Ramadan 2011 – Somalia’s Drought is Our Test
It has been almost a week through this year’s Ramadaan and let us admit it. Many of us like this great month and virtuous time not only for the inner peace we experience from our increased devotion to Allah, but from all the good food we get to eat. It’s a common sight every Ramadaan, where you see Muslims writing the names of all the tasty items of food they had or will have for iftaar, as their status updates on many of the modern day social networking sites.
Many of us are blessed to be able to walk into our kitchen at any time and open the door to a refrigerator full of food throughout the year.
Our mouth just waters from thinking of the savory breads, appetizers, entrees, and desserts that seem to be part of the reward for staying hungry all day.
But Apart from such delicacies, fasting in Ramadaan has other blessings and responsibilities too.
Increase in brotherhood, mutual love, care, and generosity and charity towards the poor and the needy is a blessing of the month of Ramadaan. During the month long fast of this holy month, the Muslims who have these blessings are encouraged to turn our thoughts to those less fortunate in life who feel that hunger and thirst throughout the entire year. This should create a sense of empathy so that we may provide the necessary aid and charity when a need is determined.
Muslims are supposed to think and care about those less fortunate than them, those who do not have loving fathers and mothers to care for them and provide them with nutritious meals and soothing comfort, those women who no longer have caring husbands to provide for them and protect them, those families that do not have the wherewithal to afford such meals. These meals are supposed to be meals of gratitude and meals of sharing, not of decadent luxury and wastefulness. These meals are supposed to be simple and modest because they are accompanied by charity and giving and sharing anything that is not necessary ought to be given away to the poor and the needy.
Those who fast during the day and experience the pangs of pain are supposed to remember the hunger and deprivation of those who starve out of poverty and helplessness. Those who pray during the night next to each other are supposed to be one brotherhood— all members of which are like one body, and when any of its members gets hurt, all the rest of the body feels the pain. Hence, these nightly prayers in congregation remind the believers of each other and their rights upon each other. None of the Muslims, therefore, is forgotten, and no one overeats, overspends, or overindulges—because they give all they can in charity to those who need it.
Yet, is this what really happens?!
In the midst of all these good foods, we have forgotten that there are many who can’t freely eat whatever they want, they don’t have such a vivid choice to make, because – they don’t have anything to eat at all !
O brethren! There are crises all over the world and the most recent to catch the news is the drought in East Africa (Horn of Africa). Your own Muslim Ummah is suffering.
Situation in East Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Etritrea, Djibouti)
Poverty has become extreme: children are dying of starvation, pregnancies are resulting in miscarriages and farmers’ livelihoods are being destroyed. Six out of 10,000 children are dying every day – one child dying is too much
Many mothers along with their children say they have walked for a month on bare and bloodied feet to refugee camps inKenya. Journeys of more than 300 miles are common. In their search for food and water, they have slept for weeks on burning sand under open skies, they are looking for help in the refugee camps – not everyone survives the journey. Those who do, are faced with the sound of crying, disease and death around them in the camps,
One third of the children are malnourished – their skin is shrinking on their bodies, infants are crying all day, babies too weak to lift their hands
Water is now so scarce that the governor of the Middle Shabelle region, Abdullahi Moalim Hussain, recently said: ‘Water is so expensive in the area that people are being buried without being washed, which is compulsory in Islam.
In the strict sense a famine means people are starving on a massive scale, aid organizations do not use it lightly to describe a humanitarian crisis. It is usually up to governments to declare a famine. But in the case of Somalia, the UN stepped in because of the lack of central government. [BBC News]
Hear The Somalian’s Speak
And even though Islam allows the ailing to eat, for many Somalis it’s a matter of faith to participate in Ramadan’s fast.
Others, like Mohamed Mohamud Abdulle, are ashamed they don’t have food “to console the soul” at sundown after fasting all day.
“How will I fast when I don’t have something to break it?” asked Abdulle. “All my family are hungry and I have nothing to feed them. I feel the hunger that forced me from my home has doubled here.”
“I cannot fast because I cannot get food to break it and eat before the morning,” said Nur Ahmed, a father of six at a camp for displaced people in the Somali capital,Mogadishu, whose wife died last year during childbirth.
“Because of the famine, we’ve been going for days without any food,” 25-year-old Mohamed Dubow Saman sheltering in Dadaab camp inKenyatold Reuters.
“That was a fast without reward. At least this fast is inspired by God,” Saman said.
“This is how we enter Ramadan, it will be difficult,” Abdi said, adding that in previous years he would have broken a day’s fasting with meat, rice, pasta and dates.
Meanwhile, Saman turned his thoughts to prayer. “We’ll worship here, right by the tents. In our situation, you can’t even dream of a mosque,” he said.
Far from Prophet’s (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) teachings
How far have we come from the teachings of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) who said that you are not a believer if you sleep well-fed while your neighbor is hungry- how many believers are hungry, deprived and needy while many overspend, make choices for iftaar and suhoor and waste away their food and clothing in ostentation and wanton competition?!
Is this the Ummah of the noblest of men, Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), sitting back and watching their brothers and sisters in Faith suffering such immense pangs of death and hunger?
Is it the Ummah of the Qur’an, where we make choices about what to eat and what not to, while there are your own Muslim brethren, dying to get a sip of water?
There are Muslim countries in which tons of food is wasted away annually, enough to feed a continent of hungry people, and then there are Muslim regions in which people routinely starve to death or kill and get killed for scrapes of food!! This is the state of the followers of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) who was more generous than the wind which indiscriminately gives anyone and everyone.
Ibn ‘Abbaas (radhiallahu ‘anhu) narrated that “the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was the most generous of people, and he (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was at his most generous during Ramadhaan… at that time the Messenger of Allah would be more generous than the blowing wind.” [Bukhari :: Volume 1 :: Book 1 :: Hadith 5 and Muslim :: Book 30 : Hadith 5718]
Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said that “Any Muslim who gives a garment to a Muslim to wear will be in Allah’s safe-keeping as long as a shred of it remains on him.” (Tirmidhi, 2484).
This was an indication to the fact that there will be no room in paradise for those who are stingy or who only wait to receive and not give and when someone is in direct need of help, there should be room in your heart to give something to that needy person since “the most excellent charity consists in your satisfying a hungry stomach” (Baihaqi in Shuab al-Iman).
Our example, the Messenger (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would give the last morsel of food that he (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) had, and the last piece of clothing that he (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) had on. While we Muslims today have become some of the most divided nations in which the disparity of the wealth in the world is the greatest!
11 Million !
Imagine that over 11 million people are threatened with starvation. ELEVEN MILLION!
It’s hard to imagine that number. So instead, think of a family member, someone dear to you. What if your own children/brother/sister/parents etc were there Think of them, their skin caving in on their body, creeping inwards every day, wrapping around their bones, making the dreaded outlines that we see in news pictures like the one below.
Imagine their throats drying up, tongues lacking saliva, the strength being drained from their arms and legs, day by day. The lack of food and water sapping their will to live. It’s hard to concentrate because of the headaches, the aches and pain throughout their body. And on top of that, is the sound of those around you. Thousands of people around you. All in pain, all suffering, all facing the stress of not only themselves, but their loved ones… dying in their arms. They can’t do anything about this.
Allah sends us these trials. Why? So that we can sit from the comfort of our plate-filled Iftaaris and put the images of these people aside, whilst we enjoy our meals and pretend to ourselves about how well we did to get through the fast that day?
No, O brethren! No!
… And how many Muslims need to die before this Ummah wakes up?
We await Sunset To save us from hunger and thirst by breaking our Fast. They are waiting Angel of Death to save them from hunger and thirst !!
Remember what Allah told us:
“The Believers are but a single Brotherhood.” [Al-Hujurat 49:10]
People are in desperate situation, they are dying of starvation and those families who are forced to journey in search for aid, food and water, if they arrive bi’ithnillaah (with the permission of Allah) may do so with many members of their families, particularly the children lost and buried along the way. The sole reason of the mother embarking on this harsh journey the children, they perish before this very journey is complete. With fathers often absent or deceased, the mother is left to bury her children and she continues her journey, distraught, to the refugee centre in Northern Kenya.
Shaykh Yasin (UWT Head of Operations in Somalia) says, ’They have lost everything, except the deen of Allah which is still strong, walhamdulillah!’
Nu`man bin Bashir (radhiallahu ‘anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever“. [Muslim :: Book 32 : Hadith 6258]
We are also being tested; and Allah in His infinite Mercy is also giving us an opportunity to increase our ranks. But as members of the Ummah of Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), we have to take a step forward. The reality is that the people suffering today are being tested by Allah with hunger and thirst; and their ranks will surely increase because of this:
“Spend (in charity) out of the sustenance that we have bestowed on you before that time when death will come to someone, and he shall say: “O my Lord! If only you would grant me reprieve for a little while, then I would give in charity, and be among the righteous” [The Holy Quran, 63:10]
Give Sadaqa Oh Muslim Ummah !
Ramadan should spur us into action to being REAL MUSLIMS. And that means helping those less fortunate than ourselves, not simply remembering them nor watching them on TV. It is only a click away to donate some money to help your brothers and sisters across the world. Your donation can save their lives.
Giving ‘Sadaqah’ (charity) is one of many ways we show our belief in Allah. You give the best of what you have, whether it is money, advise, time, or a kind word. Even if you have less than you did in years past, if you have a home, loving family, and friends, and can meet your basic necessities, thank Allah and continue to share your wealth through actions and deeds with others. Recognizing our responsibility to those who are truly less fortunate are the ties of a living faith that bind our community.
Allah certainly believes in rewarding cheerful givers. The more you give the more you shall receive. For instance, when Allah says in the Qur’an:
“The likeness of those who spend for Allah’s sake is as the likeness of a grain of corn, it grows seven ears every single ear has a hundred grains, and Allah multiplies (increases the reward of) for whom He wills, and Allah is sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower).” [Qur’an, 2:261]
“Those who (in charity) spend of their goods by night and by day, in secret and in public have their reward with their Rabb (only God and Sustainer). On them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.” [Qur‘an, 2:274]
“…that which you give for charity, seeking the Countenance of Allah, (will increase); it is those who will get a recompense multiplied.” [Qur’an, 30:39]
Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: ‘Whoever gives charity equal to a date from good earnings – for Allah does not accept anything but that which is good – Allah will take it in His right hand and tend it for the one who gave it as any one of you tends his foal, until it becomes like a mountain.’ [Bukhari :: Volume 2 :: Book 24 :: Hadith 491]
This is virtue, and how wonderfully it’s stunning vitality-and the breath taking dynamism of its incalculable reward, Surah al-Insan captures in motion. Take a moment to read and release:
Verily, the Abrar (pious, who fear Allah and avoid evil), shall drink a cup (of wine) mixed with water from a spring in Paradisecalled Kafur. A spring wherefrom the slaves of Allah will drink, causing it to gush forth abundantly. They (are those who) fulfill (their) vows, and they fear a Day whose evil will be wide-spreading. And they give food, inspite of their love for it (or for the love of Him), to Miskin (poor), the orphan, and the captive, (Saying): “We feed you seeking Allah’s Countenance only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you. “Verily, We fear from our Lord a Day, hard and distressful, that will make the faces look horrible (from extreme dislikeness to it).” So Allah saved them from the evil of that Day, and gave them Nadratan (a light of beauty) and joy. And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments, because they were patient. Reclining therein on raised thrones, they will see there neither the excessive heat of the sun, nor the excessive bitter cold, (as in Paradisethere is no sun and no moon). And the shade thereof is close upon them, and the bunches of fruit thereof will hang low within their reach. And amongst them will be passed round vessels of silver and cups of crystal, Crystal-clear, made of silver. They will determine the measure thereof according to their wishes. And they will be given to drink there a cup (of wine) mixed with Zanjabil (ginger, etc.), A spring there, called Salsabil. And round about them will (serve) boys of everlasting youth. If you see them, you would think them scattered pearls. And when you look there (in Paradise), you will see a delight (that cannot be imagined), and a great dominion. Their garments will be of fine green silk, and gold embroidery. They will be adorned with bracelets of silver, and their Lord will give them a pure drink. (And it will be said to them): “Verily, this is a reward for you, and your endeavour has been accepted.” [Qur’an 76:5-22]
Atleast Make Du’a
These people cannot do anything more to help themselves. It’s time for us ALL to act.
Brothers and sisters, WE are being tested by this famine – not just the people in Somalia and Kenya and Ethiopia. WE ARE. Let’s be successful in this test.
The quickest prayer to be answered is one’s du’a for his brother in his absence.
Umm Darda’ reported: My husband reported that he heard Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) as saying: He who supplicates for his brother behind his back (in his absence), the Angel commissioned (for carrying supplication to his Lord) says: Amen, and it is for you also. [Muslim :: Book 35 : Hadith 6589]
The least you can do for your own Muslim Ummah suffering the pangs of hunger and death in East Africa is to make du’a to Allah for them, to remove the anguish and the plight of our brothers in Somaliaand to grant them with beneficial sustenance.
Think, What if you were in Somalia?!
Where to Donate?
It’s not too late to help – please help now, please help today
£1 can help feed a family for ONE day, £10 can feed a family for TEN days, £30 will feed a family for the MONTH OF RAMADAN,
Please give generously – think about your hunger this Ramadan, think about their hunger every day, which does not stop with an iftaar.
You can donate to the cause via the below given links insha’allah:
Ummah Welfare Trust