It is a fact. Every year, during Christmas-New Year period, Muslim Businessmen in Malawi reduce prices of their commodities and pay their staff in time for them to prepare the celebrations in time. But in the month of Ramadan, they don’t mind or even dream of reducing the price of a packet of Sugar.
As I am writing now, there is no any shop owned by Muslim businessman that has reduced prices for its basic items like Sugar, Milk and some other things which Muslims use for Iftaar. If there is any then I stand to be corrected but then the problem might be that they have not done noise like the way the do during Christmas time.
To make things worse, some of them have even not paid their staff in time so that they may be able to buy iftaar for their family as well as relatives. Not that some of the institutions, companies or organisations have no money, no, but i’ts a habit as this happens every year. It has now become the order of the day.
This is not just a violation of their rights but a psychological torture – caused by fellow Muslims for that matter.
Some may argue that still, there are other people who consider their employees during this month, yes, but very few – may be 5%, so we always follow the majority rule.
We understand that most of their customers are not Muslims, as most of the Muslims are poor that’s why may be they don’t reduce the prices. But as Muslims, they ought to be exemplary. By the fact that most of the Muslims are poor, is it that not enough reason for them to reduce the prices for Muslims to be able to buy one packet of Sugar for [Iftaar]? Instead, they reduce to the rich people as it happens during the Christmas and New Year festival season.
As if this is not enough, you will find some of the Muslim employers distributing hampers to other Muslims from outside while their employees are suffering – without giving them even a single park or just a salt to put into their porridge.
So just imagine how life can be for that person? You receive a low salary/wage, you have not been paid in time, no advance, and at the same time you haven’t even given an iftaar hamper.
May Allah forgive us.
I can remember one hadith of our Prophet (SAW) when he advised his ummah not to go outside to give charity to other people while their families or their Muslim neighbours are suffering. This hadith was also concurred by Mufti AK Hussein on Radio Islam few weeks ago when he was conducting a live phone in programme. During the programme, one caller asked the Mufti if it is a ‘sin’ for the employer to give Zakah to his employees. In his response the Mufti said no and quoted the Prophet’s hadith. He said as long as the recipient is a Muslim, then there is no any problem.
But how many people who follow this hadith?
Brothers and sisters in Islam, there are some other things which we see as minor here on earth but it may have impact on the day of Qiyaama. You can’t let your fellow Muslim suffer in this holy month of Ramadan, failing to buy Iftaar yet you do some favours to non Muslims.
Where is the Muslim brotherhood?
Of course, looking at the history, some may argue that these brothers are in the country to conduct business not anything to do with Islam, yes, but as long as they are Muslims, they have to be exemplary like some do by constructing masajid, schools etc. But this should not just stop there, they need to consider the welfare of the people who are employed in those institutions for them to get the full blessings from Allah.
Let me also take this opportunity to advise my fellow Muslims that we should stop begging. We have a tendency of begging during this month of Ramadan. There are others who have all the resources but you still see them on the doors and offices of our Asian brothers. No, this is not healthy as it gives a bad picture.
We should not forget that the best hand is that giveth than that receives.
May Allah be pleased with us all, open our eyes and ears and increase our imaan. Ameen.
Views expressed in this article are solely for the author and does not necessarily reflect to the views of Malawi Muslims Official Website