Eid: A moment to reflect [Archives:2006/992/Viewpoint]

October 19 2006

Did you know:

– One in twelve people in the world is malnourished.

– Every year, 15 million children die of hunger – more than 41 thousand per day.

– Nearly 1.3 billion human beings live on less than one dollar a day, while about 3 billion struggle to survive on less that $2 a day.

– A human being dies of hunger every 3.6 seconds.

– To satisfy the world's sanitation and food requirements would cost $13 billion dollars – about what the people of the United States and the European Union spend on perfume, each year.

Every year, Muslims around the world keep a fast for one month in Ramadan. For us, it is a good time to reflect on the meaning of hunger and the pain many people go through around the world involuntarily.

We teach our young children to keep fast during this month and we feel sad for them as they starve for a few hours each day. But do we really think of the 15 million children actually dying of hunger every year?

Now that we are celebrating Eid and congratulating ourselves and each other for accomplishing the long fast, we should not forget those who will continue their involuntary fasting.

Eid for Mulsims is a happy time. Our teachings need to stay with us all year and not just for Ramadan and Eid. The very first thing our religion teaches us to do on Eid is to take out what is called Zakat al-Fitr – food to the needy.

In fact, we are also encouraged to go on fasting for six more days in the next month after celebrating Eid. Like a final reminder until next year when Muslims prepare again for the month-long fast.

The world is not a very nice place to live in these days. Wars, oppression, torture, abuse, crime and a lot of violations against human rights. Let our fasting remind us of our duty to extend a helping hand to the needy and to make our world a better place to live.