Imagine, for a moment, that there is a refugee camp with a few thousand people seeking shelter and safety. These people are living hand to mouth and are struggling to provide for themselves and their families. Now, a person goes to the very edge of the camp, lights a fire and begins to braai some meat. Then, while thousands of hungry eyes are trained on him – eyes of people who have not eaten meat in weeks – he enjoys and relishes his meal. In doing so, he is completely oblivious to the pain and misery he has brought to all these people who can smell and see his food, yet cannot savour even a single morsel.
If we had to see this inconsiderate person, what would we say to him? HAVE A HEART! If you cannot share, then at least avoid flaunting what you have before those who are less fortunate!
While this example may seem farfetched, there is another example far closer to home – IN our own homes in fact – that of our domestic staff and workers.
Most of us employ domestic workers, and most of these domestic workers come from a disadvantaged background of poverty and hardship. Many of them do not enjoy meat for long periods of time – let alone the decadent desserts and other luxuries that we regularly enjoy. In many cases, items that we take for granted, such as ‘simple’ Marie biscuits, may be viewed by them as a seldom-enjoyed luxury.
When we prepare a scrumptious meal, or we bake biscuits or cake, these staff can not only see the food but have to endure smelling the aroma while they are working. In this situation it is obvious that their saliva will flow and their stomachs will grumble! After all, they are also human and have feelings, just as we do!
Yet, how many of us have the hearts to take a few biscuits, or a slice of cake, or a few pieces of meat, and share it with these workers? What will it cost us to do just this much, when doing so will bring a smile to their faces and cheer to their hearts? Really, it is acts of kindness such as these that will draw these staff closer to Islam, as they will see that Muslims are people of compassion, kindness and generosity.
Often, people do not show this form of kindness to their staff, arguing that they do not wish to ‘spoil’ them. We should ask ourselves that if giving them is spoiling them, then depriving them is ‘torturing’ them, as they have to endure and tolerate the sight and smell of the food that is so near yet so far. It certainly does not behove any Muslim to treat any person in this way, where he brings undue sadness and pain to his heart.
Furthermore, let us look at our own actions and then ponder that if Allah Ta‘ala treated us as we deserve, without spoiling us, where would we be? Can any of us truthfully claim that we are deserving of His kindness?
Finally, by sharing with our staff, we not only bring happiness to their hearts, but also save ourselves from the nazar that could affect us through the staff involuntarily casting gazes of hunger on the food.
Let us all resolve that from today, we will have the hearts to share with our staff, even if it be a small amount, so that their hearts are not caused pain and suffering. When doing so, we should not only give them the unwanted portions and ‘scraps’ (such as the fat, etc.), but should also give them some good pieces of meat to enjoy.
Hopefully, if we do so, Allah Ta‘ala will be pleased with us, and He will continue to spoil us and favour us, aameen.