بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Spare a Thought for the Poor!

TASK: Before you read the following, think about how much food your families throws to the rubbish after iftar.  Think about how many people you could feed with the leftovers of your iftar?

Ramadan is the month of fasting. It is nothing unusual about Muslims fasting in Ramadan. But there are a few Muslims whose fasting is quite noteworthy as compared to the other Muslims who keep their fast.

Shakil Babu, a coolie works for 14 hours everyday to earn Rs 200 daily in the hot tropical climate of Mumbai. During Ramadan, Shakil has no respite in spite of fasting throughout the month. "The most difficult part is the afternoons ,when the heat is maximum and I do not have any shelter over my head to cool down. Most often after Zuhr (afternoon prayers), the work pressure is maximum which makes me dehydrated", says Shakil.

When you read the story of Shakil Babu, how does it compare to your own? Write down the differences and similarities using two columns with the headings 'similarities' and 'differences' between your situation and Shakil Babu.

What about those who live in filthy slums? Sabira Begum, a housewife has a 10x10 santy at Sankli Street in south Mumbai. Her major worry in Ramadan is a clean space for the prayers and reciting Quran. "Many times, I have to hunt for the clean space in the slums. Usually we women of the area offer prayers in a madrasa nearby, but in Ramadan, the men usually take rest there, depriving us of our only clean and spacious space for Namaz. Since no mosque in the area makes any provision for the women, we have to wait till the last moment for the Namaz,"confesses Sabira.

In the west, the homes are very beautiful and have many things which Muslims living in different conditions do not have.  Think about how many places you can pray in your house.  Maybe you can pray your taraweh salah in a different room everyday!

Abida, a domestic worker works in four houses. In Ramadan, her schedule becomes very hectic. The timing of every household changes as per the individual's convenience. She has to start work around 9 am in the morning which continues till 9 in the evening. "Usually, I complete my work around 5 pm. But in Ramadan, the employers insist that I work after Iftar to wash the utensils. After Iftar and offering Magrib, I rush to work. That's the most difficult part. As after Iftar, I feel urge to relax for half an hour, but I cannot as otherwise, I will be late and sacked," said Abida.

Could you make a timetable for Abida, which she maybe able to complete her work and have time to worship Allah during the important month Ramadhan?

Zahid, 32, a hand-cart puller operates from textile market in south Mumbai. It is business as usual in Ramadan also till around 3 pm in the afternoon for him. "Every day in the afternoon, when I am very exhausted in Ramadan, I decide that I will skip the fast next day as many times it is the unbearable heat which tires me, after having carried heavy loads. But once I go home and relax, I thank Allah for letting one more day pass without any major incident and decide to fast the next day'', he said.

Do you ever get the urge to break your fast, or not fast at all?  Why do you think this happens to you?  Write a brief explanation as to why you think this happens.

The spirit of these Muslims from the deprived sections of the Muslim society is quite appreciable and a lesson for those who inspite of having all the facilities do not fast in Ramadan. Most of them when asked what keeps them going despite heavy odds said that the spiritual pleasure they feel after Iftar makes them forget all the pain and they eagerly wait for the Sehri (pre-dawn meal) the next day.

Let us all do our best this Ramadan to fast and worship Allah (swt)

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