Rewards of feeding others in Islam | By Mufti G Yasin Nizami

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Rewards of feeding others in Islam

OUR Holy Prophet (PBUH) constantly emphasized the importance of giving food to your neighbours, be they Muslim or non-Muslim.

As a Muslim community living, we must make it a priority to ensure that those around us do not go to sleep hungry.

We must make sure we are at the forefront of providing food and striving hard to eradicate hunger in the world.

One of the actions is most emphasized in Islam is feeding other people. We can see this clearly in the way The Holy Prophet (PBUH) encouraged us to feed the poor and sharing food is a way of taking care of the vulnerable and bringing the community together.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of ten benefits you can gain from feeding others, as mentioned in Islam.

Abdullah bin Umar said, a man asked the Holy Prophet (PBUH), What Islamic traits are the best?

He (PBUH) said: Feed the people, and greet those whom you know and those whom you do not know.

There are countless hadiths about the Holy Prophet (PBUH) showing generosity towards those who are vulnerable.

From giving comfort to orphans to supporting the elderly, He (PBUH) was the epitome of expressing his love and mercy to others through tangible actions.

He (PBUH) said it most beautifully and concisely when he told us, free captives, feed the hungry and pay a visit to the sick.

Giving food is an important part of being a Muslim – and not doing so is specifically mentioned in the Qur’an as a quality of a disbeliever.

Allah says: And when it is said to them, spend from that which Allah has provided for you, those who disbelieve say to those who believe, Should we feed one whom, if Allah had willed, He would have fed? You are not but in clear error. (The Noble Qur’an, 36:47)

Allah also says: Feeding the poor has been given such a high status by Allah that he places it directly after the words ‘believe in Allah, the Most Great’.

Elsewhere, He elevates this action by mentioning it after Salah: They will say, we were not of those who prayed, nor did we used to feed the poor. (The Noble Qur’an, 74:43-44).

It is thus the essence of the believer to feed the poor. It is especially important to feed our neighbours: The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) said: when you cook a stew, put more water in the broth and take care of your neighbours.

He gave us such a practical way of fulfilling our obligation as believers – simply add more water to the food you are already making!

This adds blessings to your meal and ensures you are nurturing a good relationship with your neighbours, regardless of their faith.

Since Allah mentioned feeding the poor after worshipping Him and performing Salah, it is no surprise that He will question us as to whether we fulfilled this obligation.

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: Worship Allah, feed others, spread the (greeting of) peace, then you will enter Paradise with security.

On another occasion, The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: Indeed, in Paradise there are chambers whose outside can be seen from their inside and their inside can be seen from their outside.

A Bedouin stood and said, who are they for, O Messenger of Allah? He said, for those who speak well, feed others, fast regularly, and perform Salah during the night while the people sleep.

In fact, even feeding your family can carry this weight, as the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: Whoever has three daughters and is patient towards them, and feeds them, gives them to drink, and clothes them from his wealth – they will be a shield for him from the Fire on the Day of Resurrection.

On the other hand, actively denying someone food and preventing them from accessing it can lead to the Fire.

The below hadith teaches us that even keeping an animal hungry is a weighty sin: The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: A woman punished her cat by imprisoning it until it died of hunger and because of it, she entered the Fire.

We tend to think of charity as something we give to the poor, but the truth is that sharing food is always a charity, if you do it for the sake of Allah.

In fact, He (PBUH) even said that feeding our own selves is considered a charity. Therefore, it is important for us to always make the intention to cook, eat and share food for Allah’s sake, to ensure this action is spiritually meaningful and that we reap its rewards.

So far, we have said that feeding others is one of the best Islamic traits and being a believer; it is an action which we will be questioned about and will lead us into paradise while protecting us from the Fire; and it is a charity which we can give to our family, on behalf of our loved ones and even give it as a charity like always.

In addition to these important points, the most benefit of feeding others is that it is a life-saving action, which carries immense rewards in Islam: Whoever saves one (life) — it is as if he had saved all of humanity. (The Noble Qur’an, 5:32). May Allah reward us immensely for feeding others, Amin!

— The writer is contributing columnist, based in Islamabad.

 

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