Breaking fast with inmates
That may be a cliche for many but those incarcerated behind bars knows the value of Ramadan more than ever.
They relish to fast and break their fasts with families and friends. Muslims in prison wish they could listen to the Quran during Taraweeh or get new clothes for Eid.
Today I organised an iftar dinner with such men. Around the table were folks of varied backgrounds. One man said he fasted for two weeks and then weakened out. He is sorry and wanted to know how he can make it up. I said Allah forgives all sins and after Ramadan you could fasts the missed ones. Another brother said he was working in laborious construction and could not fast. He wanted to give away his hard earned dollars in charity instead. I said that is the spirit behind zakat in Ramadan- to empathize when you give charity with the needy but Islam doesn't want you to give away all your wealth, only 2.5 % after savings. Yet another wanted to know why Muslims fasts without drinking water. As their Imam, I mentioned that the thirst of summer is sometimes harder than the hunger of the long hours. All in the metamorphosis of the soul, as one takes 30 days usually to develop a habit, so too we character build kindness through our disciplined fast of one month.
The best though was the brother who had spent his last days behind curfews and conditions so he may be successful when he leaves for home. Today he returned to participate in the iftar dinner, serving us with his own hands gladly. He said that he had prayed for this day when that he could return the favors to this Christian run organisation, that had provided halal meals to him daily. As a Muslim he is so grateful that even if he has a single grain of rice he must not eat all of it. He wants the men to see that they too can do it! He used take the bus three hours to work and one hour to mosque so he could make his return to civil society meaningful, the way the new moon of Eid makes us all joyous and gives meaning to our entire Ramadan- time of recompense. Today I can say my journey with men and women behind bars was like the New Moon of Eid!
Never judge the date without a bite!
Eid Saeed and Kulli aam wa antum bikhair!