Fruits for the Week

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Among other blessings, fasting brings enormous economic benefits for the Muslim community. During the month of Ramadhan, the rich people very generously on the poor to win the pleasure of Allah. Their generosity and charity enable the poor section of the community to receive sufficient funds during this month to meet their needs for at least a part of the year.

Muslims make every effort to do more good in this month than during the rest of the year, in the hope that their efforts will be rewarded many times by Allah. The month of Ramadhan is a month of blessing and the Muslims spend more, following the tradition of their Messenger (saw), in order to attain more goodness from their Lord.

Ibn Abbas reported that the Holy Messenger (saw) was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadhan. Abu Hurairah reported Allah’s Messenger (saw) as saying:” When the first night of Ramadhan comes, the devils and rebellious jinn are chained, the gates of hell are locked and not one of them is opened; the gates of Paradise are opened and not one of them is locked, and crier calls, you who desire what is good, come forward, and you who desire evil refrain.”

Salma Al-Farisi told Allah’s Messenger as saying on the last day of Sha’ban:” A great month, a blessed month. If someone draws near to Allah during it with some good act, he will be like one who fulfils an obligatory duty in another month. It is the month of endurance, and the reward endurance is Paradise. It is the month of sharing with others, and a month in which the believers’ provision is increased. If someone gives one who has been fasting something with which to break his fast, it will provide forgiveness of his sins and save him from hell. It is a month whose beginning is mercy, whose middle forgiveness, and whose end is freedom from hell.”

The Muslims, especially those who are rich, give a share of their wealth to the poor in order to seek the blessings and pleasure of their Lord. The Ramadhan helps all in obtaining something in it; the poor get some money to meet their economic

need from the overflowing charity of the rich, while the latter hope to get their reward from their Lord in many forms.

Then people, who owing to sickness or old age, cannot fast, are asked to feed the poor in compensation. Many rich people who are sick or too old to fast lavishly feed the poor in the month of Ramadhan. Allah said:” For those who can do it but with hardship, is a ransom, the feeding of one that is in need. But he that will give more, of his own free wills, it is better for him.” (Al-Baqarah: 184)

The Holy Prophet (saw) according to Abu Hurairah and Ibn Abbas, told those who could not endure fasting to feed a poor person for every day they did not fast. Permanently sick people are also permitted, according to the above-quoted verse of the Qur’an, to give fidya (food to the poor) in compensation.

At the end of Ramadhan, there is the festival of Eid-al-Fitr, when Muslims gather together to offer a two rakat Eid prayer as a token of gratitude and thanksgiving to their Lord for having successfully completed the month of fasting.

But it is obligatory on every Muslim, man and woman, to pay zakat al-fitra to the poor for every member of the family, including babies and children, before going to Eid-al-Fitr.

Ramadhan and the festival of Eid will not benefit Muslims unless first they enable the poor members of the community to have enough money to celebrate the festival. The holy Messenger (saw) laid great stress on the payment of fitra before the celebration of Eid al-Fitr. He even told his followers that non-payment of this poor due will render their fasting null and void.

In short, the month of fasting has great economic benefits for the Muslim community, especially for the poor. It brings the blessing of Allah in the form of wealth and food into the homes of poor people.

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(Prepared by Afzalur Rahman)