Do you care enough?

Perhaps it is time to reflect on our achievements during Ramadan, now that the holy month is coming to an end.

By Akif Abdulamir (Desert Classics)

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Published: Sat 27 Aug 2011, 9:53 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:45 AM

Did we care enough to reach out to the needy or did we just go through the ritual of staying hungry and thirsty just because it is a religious obligation. Have we cleansed our souls with goodness of knowing that we lived another year and enjoyed the bounty of God in the last twelve months.

Are we now reflecting on our achievements and learning something from our mistakes so we can improve our failings by becoming good husbands, wives, children and responsible members of the society? The lines of people sitting on the mats outside the mosques waiting for Iftar is not getting shorter, the world over. Which means, more people very year are in need of food, that some of us, in the comfort of our own homes, take for granted.

The good Samaritans who are sitting all day in the shopping malls waiting for you to drop in money for the poor are wondering whether the faith of Muslims is only limited to prayers, reading the Quran and not eating all day. Perhaps there is a misconception that if you do all that then you would win the grace of God and you do not need to part with your money to help the orphans and those in rags.

These charity boxes come in everyday empty and hardly show any signs of being fuller when the malls are closing. It is the culture of shoppers which takes precedence and the cash ends up in the till instead, as people leave shops with bag full of items, half of them they don’t need. The charity organisers say that people take pain of avoiding the donation stations and look sideways pretending they are not there.

I was joking with my wife that people who actually devote their time raising funds for the poor as they feel the pang of hunger will be in the first line at the Gate of Heaven than those who closed their wallets and slept in the mosques asking for repentance. What a better way of repenting your sins than to put a smile on hungry faces by generously donating to a good cause. Spending excessive time on asking God’s favour or forgiveness is like staying longer in the office then you need, just to earn more money for yourself. That money will not do anybody good but yourself and in a way, there is a question of selfishness if you consider that you could have divided that time to raise funds for the needy.

Am I speaking out of context here? I am not sure but since we share the world with people then the best way to please God is to work for all. Let’s look at it this way, the showers of blessings need to sprinkle on your neighbours and community and what better way than to use your effort and cash to make sure it happens. I am forever amazed that, some people would buy new cars and furniture in Ramadan when their relatives cannot even afford a decent Iftar.

More amazed when such people say that “I work so hard that I need to reward myself” as if God is only favouring them and not their hungry neighbours. When the Imams of mosques say in their sermons that you “are meant to share God’s blessings with others,” they would perhaps answer “others need to work hard too, to get what we have.” Yes, they are right but they would have been more right if they make sure that people around them are properly looked after before they go on a spending spree to celebrate the coming Eid.

Akif Abdulamir is an Oman-based writer

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