our neighbours are ok is of greater significance. We can also prepare food and carry to local shelters or help to feed the homeless around us. THIS is the spirit of Ramadan.
We need to remember that what we have is a gift from God and just as it is a blessing that we have food, in an instant, that could change. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that in our times of need people will think of us and try to assist?
In the same way, let us think of those who are in need and try to help them as well. It is our duty and the right of those who are hungry upon us. Let us not say we are busying ourselves with Ramadan and the last 10 days and deny those in need, their most fundamental right to eat!.