Poverty and Hunger
Contributed by Mohamed Khaku,
This weekend, Muslims all over the world will begin the month-long fasting of Ramadan. Fasting is much more than merely abstaining from food and drinks, difficult as it may be especially in the long summer months, the principal philosophy behind fasting is to build piety (Taqwa), sense of responsibility and obedience.
Another Ramadan is approaching and Muslims have an opportunity to address the issues of hunger and poverty around the world.
As Muslims begin the blessed month of fasting, they must overlook their own long hours going with food and drink, but think of the millions of needy, hungry and homeless people worldwide. Ramadan is supposed to help us cultivate sense of responsibility. The Muslim leaders and Muslims Ummah need to address the poverty in the Muslim world. Fasting must mean more than merely abstaining from food and drink; it must also arouse the consciousness of the plight of suffering in humanity. Our abstinence from food and drink should enable us to empathize with millions that go hungry or are homeless because of inbuilt inequalities, despite plenty of food and resources available to cater to the needs of every human being in the world. Ramadan is supposed to help us cultivate that sense of responsibility and to strive hard for social justice.
In order to understand the magnitude of the problem, let’s analyze the statistics relating to the wide disparities that exist in the world today. Of the seven billion people worldwide, at least 870 million, that is one in eight do not have enough to eat, and the irony is that overwhelming majority of the poor resides in Muslim countries. Over three billion people leave on $2.50 a day and 80% of the world leaves on $10.00 a day. It is however, the plight of women and children that should provoke the greatest concern. More than 60% of the world’s hungry are women. Is it enough to feel ashamed and regretful about the pressing statistics in Ramadan? Poverty cannot be destroyed until all wars have ended and spending on military curtailed or halted. Military spending, endless war and sectarian conflicts are the root cause of poverty.
As you can see, poverty is not a small problem confined to just certain areas. It is global and it is huge. But it is also a problem that can easily be corrected. In order to fulfill the nutritional and health need of all the poor in the world requires a total of $13 billion plus annually. This is truly an insignificant sum when one considers that over one trillion dollars annually is spent on global military expenditure. And why does Saudi Arabia need to spend huge sums on weapons each year. Muslim rulers specially the House of Saud have little or no concern for the plight of the fellow Muslims. And it is unlikely to change because fasting has not nurtured social consciousness.
Theoretically, every country’s army is supposed to defend its people and border, but on the contrary the Muslim rulers have launched a full-scale war against its own peoples to serve the interest of their foreign master and the classic examples are Egypt and Bahrain. Similarly, military of Muslim countries spend vast resources of the state to acquire expensive weapons to defend the borders from external aggression. However, their failures are so glaring that one only has look at the defeat of Pakistan against India and Arab armies against Israel.
Furthermore, in the light of these alarming statistics let’s look at the wealth of the House of Saud and the hordes of “princes” who have usurped the Muslims wealth. 2011 figures from IMF of Saudi oil income was $324 billion and to that the income from pilgrimage revenue can easily surpass the $360 billion – nearly $1 billion/day.
Given the extreme poverty and hunger in the world, especially among Muslims, have the Saudi the custodians of the Two Holy places have any consciousness? How can they sleep easy when Prophet Muhammad said, “… a community breaking its fast while one among them is hungry will not be accepted by Allah”? How come do Saudi “royals and prices” have protruding bellies from over eating while the children in Africa, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have skeletal body because of extreme malnutrition?.
Where are the foot-soldiers and the leaders (Imams) for this war on poverty? They are busy in their Saudi-sponsored Islamic Centers creating the difference (Shia/Sunni) between Muslim Ummah.
These figures are from below websites: