Ramadan In A Time of COVID-19: Feeding the Poor and Less-privileged, By Murtadha Gusau
Friday, Ramadan 8, 1441 AH (01/05/2020)
In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Bestower of Mercy
All Praise is due to Allah, and may the Salah and Salam be on Prophet Muhammad, his household, and the noble Companions and those who follow them until the Day of Resurrection.
Dear brothers and sisters, many people may ask about the importance of giving food to the fasting person(s) to break their fasting especially during the month of Ramadan and in covid-19 lockdown. Here are some of the good and pleasant rewards associated with that good deed as can be understood from some shari’ah-based texts:
Imams Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi narrated from Zaid Ibn Khalid that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever breaks the fast of a fasting person will have a similar reward without diminishing the reward of the fasting one in any way.”
• Breaking the fast of a fasting person is considered one of the best deeds.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) that:
“Among the best of all deeds is to make your faithful brother happy, or to repay his debt, or to feed him bread.”
• One may feed a fasting person to protect himself from Hell-fire.
Adiy Ibn Hatim narrated from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) that:
“Guard yourself from the Hellfire even with half of a date in charity. If one cannot find it, then with a kind word.” [Al-Bukhari]
Imam Ibn Rajab said:
“Whoever gives out of charity to the worshippers of Allah, Allah the Almighty will give him manifold blessings and grants; for you reap what you sow!”
Earlier Muslims understood the importance of feeding other fasting persons and were, therefore, keen to observe that good deed. Ali Ibn Abu Talib (May Allah be pleased with him) said:
“To invite a group of my companions to eat a portion of food is dearer to me than going out for the market to buy a slave then set him/her free.” [Al-Bukhari]
Abul Siwar al-Adawi once said:
“A group of people who belong to the Banu Adiy used to perform the Salah (prescribed prayer) in this Mosque and none of them has ever broken his fasting by himself (all alone); when one finds someone to share the food with him, he eats, or, he brings his food out into the Mosque and share it with others.”
One of the righteous earlier Muslims once had a desire for some type of food and he was observing fasting; at the time of Maghrib (sunset), the food was brought to him and he heard a beggar saying: ‘Who would lend the Ever-Rich, the Ever-Plentiful, the Ever-Affluent?’ The righteous man said, ‘His slave who is void of good deeds [will do]!’ He, then, handed over the tray of food to the beggar and slept overnight on an empty stomach.
• Preparing food for the fasting family
In the same vein, when a wife prepares the food for her husband and children, she has to purify her niyyah (intention) in order for her to gain the great reward by Allah the Almighty. This is attested to by the following Prophetic Hadith:
It is reported that Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) said:
“We were with the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) in a travel. Some were fasting and others were fast breaking. The fast breaker girded themselves and did double the work as the fasting persons. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: ‘The break fasters went today with the reward.’” [Muslim]
Though those companions were not observing fasting, they gained all the reward. So, what about those who serve the fasting person while s/he himself/herself is observing fasting like him/her?! There is no doubt that his/her reward will be duplicated. We may also say that many men have been deprived of this reward and good deed that has been peculiar to women alone. Therefore, a Muslim woman should purify her intention while preparing the food for the fasting family. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was reported to have said the following:
Khalid Ibn Zaid Al-Juhani narrated that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever gives a fasting person food to beak his fasting, will have the same reward as his, without diminishing the fasting person’s reward in any way.” [At-Tirmidhi]
Respected brothers and sisters, as you are carrying out your Ramadan preparations, keep in mind the many Muslims around the world who are less fortunate than you are. Our Ramadan fasting experience will, In Shaa Allah, be eased by the good Suhur and Iftar we eat daily, and once Ramadan is over, we will no longer be going hungry every day. However, many Muslims are unable to afford the nutritious food they need to sustain them after a hard day of fasting.
Whether they are refugees or IDPs who have lost their homes and livelihoods, widows who are struggling to provide for their children, or families devastated by war, conflict and epidemic, they will be going hungry well beyond iftar time.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever feeds a person breaking his fast will earn the same reward as him, without anything being lessened from the reward of the fasting person.” [At-Tirmidhi]
In this month of seeking mercy and forgiveness, providing Iftar is the ideal way to maximise your efforts and get the most out of these thirty days.
This Ramadan, lose the weight of your sins by providing Iftar to the needy and those under the COVID-19 lockdown. Help them ensure that they stay nourished and healthy during this blessed month.
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“(O people!) Save yourselves from the (Hell) Fire even if it is with half a date (given in charity), and if you cannot find that, then (save yourselves by saying) a good word.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Some of us can’t afford to host big Iftar dinners, donate Iftar to the Mosque, or feed a poor family for the month. That doesn’t mean we have to miss out on the rewards of providing Iftar. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) encouraged his Companions (RA) to give as much as they could, even if it was only a drink of water.
You can double the reward of your fast for as little as 100 Naira per day – so don’t miss out! The most important thing is that you are sincere in seeking reward and forgiveness.
Feeding the fasting is an act of charity that is highly favoured in the eyes of Allah, particularly in the month of fasting. It allows Muslims that are struggling to make ends meet, feel apart of the wider community and not left out as a result of being unable to break their fast.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) mentions the favour of those who feed the fasting in the following Hadith, while speaking about the blessed month of Ramadan:
“He who performs an obligatory act of worship within it will be rewarded like he who performs seventy acts of worship at any time outside this month. It is the month of perseverance – and perseverance is rewarded with Jannah (Paradise). It is the month of compassion, in which the sustenance of a believer increases. He who feeds a fasting person within this month has his sins forgiven and he will be protected and released from the hellfire. He also gets the reward of that person’s fasting without decreasing the reward of the fasting person.”
Then the companions, may Allah be pleased with them, said:
“O messenger of Allah! Not all of us can find the extra food needed to feed another fasting person.”
So the Prophet (Peace be upon him) responded:
“Allah will give you the reward of feeding a fasting person even if you were to give him just a sip of milk, a date, or a sip of water. He who feeds a fasting person until he is full, Allah will make him drink out of my river, a sip of which will never allow him to be thirsty until he enters Jannah.”
Then he continued:
“…This is the month the beginning of which is mercy, the middle part is forgiveness and the last part of it is release from hellfire.” [Al-Baihaqi]
Imam Ibn Taimiyah mentions:
“What is meant by giving him Iftar is giving him enough to satisfy him.”
The righteous predecessors (Salaf) were keen to provide food for others and they thought that this was one of the best of righteous deeds beloved to Allah.
Many of the Salaf used to give up their Iftar for others, such as Abdullah Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), Dawud al-Ta’i, Malik Ibn Dinar and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal. Ibn Umar used to only break his fast with orphans, the poor and needy.
There were among the Salaf those who used to offer food to their brothers whilst fasting, and they would sit and serve them, such as al-Hasan and Ibn al-Mubarak.
Abu al-Siwar al-Adawi said:
“Men from the tribe of Banu Adiy used to pray in this Mosque and not one of them would break his fast on his own; if they found someone to join them they would eat with him, otherwise they would take their food out to the Mosque and eat with the people, and the people would eat with them.”
From the benefit of providing food for people stem many other acts of worship such as creating love and friendship towards those who are given the food, which is a means of entering Paradise, as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“You will not enter Paradise until you truly believe, and you will not truly believe until you love one another.” [Muslim]
The great companion Salman Al-Farisi (RA) narrates from the Prophet, the great reward associated with doing voluntary acts in the month of fasting:
“He who performs any righteous voluntary act within it, will be rewarded like one who does an obligatory act at any time other than during Ramadan.”
There aren’t many acts much better than relieving the hunger of your fellow fasting brethren or poor people under the covid-19 lockdown, so capitalise on the rewards in this blessed month and help feed a fellow fasting person around the world. And if you cannot feed the people food due to the covid-19 restrictions, then you can personally send money to them so that they can buy the food, or you can donate the money to a reliable and sincere Islamic center as they can arrange how the food will reach the targets In Shaa Allah.
Beloved servants of Allah, wallahi this is one of the best time to give charity, especially food, money and other basic human needs. Don’t hesitate to give as much as you can please.
May Allah accept our Du’a/supplications, fasts and prayers in this blessed month.
May Allah, the Exalted grant healing to all those tested positive of this Coronavirus epidemic and may He restore back peace and security in our dear country, and continue to protect the health of all the Nigerian citizenry and the world at large.
O Allah, to You is due all praise; and to You is all dominion; and in Your Hands is all good. To You returns all affairs, the open of them and the secret. Most worthy are You of being praised; most worthy are You of being worshiped; and most worthy are You of being obeyed.
O Allah, praise is due to You for You have created us, have provided for us, and have taught us. You have guided us, and relieved us and dispelled us of our worries.
Praise is due to You for [the blessing of] faith (Iman); praise is due to You for Islam; praise is due to You for the Qur’an; praise is due to You for [the blessings of] family and wealth and good health.
You have seized our enemies, and made manifest our safety; and from all that we have asked You, Our Lord, You have [responded to us] and given to us.
Praise is due to You for this, praise that is generous and abundant.
Praise is due to You for every blessing You have bestowed upon us, whether old or new, specific or general, living or dead, apparent or hidden.
Praise is due to You until You are pleased, and praise is due to You after You are pleased. Praise is due to You in the beginning and the end. La Ilaha Illallah… we worship none but [You], sincere in faith and devotion, though the disbelievers dislike it.
O Allah, we seek Your help and we seek Your forgiveness. We attribute all goodness to You. We are grateful to You and refuse to be ungrateful to You; we abandon and forsake all those who reject You. O Allah, You alone we worship, to You alone we pray; to You alone we prostrate, and for You alone we strive; and to You alone we flee for refuge. We hope in Your mercy and we fear Your retribution. Verily, Your punishment is bound to catch up with those who reject the truth.
Glory be to [Allah,] the One Who is donned with glory and proclaims with it.
Glory be to He Who dressed Himself in honour and bestows it graciously.
Glory be to He besides Whom there is no other worthy of glorifying.
Glory be to the Possessor of Grace and Munificence.
Glory be to the Possessor of Generosity and Munificence.
Glory be to He Whose knowledge encompasses all things.
O Allah, guide us along with those whom You have guided aright; and grant us well-being along with those whom You have granted well-being; and protect us with those whom You have protected. Bless for us all that You have given us; and save us and keep away from us, by Your mercy, any evil that You have decreed. Verily You decree and none can decree over You. And none is abased whom You befriend, and none is honoured whom You oppose. Blessed are You, our Lord, Exalted. To You, O Allah, all praise is due for what You have decreed, and to You, O Allah, is due all thanks for Your blessings and bounty. We seek forgiveness from (You) Allah for all of our sins and mistakes, and we repent to You.
O Allah, apportion to us such fear of You as should serve as a barrier between us and acts of disobedience; and such obedience as will take us to Your Paradise; and apportion for us a share of certainty that will make it easy for us to bear the hardships and tribulations of this world. Allow us, O Allah, to enjoy our hearing, our sight and our strength as long as You keep us alive, until we pass away; grant us retribution, but only from those who have wronged us, and do not put over us, due to our sins, an authority that does not fear You in regards to us nor shows us compassion.
O Allah, do not let worldly affairs be our principal concern nor the ultimate limit of our knowledge; do not make the Fire our abode, and make, O Allah, Paradise our home and final dwelling place, by Your Mercy, O Most Merciful of those who show mercy.
O Allah, we ask You for guidance and piety, virtue and richness.
O Allah, we ask You [to grant us] the performance of good deeds, and restraint from the forbidden, and love for the poor. [We ask] that You forgive us and have mercy on us, and that if you will for a people to be tried by tribulation (fitnah), that You grasp us to You, and prevent us from being from among them.
O Allah, we ask you for Your love, and the love of those who love You, and the love of those deeds that draw us close to Your love, O Lord of Majesty and Honour.
O Allah, grant our souls piety, and purify them, for You are the best to purify them, and You alone are their Guardian and Master, O Lord of Majesty and Honour.
O Allah, accept our repentance, wash away our sins, respond to our Du’a/supplications, make firm our proof, guide our hearts, straighten our tongues, and remove rancor and ill-feeling from our hearts.
O Allah, enrich us with forbearance; ornament us with knowledge; honour us with piety; and beautify us with well-being, O Lord of Majesty and Honour.
O Allah bless us in our hearing, our sight, and our hearts; [bless for us] our spouses and our children, and accept our repentance, for You are the Oft-Relenting, Most Compassionate.
Make us thankful for Your blessings, declaring our praises and gratitude for them, and expressing that in our speech; and complete and perfect [such blessings] upon us, for You are the Benevolent, the Generous.
La Ilaha Illallah… [Praise] proportionate to the amount of creatures who walk on earth and on its steps. All praise is due to Him in Whose Hands are the keys of relief and refuge.
Our Refuge when all doors are closed… and all means (of escape) are cut… and a barrier lies between us and our families and companions…
O You besides Whom there is no other lord to call upon, nor angel to whom one’s request is deferred, nor intercessor that is beseeched. O You Who only increases in generosity and munificence with every request … Who only increases in graciousness and benevolence when presented with large amounts of [people’s] needs.
Allow us to taste the coolness of Your Pardon.
And the sweetness of intimate discourse with You.
O Allah, we have been tending to the responsibility of fasting and standing in prayer during this month, with so many shortcomings from us, and we have, by this, fulfilled from Your rights only a tiny portion from a lot.
O Allah, have mercy on us, one and all – and grace the evildoers among us for the sake of those who do good.
O Allah, forbid the Fire from [touching] our skin, for it cannot bear [its torment], O Lord of the Worlds.
O Allah, we seek refuge in You from the punishment of Hell-Fire; Its punishment is indeed an affliction grievous; evil indeed is it as an abode and a place to dwell.
O You Whose Forgiveness is Vast and Encompassing… O Our Lord…
Is there, in existence, a lord other than You to call upon?
Or in the universe, a god (ilah) other than You in whom one can put their hopes?
Or a judge other than You to whom a complaint can be raised?
Who else can we cry out to in distress, when You are the Most Knowing, the Powerful? To whom else can we turn, when You are the Most Generous and the One Who Conceals? Who else can we seek victory from, when You are Our Protector and the One Who Grants Victory? Who else can we ask for rescue, when You are Our Protector, The Irresistible? Who else can mend our affairs, when You alone are the One who mends hearts? Who else can forgive our sins when You are the Merciful, the Forgiving?
O You who knows every secret and every innermost thought…
O You Who is The First and the Last, The Apparent and the Hidden…
O Refuge of the Seekers… Beloved of the Lovers… Comfort of those who are cut off… O Companion of those who remember you… O You Who is with the hearts of the broken-hearted… O You Who fulfills the needs of those who petition You… O You Who accepts the repentance of the penitent… O You Who relieves the distressed of their hardship…
We ask You, O Allah, to accept our supplication, and raise our ranks [in Your Sight and in Paradise], to forgive our sins, to respond to our yearnings, to conceal our faults and overlook our misdeeds.
O Allah, O Lord of Majesty and Honour… O Unique One, O You Who is Singular and Free of Want, O Supreme and Irresistible Subduer, O Oft-Relenting One…
We ask You, O Allah, by every name that belongs to You, by which You have named Yourself, or that You have revealed in Your book, or You have taught to any of Your creation, or that You have preserved with You in Your knowledge of the unseen,
that you make the majestic and noble Qur’an the blossoming spring of our hearts,
and the light of our chests, and the means of removing our sorrows, and dispelling our sadness and grief, and our driver and guide to You and Your Gardens – Gardens of Eternal Bliss.
O Allah, make us among those who care for its ordinances and the pronunciation of its words; do not make us among those who care for the pronounce of its words, but ignore its ordinances.
O Allah, Ramadan has announced its departure; so please make it also a departure of our sins and our deficiencies and shortcomings, O Lord of Majesty and Honour.
O Allah, bring solace to our hearts upon separating from this month. O Allah, return this month to us again over many years and numerous times, while we are in good health and well being and expansive provision, O Lord of Majesty and Honour.
O Allah, forgive all the Muslim men and women who have passed away, and all the believing men and believing women; those who bore witness to Your Oneness and to Your messenger with his message; and who died upon that.
Oh Allah, forgive them and grant them Your mercy; pardon them and be generous with them; bless their arrival, and make wide their entrance; comfort their loneliness; and exchange their [earthly] home for a better home, and their [earthly] spouse for a better spouse. O Allah, cleanse them of their sins and mistakes just as a white cloth is washed of dirt, and wash them with water and snow and hail.
O Allah, send down upon their graves light, spaciousness and happiness, until they become in the depths of their graves tranquil and content, and on the Day of Judgment among those who are safe [from Your punishment].
O Allah, move them from the narrowness of the grave and dwelling of worms to the eternal gardens; around thornless lote-trees, clustered plantains, and long extended shades.
O Allah, grant us mercy when we reach where they have reached, under casket and soil, alone. O Allah have mercy [and relieve] our feelings of estrangement in this life, and our loneliness in our graves, and our fear on the Day of Judgment. O Allah have mercy upon us when we stand in abject humility before You.
O Allah, please accept our supplication and respond to it; O You whose mercy is vast and expansive, please grant us our request.
O Allah, give us a plentiful share from the good of this world and the hereafter which our knowledge and actions are too deficient to attain, and our supplications have missed.
O Allah, send peace and blessings on Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as You have sent peace and blessings on the family of Ibrahim.
O Allah, make us arrive at his Hawd, and bestow on us his intercession, and resurrect us as part of his group. O Allah, purify us by our sending prayers upon him. O Allah, please grant him as an intercessor for us. O Allah, please make him one who gives us to drink from the Hawd. O Allah do not prohibit us from his company in the Gardens.
O Allah, we ask you for fear of You in secret and in open; and we ask You to help us speak the word of truth whether happy or in anger; we ask you for moderation whether in poverty or wealth. We ask you for coolness and comfort to our eyes that does not abate; and we ask You for blessings that are never exhausted; and we ask You for the coolness of life after we have died; and we ask You for the sweetness of looking at Your Noble Countenance, and for longing to meet You without difficulty or trial, O Lord of Majesty and Honour.
O Allah we ask You for steadfastness in our affairs, and strong resolve in [seeking] right-guidance; we ask You to grant us gratitude for our blessings, and the best and most beautiful of worship.
And we ask You, O Allah, for a sound heart, and a truthful tongue; and we ask You for goodness You know, and to protect us from evil You know, and we seek Your forgiveness for what You know (of our deeds), for You are the Absolute Knower of all that is unseen.
May Allah in His Infinite Mercy safeguard us, heal the infected patients of Covid-19 and all sick all over the world, and remove the epidemic entirely from the surface of the earth. Ameen.
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.