Scholars tell Muslims not to waste food
Religious scholars, through their sermons, have advised Muslims in the Kingdom not to waste food during the holy month of Ramadan, when food is prepared in large quantities and the leftovers go waste.
Abdulrahman Bakri, an Islamic scholar said: “During Ramadan, there is always a major increase in food wastage not only in the Kingdom but also other countries across the Gulf. At iftar parties or banquets during Ramadan, the leftover food usually goes waste and wealthy hosts have no qualms about throwing them away. I myself have seen such things happening and have advised people, using such examples, to raise awareness levels.”
Stating that Muslims are commanded by the Qur’an to be mindful of food and not to let it go waste, Bakri said Muslims should be made aware of the huge amounts of food they waste every day. They should give it away to the poor and needy rather than throwing it away since Ramadan is a time when reward for giving will double, he said.
“Wasting food is a sin and breaches the very concept of Ramadan,” says Mohammed Zaki, another Islamic scholar. “Apart from the many health benefits, fasting educates Muslims to experience and understand hunger, deprivation and grief of the needy.”
Zaki advised Muslims to be more careful in managing food, pointing out that the food one person wastes is another person’s meal. He also asked Muslims to share food rather than enjoy it all by himself.
He said that people cook more and spend more on food during Ramadan and tables are spread from iftar to the end of sahoor. “It is sad to say, but so much food is cooked that a bigger portion of it goes to the trash bins later.”
“Food is seen as a gift from God and thus wasting it is seen as a sign of ungratefulness for this gift,” says Yaser AbuRayan, imam at a mosque in Jeddah. “There is always food that is left after iftar in this mosque. We make sure to call in street cleaners to finish it or give them away to the needy.”
AbuRayan says according to a Hadith, there is blessing in the food we eat but we do not know in which portion of the food it lies. “A verse in the Qur’an says ‘Give to the near of kin his due, and also to the needy and the wayfarers. Do not squander your wealth wastefully; for those who squander wastefully are Satan’s brothers, and Satan is ever ungrateful to his Lord.’ This makes it clear people must eat only as much as they need and they often need much less than they feel,” he said.
In another Hadith, the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said: “The food of one person is sufficient for two, the food of two people suffices for four people and the food of four people suffices for eight.”
The Hadith explains that there is enough food in the world but if the level of greed in people vanishes, the poor and hungry can be fed without any crisis.