Is it a fast or just hunger?

Baaba jee, tomorrow I have an iftari for about 100 people and was hoping you would be able to make samosas and pakoras for them. How much will it cost?

Baaba jee responded “How much can you pay for them?”. I immediately reached into my pocket with a bunch of notes which were more in value than what I’d normally pay for this service. Baaba jee said without hesitation “You take all that you need but dont give me this money. Take this money and give it to that old lady who has been sat on the street for the last few hours. By you helping her, you will feed her for many fasts yet to come and this will really soothe my heart”.

I looked over at this lady noticing her weak and desperate state and asked him “Who is she to you?” Baaba jee replied emotionally “She is my mother, my sister and my daughter. How does an affluent person like you know the price of a relationship like this? This lady has been in that same position for the last 3 hours without the strength to beg and remains unnoticed by all passers by. Do you think that by feeding your friends you are doing this sincerely. If there is no recognition of others needs while you are fasting, then this is not a fast, its just hunger my friend.”

As I walked home I thought to myself that this money is due to this samosa seller but, despite him relying on this livelihood, he was willing to give it all away to achieve a coolness of the heart which I have never experienced. Why did I not notice this elderly lady when I passed this street?

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “One might fast and he gets nothing from his fast but hunger. One might pray at night but he gets nothing from his prayer but fatigue.”

Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 1690

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