By Mudassir Ahmad Qasmi (ViewsHeadlines)
Being able to fast in the month of Ramadan is a blessing from Allah. We are being showered with blessings of this month and gaining spiritual stability in our lives. When our actions are correct and in obedience to the guidance from Allah, the rewards are unprecedented and have the power to change our life for the better.
Every action in this holy month has been promised with multiple rewards. The pre-dawn meal of suhoor has its own blessings besides nourishment. And when one keeps away from eating, drinking and all prohibited actions for the duration of the fast, from dawn to sundown, it has immense physical and spiritual benefits. The recitation of the Quran keeps our hearts peaceful and our minds fresh. The daily five prayers bring us closer than ever to our Maker and the nightly taraweeh gets us the bountiful blessings that are unimaginable.
These are all personal actions that rejuvenate a person during the month of Ramadan. There are also community actions that have been promised with great rewards and bring the community together and strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and peace. One such thing is in feeding those who fast in the month of Ramadan.
Indeed, preparing and taking care of the iftaar (meal of breaking fast at sundown) for fasting believers brings a joy of its own. Islam has taught us to make efforts for the welfare and good of others. The sins of a person, who takes care of the iftaar of a fasting believer for the sake of Allah’s pleasure, are washed away. His salvation is promised when he takes care of his brother in this manner.
Prophet Muhammad saw has been told by Allah that all among us do not have the means of breaking fast. Then will the poor be devoid of the blessings of fasting? And then the Prophet said that the reward of the fasting person will be added to the person who helps him in breaking his fast, without any subtraction from the blessings of the fasting person.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) added that whoever helps in breaking the fast of a person, Allah lets him drink from the Huaz-e-Kausar during the Day of Judgment. It is a matter of great joy that even in such bad times, Muslims have kept this Hadeeth alive and actively help in assisting the poor break their fasts with the best of delicacies.
This is the reason that from villages to every small corner of the country, Muslims take care and make great efforts to decorate the iftaar plate of the family to the iftaar plate of the community with a variety of nutritious fruits and food items. This tradition of serving the community with personal efforts weighs very high in the eyes of Islam.
Another sight becoming common these days is the group of youth in cars or bikes or even on foot carrying food packets and cold drinks before iftaar time to distribute to the needy on the road. They hand out the food packets and cold drinks or water to people who they encounter on the road, who do not have the means to break their fast. Even those who are unable to reach home for the time of iftaar due to work or other reason, are offered food packets and water on the go by these youths serving those who are fasting for the sake of Allah. They take it as what it is: an excellent opportunity to serve others while reaping great benefits for themselves from the Almighty.
Sometimes, those who are well off and can afford a sumptuous iftaar for themselves as well as others, make the mistake of providing some needy with iftaar, but making their own dining table overflow with food, so much so that even all the members of the household are unable to finish it off.
As a result, the leftovers are either thrown off in the dustbin or later on handed off to the poor, which is a degrading experience for the poor in the eyes of humanity and Islam. And then even the act of giving in this way becomes an unpleasant act and is frowned upon because it does not preserve the dignity of the poor.
If the leftover is thrown in garbage then it is the wastage of the bounty granted us by Allah and so it is an act of thanklessness. And even handing over the leftovers to the poor is better than throwing it away, but it is an act that defies etiquette and hurts the sense of humanity. It is because, it is the word of the Prophet that ‘a Muslim should chose for his brother what he chooses for himself’. If you are eating sumptuous meals, then choose the same fresh sumptuous meal for the poor that you intend to give firsthand, not mere scraps disregarded at your rich spread.
This makes us understand that we should only prepare as much as we can consume immediately without generating leftovers. And we should prepare food that in inside the budget, without giving way to extravagance.
Another point to be considered is that it is mentioned in the Hadeeth, “one who feeds the fasting person.” This Hadeeth does not differentiate between the rich and the poor. It mentions anyone who is fasting, disregarding his need or financial status. This leads to the conclusion that taking care of the iftaar for relatives and dear ones is also a means of earning rewards for the Hereafter. But it is necessary that we should give special attention to the needy, poor and deserving who do not even have the means to break their fasts. It is because two purposes are fulfilled in the latter case. One is that we get the reward of taking care of a needy as well as the reward of helping someone break his fast.
The act of helping a needy break his fast is so much encouraged that the companions of the Prophet Muhammad wouldn’t even consider sitting down to break fast alone. They would make sure there was someone needy who was sharing their meal. One such companion was Abdullah bin Umar.
Let us also make efforts to reap the benefits of taking care of our deserving neighbours by taking care of their iftaar. And this way we take care of our community and reap immense benefits in the hereafter.
Translated by Nabila Habib