Ramadan will be upon us in the next several weeks – a glorious month characterised by sacrifice, self-control, will power and getting closer to our creator – Allah.
O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint,-” Qur’an, Surah Al Baqarah 2:183
“Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.” Qur’an, Surah Al Baqarah 2:185
Whilst in the UK the daily fast will last between 19-20 hours every day, let us remember that when the sun sets we will be met with a food and drink – we will be nourished. According to the World Food Programme (the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide), 842 MILLION people in the world do not have enough to eat.
They also offer the following alarming facts:
- The vast majority of hungry people (842 million) live in developing countries, where 14.3 percent of the population is undernourished.
- Asia has the largest number of hungry people (over 500 million) but Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence (24.8 percent of population).
- If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.
- Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year.
- One out of six children – roughly 100 million – in developing countries is underweight.
- 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.
Ironically, the world produces more than enough food to feed everyone; universal agriculture produces enough consumable sustenance to provide everyone with 2,720 kilo-calories (kcal) per day (recommended daily intake is 2,000 kcal for women and 2,500 kcal for men). This therefore means that there is enough food on this earth for every single individual to have a more than sufficient diet yet due to numerous factors, some of which being insufficient land to grow crops and / or a lack of income to purchase food – the undernourished have grown to such an astronomical amount.
As Ramadan begins and we go through the daylight hours without a morsel of food or a drop of water passing our lips, seek solace in the fact that you KNOW when your next meal will be. Be thankful to Allah that you are clothed, have a home and do not have to trudge miles and miles for a glass of water whilst the unforgiving sun beats down on your back, draining you of energy.
Many of my non-Muslim friends, peers and acquaintances believe that what we do for one month every year is commendable – I feel it is necessary. When we are rid of gluttony and having whatever we desire at our fingertips we have time to appreciate the ‘normal’ things in life that we take for granted. We cleanse our minds, bodies and souls and in doing so get closer to our maker – Ramadan is essentially as much of a spiritual rejuvenation as it is a physical test.
This Ramadan, remember how much you have – remember how many people struggle every single day to acquire what we believe is a basic human right.