Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 29 Safar 1439

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Are the free meals offered in Ramadan intended only to feed the poor?

Are the free meals offered in Ramadan intended only to feed the poor?

Answer

I understand the argument put forward by those who say that people who are able to look after themselves should not eat from donated iftar [the fast-breaking meal]. It is a question of leaving the donated food to more deserving individuals. Yet the people who provide free iftar simply seek to receive a reward from God the Almighty. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explained that God grants a rich reward to anyone who breaks the fast of another. He did not make this reward contingent on breaking the fast of a poor person or one who cannot find food. A person may earn this reward by breaking the fast of a friend or relative. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explained this, he wanted to encourage people to share their food with others on fast-days. This results in increased feelings of unity in worship. Hence, when you invite some relatives and friends to an iftar meal in your home, you do not merely earn their gratitude and a warmer relationship but you also earn a reward from God the Almighty similar to their own reward for fasting.

The people who donate money to provide iftar meals and services in mosques do so to earn such a reward from God the Almighty. They will earn the reward regardless of the financial status of those who eat from the donated food.

As to the question on whether or not to attend such an iftar when one is able to look after oneself and one’s family, the answer is relative. If you live in a country where those who are in real poverty are many, then it is better not to go to such an iftar so as to give poorer individuals a chance to benefit by it. On the other hand, there is no harm in eating from the donated food if it is plentiful and suffices all those who attend.
And God the Almighty knows best.
 

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