Our first day in Madinah Munawwarah on our recent umrah trip is one that I will always remember. It was the month of Ramadhaan and we were all fasting. Although there are allowances made for travellers that they do not have to fast if it is difficult and they should pay the fast in thereafter, we all decided that we could manage to fast because Alhamdullillah we were in good health. Alhamdullillah, the fast was going really well, we did not even feel hungry, but since it was quite hot and we had just travelled from Jeddah to Madinah (which was approximately a 5 hour drive); we were quite thirsty by Iftaar time.
Not knowing how things were at the Haram Sharief, we happily prepared to go a bit early for Maghrib Salaah, thinking that we would easily be able to break our fast with Zam Zam water, which is usually readily available in Masjid Al Nabawi. We took our dates with us to break our fast, we didn’t care much about food because we were not that hungry, but we just needed water, water was essential that day!
When we got to the Haram we were in for a surprise. They usually keep the Zam Zam water in these huge cans and people can get water from there, but every one that we went to was empty. Not only was the water completely finished, the plastic glasses that they have on the side of the cans were finished as well. After some searching my mother found one that had a little water in, it filled about one glass and since we didn’t have any more glasses with us we couldn’t get more of that water. When people saw some water in there they started rushing towards it. It was crazy that day, we were so unprepared and really didn’t expect any of that.
Afterwards we realized that what usually happened was that as soon as Asr Salaah is finished, people begin preparing for Iftaar, they fill their glasses and bottles with Zam Zam water, get their dates ready and have their food (which consists of bread and yoghurt) ready. So if you come a bit too late then the Zam Zam water in the cans are finished as obviously millions of people there are breaking their fast at the same time and just as you, they all need water too.
As I walked around that day searching for a can with some water in, I made my duaa and asked Allah (SWT) to give us some water, that’s all that we needed that day, such a simple request, yet so taken for granted. Every other day we break our fast with an abundance of water, readily available to us, not only do we have water on our Iftaar tables at home, but we also have juices and cold drinks, sometimes even milkshakes. Here we were in search of water, and unable to get it. Yet we were still so fortunate because if we really wanted to we could leave the Haram and take a walk to a nearby shop and by some drinks, or something like that. What about those people who are in search of water every day of their lives, and they have no alternatives, because they are truly destitute? How much shouldn’t we be thankful for? How many of these favours of Allah do we take for granted? Simply because we do not know what it’s like not to have it.
Alhamdullillah Allah answered our prayers that day, and after some more searching we found a can full of Zam Zam water, and it had glasses! As we broke our fast that day and drank the water, we could not possibly deny Allah (SWT’s) mercy. Truly Allah answers the call of His servants. Now we could begin to understand the reality of fasting in the month of Ramadhaan and how it unites us with our fellow Muslims who are suffering around the world.
It’s amazing how many of Allah’s favours we take for granted without even realizing it. May Allah help us to always be thankful for every little favour He has bestowed upon us and May we never be in the situation where we are destitute. May Allah (SWT) ease the suffering of those who are destitute; Insha’Allah Ameen!
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