One of the blessings of Ramadan is that it allows us to empathise with those less fortunate than ourselves; to appreciate, through our own sacrifice of food and water, what life might be like for those who are already going hungry or thirsty on a daily basis. The experience of fasting allows us to better understand their burden and to feel more intensely a responsibility to relieve their suffering.
The Prophet (saw) mentioned this blessing of Ramadan in a khutbah he gave the night before Ramadan, stating, 'It is the month of patience (Sabr), and the reward for patience is Paradise. It is the month of sympathy with one’s fellow men'. (Ibn Khuzaimah)
Because of this sympathy, sharing our food is a hallmark of Ramadan. Whether we are blessed enough to donate a community Iftar to the masjid, or whether all we can give is a simple meal to our neighbours, many Muslims around the world will make an effort to give food and water to others during this blessed month.
Sharing food is a simple action with incredible rewards. By giving food to those in need, we gain the food and drink of Jannah:
'And they give food, in spite of love for it, to the needy, the orphan, and the captive. [Saying], "We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We don't want from you either reward or gratitude. Indeed, we fear from our Lord a Day austere and distressful"'. (The Noble Qur’an, 76:8-10)
In Surah Insan, Allah (swt) describes a type of people who give their food to those who are in need, purely for His sake. It is not important how much food they give; rather, what is important is their sincerity in wanting to please Allah and be in His Presence. As a direct reward for giving food, Allah promises:
'So Allah will protect them from the evil of that Day and give them radiance and happiness. And He will reward them, for what they patiently endured, with a Garden and clothes of silk'. (The Noble Qur’an, 11-12)
Thus, the blessings of giving food to the needy are incredible - Allah’s protection on the Day of Judgement, the happiness of His pleasure, and the reward of Jannah. Allah further goes on to describe the wealth of what they have gained through the simple action of giving food:
'Reclining therein on adorned couches, they will not see therein any (burning) sun or (freezing) cold. And the shade of the (Garden) will come low over them, and its bunches (of fruit) will hang low [i.e. within reach]'. (The Noble Qur’an, 13-14)
Allah is generous beyond our imagination. All we have done is donated food to the needy, costing us a few pounds of money, a few minutes of time. This simple action is repaid with relief from ALL worldly problems and distresses, even heat and cold, as well as the food and drink of Jannah, which is far, far better than the food we shared.
Aisha (ra) narrated that they had slaughtered a sheep, and after distributing it, the Prophet (saw) asked, 'What remains of it?' She said, 'Nothing remains of it except its shoulder'. He (saw) said, 'All of it remains except its shoulder'. (Tirmidhi)
This Ramadan, don’t forget that, the more you give from your wealth, the more you gain. Everything that you give is an investment in your akhirah, while everything you hold back is a loss, just like the shoulder of that sheep. Share your food with those less fortunate, and reap the countless rewards Allah has promised.
Muslim Hands is distributing family food parcels in 21 locations this Ramadan, including in Palestine, Yemen, the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh, and the Syrian refugee camps in Turkey and Lebanon. Donate now to ensure families in desperate need have enough to eat in this blessed month.
GIVE a few meals. GAIN the food and drink of Jannah.