LILONGWE – Despite their economic hardships, the Muslim community in Malawi has dedicated the month of fasting to serve poor Muslims in the secular, but diverse religious southern African nation to reduce their suffering during the holy month.
“For a few months running, all Malawians regardless of their religious affiliations have been going through economic pain resulting from the current poor economic situation in the country,” Sheikh Abdu Razak Fattani, Chairperson of Islamic Relief Agency (IRA), told OnIslam.net.
“Muslims and all other Malawians have been pushed to a tight corner. The current situation has reduced Malawians to mere beggars.
“This situation has robbed people of their dignity. It is against this background that we have dedicated the Holy month of Ramadan towards serving the poor, so that we can reduce their suffering as we fast.”
Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, started this year on Sunday, June 29, in Malawi.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
The sick and those traveling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks.
In Ramadan, Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint, good deeds and charity to the poor.
“The current situation is quite painful for people who are fasting. Therefore, through sharing with the have-nots, we can help add smiles on their faces. And Ramadan is the only precious time we are compelled to do that. It doesn’t make sense to fast while some Muslims can’t even afford to eat anything at the break of their fasting.
“Regardless of our statuses, we are all equal as Muslims before God.
“Therefore, we should strive at all cost to reach out to those in economic pain. The current situation isn’t pleasing to the eye. It troubles the soul. We are therefore pleading with wealthy Muslims and all other Muslims who have at least something to spare to help the needy during this time and even beyond,” Fattani added.
Sharing the Poor
According to Fattani, “Fasting: The third pillar of Islam” is the theme for this year’s month of Ramadan.
“The month of Ramadan which we also fondly call the moth of the Holy Quran because, it falls within the period when the holy book was revealed to the Prophet, is the month of charity. Muslims will therefore donate assorted items to needy Muslims during the month,” he said.
“What sets the month of Ramadan apart is the fact that all Muslims including those who are blessed with wealth keep the fast as one way of understanding the pangs of poor people. It (month) offers a strong sense of “environmental brotherhood”. Apart from this, fasting also offers health benefits in that the digestive system also becomes effective,” he added.
Fattani said throughout the month, his charity has lined up charitable activities in mosques and other places where needy Muslims will be given food every day.
Since Ramadan started, needy Muslims have been seen flocking to mosques and other places which have been designated for distribution of foodstuffs.
Esa Arab, Chief Executive Officer for Superior Halaal Meat Company said his company is distributing food stuffs across the country to the needy throughout the month.
“Every year, we reach out to fellow Muslims who are in dire need. We are distributing food stuffs to all needy brothers and sisters. We have the hope that through this way, we will alleviate the suffering of fellow Muslims. This is the time we have to demonstrate love to others through giving,” Arab told OnIslam.net.
“Poverty in Malawi is endemic and this has been aggravated by the current economic situation. Surely as Muslims we cannot stand idle as our fellow Muslims are suffering. If we can’t help them this time, then when are we going to reach out to them?”
Islam is the second largest religion in Malawi after Christianity. Muslims account for about 36 % of the country’s 16 million population.
Malawi has for some time now been implementing major economic reforms to put the country’s economy on track. These reforms have been hurting the majority poor.
According to the World Bank, Malawi is one of the poorest nations in the world with its majority poor struggling to survive on less than US$1 a day.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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