Reflection – A bit more than just puffed rice

It’s Ramadan at the moment. For those of you who celebrate, you will know the amazing feeling that overcomes every single one of us during this month. The spiritual side within us is heightened and there is a feeling of togetherness. Ramadan is when we fast from sunrise to sunset for a month. By the end of the day, just before we break our fast and have iftaar, our tongues are dry from thirst, our eyes tired from hunger, our stomachs turning and churning for some food. However, most of us are blessed to know that within a few hours, our dinner tables will be dressed in plates after plates of food. Emotionally and mentally, we know that the food is there – so how hungry do we actually feel?

The reason I am writing about this today is because of a video I saw recently. It came up on my Facebook page. It’s about a family of three – a mother, a father and their disabled son. It’s almost Magrib time as the reporters visit them. The mom, named Jahanara Begum, comes back home from work – most probably from preparing food from someone’s house who can afford to keep her as a maid. Within a few minutes, the father, Azizul Islam, also gets home. Completely drench from the heavy monsoon rain, he doesn’t carry an umbrella but he carries a smile, subhanAllah. Soon it’s time for them to break their fast as the Adhan starts. All they have, in their dark wet room, is a glass of water each and some muri, puffed rice, only about a handful. The reporter asks them what they are going to have for Suhoor, and the mom replies, “some days we eat, some days we don’t. I drink some water and keep the fast, in the name of Allah”.

This video really got to me. It’s not everyday that I get to see these kinds of videos or know about such families. I showed it to abbu and he told me, “Ma, they still have a smile on their face with so little. And they are fasting for Allah. Do you not think Allah loves them dearly? Who’s fast do you think is going to be more dear to Allah?”

So abbu made me think of the situation in a completely different light. At first glance, yes, I felt horrible that there’s so much misuse of wealth in this world and then there is people like Ms. Begum and Mr. Islam and their son. How is this fair? But hey, Allah is the most just, for His name is Al-Adl. Just because someone is well off in terms of wealth does not, in any way, mean they are more blessed or more loved in the eyes of Allah. It might be a test for them for all we know.

Islam is a beautiful religion. Look at what it teaches us – to give to the poor. Every able Muslim is to pay Zakat. It is an important pillar among the five pillars of Islam. Zakat is a part of the wealth and property that Muslims must pay annually, to help the poor of their community. One of the main purposes of Zakat is to keep those who are wealthy clean, monetarily, from sin. It is a form of Sadaqah (charity) which is obligatory on Muslims.

What is saddening is that so many Muslims overlook this order. I have heard stories where people are scared to pay off this money, scared of losing so much wealth. If only they understood that if they don’t pay Zakat, what they earn and spend is not Halal. Their kids and families are then using money that is haraam. Forget about what punishments you might get for that in the Hereafter, think about this duniya, this world. Do you really think that there will be any blessings in their life? That they will be happy? People despair when things don’t go their way. Reflect on your life. Have you done what Allah has asked you to do? If you are leading a haraam life, do not go blaming Allah for the troubles that befalls you. Also, doesn’t matter if you are a millionaire, if your means is haraam, that money will not stay.

If everyone did pay their Zakat properly, families like that of Mr. Islam might have more than just puffed rice for Iftaar.

May Allah help us follow what is right and give patience and a lot of barakah to families like that of Mr. Islam.

Here is the link to the video:

**Just to clarify, I am not a scholar in any way. May Allah forgive me if I have written something that is wrong. Allah knows best.**