World’s 1.7 billion Muslims will begin the fasting month of Ramadan on Tuesday (July 9) depending on the siting of the moon. The Believers will abstain from food, sex, cheating, lying and other sins from sunrise to sunset, each day for the next 30 days.
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islamic faith. No Believer is exempted from observing fasting under normal conditions. The Believer who cannot observe fasting due to some genuine reason – is required to either fast after Ramadan or donate one decent meal to a needy family for everyday he missed fasting. The fasting is meant to teach the Believers how the hundreds of millions of people around the world feel when they go to bed hungry.
Ramadan is month of giving (charity). According to prophetic saying, there are more rewards for charitable work during this month. Firoz Merchant is one of the Belivers who understand the importance of charity during the month of Ramadan. He has donated Dh 1.5 million to help pay off debt for 1,000 UAE prisoners and return air tickets so they can spend the month of Ramazan with their love ones.
Often going hungry as a child, Karim Firoz Merchant left school at 11 and started a business from nothing. He shared a cramped bedroom with eight siblings in the busy Bhendi Bazaar area of Mumbai. Now, Firoz, 54, founder of ‘Pure Gold Jewellers’, with 125 stores in 10 countries with around 3,5000 employees and an annual turnover of $1 billion. He plans to open a further 325 stores by 2018, including 16 additional duty free outlets.
“We often had to skip a meal as it was difficult for my father (late Gulam Hussain) to make ends meet. But I don’t ever remember despairing about it. My father always told us, ‘This phase is temporary and it will pass’. I believed him because I had an ambition of doing something really big,” says Firoz.
Since he began bailing out prisoners in 2011, Merchant has helped to release 3,700 inmates and paid off around AED3.7m worth of debt.
Prisoners from countries including Jordan, Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and the Philippines have been able to return home.
I would like to conclude this post by a peom on Ramadan below:
A blessed month is casting its shadow upon us
a night of this month is better than a thousand months
Bear with patience for the sake of Ar-Rahman
A continuous training to strengthen our Imaan.
Glory be to Allah who sent Ramadan as a mercy to mankind
Its a purification of our soul, our heart, and our mind
With the most sincere devotion and love we fast
To be cleansed and free from sins of the past
Glorified is He, who choseth this holy month
To test our sabr and fill our hearts with warmth
Of his Divine Light, His blessings shall glow
The Seer of the unseen, all He does know
Ya Allah! For thee, let my breath be more pleasant than musk
Ya Allah! For thee, let me be thankful when day turns to dusk
My thoughts and heart are purified, my eyes truly see
This blessed month, the month of spiritual rhapsody!
Ya Allah! For thee, my life I shall live!
Ya Allah! For thee, my soul I shall give!
In the name of Allah, the most Merciful, the most Kind
Praise be to Allah, who sent Ramadan as a gift to mankind.