Have you seen him who belies the rewards and punishments of the Hereafter? He it is who drives away the orphan and does not urge giving away the food of the poor. – (107:1 – 3)
While hunger in the land of plenty is not a new phenomenon, the last few years of economic turmoil have worsened matters for the poor in this country. As unemployment has soared and bankruptcies and foreclosures have increased, the ranks of the poor have swelled to alarming proportions. So we find ourselves in the anomalous situation that one out of every six people in the richest nation on earth, is today living below the poverty line.
How can we as Muslims sleep contentedly while in our neighbourhoods and our backyards, in our towns and counties and state and country, our neighbours go hungry? And if we do so, then can we call ourselves Muslim?
On any given day, a staggering 870 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat, and the religion of Islam works to combat that staggering statistic. Feeding the hungry and helping the poor is an integral part of the Islamic faith — every year, its followers are required to pay an obligatory charity tax to help those in need. Throughout the Holy Qur’an and Hadiths (which are a collection of sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad), the Muslim is called to feed the hungry and help those in need, regardless of race, religion or background.
In Quran, attitude of the giver is elaborated as;
Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah and do not follow up their spending by stressing their benevolence and causing hurt will find their reward secure with their Lord. They have no reason for fear and grief.
Feeding people in general and a hungry person, in particular, has been explicitly mentioned in the command of the Messenger of Allah.
Anas related that the Prophet said: If any Muslim plants something or sows seed from which a man, a bird or an animal eats, it counts as a charity for him. -Bukhari, Muslim
The act of worship of feeding the hungry gives rise to many other acts of worship such as showing affection towards one’s fellow Muslims whom he feeds and this can be a reason for him granted Paradise.
It also gives rise to (the act of worship) being in the company of righteous people and hoping for the rewards of Allah The Almighty in offering them food as they gain strength to perform acts of worship.
We know that serving people and serving our environment go hand in hand – especially when it comes to the food we eat. Prophet Muhammad said that the believer’s shade on the Day of Judgment would be his charity. Humility in giving is strongly encouraged in Islam.
Let us all become people who follow the above advice of the last Messenger of God Almighty!