In addition to the hundreds of free meals that are being served each night in the huge Ramadan tents, there are droves of donors pulling up outside Fujairah’s Red Crescent this month to make their gifts.
Beyond this there are individuals in Fujairah who organize their own schemes for giving to the poor.
The photo [alongside] shows the line of men that appear between 4.00 and 4.30pm each day outside the Fujairah National Air Travel Agency, opposite the Hilton Hotel on Al Faseel Road. Here the accountant of the business manages the distribution of 100 meals of biryani every night of the month of Ramadan and during the following days of Eid.
This gesture by the Managing Director, Mr. Jahangir Ali Shamsi, brings cheer to many expats residing in Fujairah and probably this saving on the cost of an evening meal over 30+ days, puts 175AED into their pockets.
The Pillar of Zakat
This act of generosity and charity, known as zakat (Arabic: زكاة), is one of the five pillars of Islam in which the well-to-do are required to give to the poor, the needy and the hungry.
To the recipient it alleviates need and to the giver it is a means of spiritual purification from greed and selfishness, which is a part of the cleansing desired in the month of Ramadan.
Who are the Poor in Fujairah?
This question is being asked by the accountant [photo below] as he disputes with a man as to his eligibility. For one thing the man in question has the temerity to jump the queue (a sign of power in this culture) and his collar and tie suggest that he is probably a well-paid clerical worker. After a few minutes this man walked away with his biryani!
When labourers on Dubai’s skyscrapers protested some years ago about their meager salary, the employers disputed that there was any injustice and contended that the salaries and working conditions were fair.
If people are in the UAE on a work visa should they be regarded as poor and destitute? Surely the workers are worthy of their hire and therefore the salaries to all should be sufficient to keep their heads above the poverty line.
If they are regarded as poor and needy what happens for the 11 months of the year when the biryani lines no longer exist and the Ramadan tents have been pulled down? Are they still in need of charity or do their wages suffice? How much are the Ramadan meals given for the poor and to what extent are they given for the benefit of the giver to fulfill the requirements of Ramadan?
Giving that Empowers
Accepting charity, for people with honour and self-respect, can be a harder task than the act of the wealthy giving money or food to the poor.
To be most effective charity must empower the recipient and be given in such a way that maintain a person’s dignity.
Ramadan all Year Long
Providing a special meal does bring joy and this can be a wonderful service.
Implementing a respectable minimum wage that is given every month of the year is also an act of justice that is at the heart of zakat.
Ramadan Hours and the Last Week of the Holy Month, FIF.
I Know I’m Back in Fujairah during at Ramadan when…FIF.
Ramadan a time for Giving in Fujairah, FIF.
What if the Ramadan Fast is broken by eating food or having sex? ETE.
The UAE offers 10,000 dirhams to quit smoking during Ramadan, ETE.
Ramadan up in the air, ETE.
Can a Christian learn from Ramadan? ETE.
Ramadan in Recession, ETE.
Paying and Cancelling Debts this Ramadan, ETE.
Ramadan Increasingly captive to Commercialism, ETE.
What to wear in the UAE—especially in Ramadan, ETE.
Smoking and Dietary Patches Ease the Pain of Ramadan Fasting, ETE.
This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.