Taste Ramadan: True sacrifice, is when you give up that which you love

More than a hundred mosques across the UK have signed up to Taste Ramadan 2019.

An exclusive editorial by the Myriad Foundation explains the spiritual reasoning and the social benefits behind their national ‘Taste Ramadan’ campaign, which takes place tomorrow across the UK.

How many times have we given something to someone else with no strings attached and no expectation of getting something in return? You may feel quite proud in the thought that you have done so many times, but did you really? More often than not we give to others with an expectation of favour; thinking that at some point in the future this individual will be able to help me in some way or other. Alternatively we give but we don’t give the best of what we could have given – instead opting to give away something we wouldn’t really miss.

It’s important to reflect that when giving, one gives in a manner that is free from expectation and to be hopeful in securing the pleasure of Allah. Not only is that deed more likely to benefit the giver in reward from Allah but it also places less of a burden on the one who receives it. When asked by a companion as to which charity was best the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) replied to the effect that the best charity is when you are “ feeling stingy, fearing poverty and hoping for wealth…” [1] .The meaning of which is that at the point where you feel least inclined to give, when you need or want that thing most yourself, is actually the best time to give and that is true sacrifice. Essentially giving to others what you yourself hope to have kept and used for yourself.

The month of Ramadan is an auspicious month and Muslims find it a time when the feeling of God Consciousness is noticeably high. The month brings with itself an abundance of rewards but also a substantial measure of difficulty. To leave food, water and conjugal relations – basic human needs in any society, in addition to the comfort of the bed at night, all take considerable patience and perseverance; especially during the long summer days. To refrain from bad language, gossip and deceitful behavior is difficult on even the most normal of days, yet this is enforced to greater degree during the fast – when one is already sometimes towards the end of their tether. Therefore it is during this time especially, that acts of kindness, charity and endearment posit a purity and sincerity that resonates heavily on the scales of good deeds.

With the recent act of terror in New Zealand still fresh in our hearts and minds, the Muslim community have dressed their wounds and seem to be doing what it has always done; lift itself up and resolutely marched forth. We’ve never been great at playing the victim or counting the coins of misfortune – and in large part it’s because we are a proud nation and more importantly because we “…expect from Allah that which they expect not…” [2]

We find a crucial example in the Sunnah where a lady, standing by a grave and weeping, was consoled by the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) to be patient and adopt God consciousness. Unfortunately, she responded in somewhat harsh terms, unbeknownst that it was the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam). When she later learned who it was she, regretful of her earlier outburst, went to clarify and was advised that “Verily, patience is at the first strike.”[3]

Even when we want to shout, scream and lash out at the double standards by which Muslims are measured in society coupled with the sheer hypocrisy of blame-stream media, we console ourselves in the remembrance of God and respond in a manner befitting of the Sunnah; as opposed to natural human inclination. It is in such a befitting response, do we do ourselves and our religion proud. It is through sacrificing the self do we as a nation seek to purify ourselves and reach ever closer to God Almighty.

In similar vein a Manchester based Islamic organisation, Myriad foundation, are running their 3rd consecutive Taste Ramadan event and they’ve remarkably managed to get the whole of the British Isles in on the act. While parliament can’t decide whether to leave or remain, the Myriad Foundation have succeeded in taking a unifying approach and attracted Mosques from as far as the Outer Hebrides all the way down to the south coast. The concept is simple but somewhat ingenious at the same time.

Mosques in over 65 cities will be hosting their non-Muslim neighbours, guests, friends and dignitaries to an Iftar meal. Some cities, such as Liverpool are planning to host a collective event at the iconic Liverpool waterfront, made up of 6 mosques within the vicinity, in collaboration with the local council. The mosques have complete autonomy to deliver the events as they please and the Myriad Foundation is offering their very unique blend of servant-leadership to make sure Mosques have the support they need.

So, this Ramadan, come Saturday 18th May, instead of eating at a restaurant or at home encourage and invite a couple of non-Muslim friends to share the experience at a local mosque taking part in the national event. When you’re thinking of reaching for that ice cold beverage or that sizzling samosa, take a moment to think – it has been well over 16 hours since you ate or drank anything and after getting home from the Tarawih prayer the night before; you could certainly do with a nap too.  However, at that moment when you feel like you deserve this meal more than anyone else, stop; pass the plate to your non-Muslim neighbour and ask them if they would care to truly ‘Taste Ramadan’.

References:

 [1] Abu Huraira reported: A man came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, which charity has the greatest reward?” He said, “When you give charity while you are healthy, feeling stingy, fearing poverty and hoping for wealth. Do not delay giving until the time of death and then say: give so much to so-and-so. It already belongs to so-and-so.”

Source: Sahih Bukhari 1353

[2] Noble Quran 4:104

[3]  Anas ibn Malik reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, passed by a woman who was weeping next to a grave. The Prophet said, “Be mindful of Allah and be patient.” She said, “Go away from me! You have not been afflicted by a calamity like mine,” and she did not recognize him. Then, she was told that it was the Prophet, so she went to the Prophet’s house and she did not find any guards there. She said to him, “I did not recognize you.” The Prophet said, “Verily, patience is at the first strike.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 1223, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 926

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