By Haroon Balogun
Muhammad Salim Al-Rahili is never the richest man on earth neither is he the most powerful in the Muslim world, but the seventy-year-old man is regarded in the Arabia world particularly in Madinah where he is based as one of the oldest providers of iftar meals to Muslims in the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. For about over sixty years,
Al-Rahili we gathered started as an helper in the mosque particularly in the Rawdah and Al-Mukabariya area.
Presently, it is learnt that more than one thousand visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque eat iftar together every day around the mosque including the squares adjacent to the mosque.
When press men approached him to give an idea of the cost of the provisions for people during Ramadan, the humble man declined saying: “charity work are done for the sake of God and my doing good is not to seek fame or stardom.” Can you imagine the level of consciousness for giving iftar during Ramadan and doing good?
Giving iftar (fast-breaking) meal is very rewarding. If a person, while walking on the road, gives even an orange to a fasting person to break his fast, it is the reward as giving iftar meal for a fasting Muslim. The Prophet (s.a.w) said, “If a person gives iftar to a fasting person in this month, his sins will be forgiven. And he will be given as many rewards as has that fasting person.” Some of the Companions of the Prophet upon hearing that asked again, what if they were not so rich as to give iftar meal to a fasting person; then the Prophet said: “The rewards will be given even to a person who gives a date as the iftar or who provides water to break the fast or who offers a little milk.”
Also, another hadith says: “He who gives water as iftar to a fasting person in Ramadan becomes as sinless as the day his mother bore him,” the Companions asked him, “Is it so when water is scarce and precious?” He said to them in response, “The case is the same even if he gives it by a river”
We should deem it a blessing to offer food to people. We also learnt from the hadiths that The most virtuous of deeds is to cover the fault of a Believer, to feed him, and to make him happy by meeting a need of his.
So, it is very rewarding to feed people. Feeding a fasting person in particular is much more rewarding. Such a person receives as many rewards as the fasting person receives, without any reduction in the reward of the fasting person. Invite fasting Muslims, friends, the poor, the needy, even non-Muslims.
Make them feel the blessings of the glorious month while you cart away your reward. One of our readers recently asked whether it is permissible to invite a non-fasting person to iftar meal? My response was that it is permissible, but your consciousness and preference should first be the fasting Muslims, you can invite a handful of other people who are not Muslims to join.
Again, if a person does not fast because of any of the possible and approved reasons for leaving out fast, such as traveling, illness, and menstruation, such person can also be invited to join in your iftar.
Again, you can also invite the rich because, the reward for feeding the poor and the reward for offering food for iftar is different. Perhaps, that was why the Prophet said: “He who gives water as iftar to a fasting person in Ramadan will become as sinless as the day his mother bore him,” the Companions asked him, “Is it so when water is scarce and precious?”
He said to them in response, “No, he attains the same reward even if he is by a river, takes a glass of water from it, and offers it.”
Also note that one of the five rights of a Muslim over another is to accept and attend his/her invitation; but one must not partake in an invitation if sins are committed where the meal is offered.