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COVID-19, Ramadan and Charity [OPINION]

By: Dawda Mohammed Kakale | OPINION |

The Coronavirus pandemic also referred to as COVID-19 to date has spread to about 209 countries across the globe and nearly 2 million people have contracted the disease with more than 100,000 deaths.

In this period of global pandemic when countries are being totally or partially locking down, keeping the citizenry indoors, with businesses not being able to open, plunging the small income earners into abject poverty and eminent starvation, as a result.

The social-economic impact of covid-19 can be quantified across all economies but to mitigate that impact, governments around the world have come out with various stimulus packages to help the less privileged in the society, individuals and corporate entities are also doing their best by providing food and other essential items to the poor in the society.

However, as Muslims are approaching the month of Ramadan, our Muslims brothers and sisters who because of this pandemic would be temporarily out of business and could not make ends meet, will continue to need the assistant of well-meaning and philanthropic corporate entities and individuals in order to be able to perform their obligatory religious duty of fasting in the month of Ramadan, which starts from the 23rd of April 2020.

WHO’s COVID-19 Dashboard, showing the spread ofthe pandemic

The fact that COVID-19 is in Ghana and some places in Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi are in partial lockdown and there is general directive by the President of the Republic to the citizenry to practice social distancing and other measures in order to contain the spread of the deadly disease, these measures will not exempt our Muslims brethren from observing the fast which has been made obligatory on them by Allah in the following verse of the Quran;

"O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous" (Surat Al-Baqarah 2:183)

Giving out charity in the month of Ramadan is highly recommended and practiced by the holy prophet Muhammad (SAW) in the following hadith: “The best charity is that given in Ramadhan.” [At-Tirmithi].

In another saying of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), he (SAW) is reported to have said, "He who feeds a fasting person will gain the same reward as he will, without decreasing from the fasting person’s rewards.” [Ahmad].

In view of the above proof of the significant of charity offers in the month of Ramadan there cannot be any other period where Muslims will have to extend their kindness to their kindred and others than in this period of COVID-19.

I am therefore appealing to the well to do and benevolent Muslims to stand out and be counted as those who also contributed their quota in mitigating the economic impact of the pandemic especially during the month of Ramadan.

This is the time for us to be compassionate to show that we care and it is not by only having many before we can extend our kind gesture to our fellow humans

The prophet Muhammad (SAW) again in this hadith is reported to have said as narrated by Adi bin Hatim “Save yourself from Hell-fire even by giving half a date-fruit in charity.”

Charity is not too small nor too big, that is why it is important to be a brother’s keeper in this trying moment as we fast in the month of Ramadan. In providing for the vulnerable we need to make our intention clear that we are giving out in order to keep people at home and to save lives this will earn the believer a substantial reward.

However, in other to achieve the objective of giving out to the needy and the overall objective of saving lives, it is important that the President’s directives for social distancing and other measures aimed at preventing the spread of the disease should be adhere to so that no person will be put at risk in the name of food sharing.

Finally, all those who have something to share should not do so in their own accord but rather they should liaise with the appropriate Agencies of the State to ensure that the right processes are followed towards the distribution of these items.

It is my fervent hope that Muslims all over the world will adjust to the situation in other to attain the maximum reward for fasting in the month of Ramadan.

Covid-19 as we all know doesn’t discriminate against anybody and it is deadly that is why it incumbent upon every individual to do his or her part in other to stay safe and to save life.

Source: Dawda Mohammed kakale, a Journalist | Email: kakale312@yahoo.com

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