IN this blessed month of Ramadan, Muslims the world over are excited as is evident by their going to the mosques, devoting more time to recite and learn the Quran, as well as donating more in kind and cash to the less privileged.
All these acts are not to be confined to only during Ramadan. Rather, we should exemplify them throughout our lives, but do more during Ramadan.
Ramadan typifies a great institution for life-long learning. Its spiritual impact is great, as well its health, social and economic benefits.
The gist of fasting is about self- restraint and discipline, which should lead to taqwa or consciousness of God (Allah) through abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking, gossiping, slandering and sexual relations from dawn to sunset.
Fasting is also about feeling what the underprivileged experience every day.
A touching story of some people always comes to mind.
Having heard about the importance and benefits of the pre-dawn meal (sahur), they asked if their fasting is valid despite the fact that they have no food to eat.
Certainly, waking up to have one date or palm fruit or a sip of water before fajr (true dawn) suffices as sahur.
Unfortunately, the situation in different parts of the world is mind-boggling.
While some of us can afford to eat different delicacies of our choice every time, some people have no one to provide for them.
Larger populations of people have no means of sustenance. And more than 800 million people, representing one in every nine people on the planet, go to bed hungry every night, according to the Global Health Index.
In other words, larger parts of the world are experiencing severe and chronic hunger.
It is just tragic. Hunger knows no colour or race.
Ironically, up to 50 per cent of food produced globally worth more than US$1 trillion (RM4.19 trillion) is not eaten but end up as waste, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation.
Something must be done.
The haves should reach out to the have-nots. This is one of the lessons of Ramadan that we should exemplify throughout our lives. Remember, givers never lack. The more one gives, the more he receives.
Let us not hesitate to give and share to put a smile on the face of others.
DR IDRIS ADEWALE AHMED
Research fellow, Centre for Natural Products Research and Drug Discovery, Universiti Malaya