Not everyone knows, because it’s not necessarily front-page news, but there have been riots in Egypt recently in response to rising food prices. Egypt’s poor, before this crisis, could barely afford to eat. Their main staples were bread, beans and rice. Now, prices have tripled to the point that even middle-class families are struggling to buy enough of these staples to feed their families. I watched a news report in which a woman sat holding a picture of her husband who was recently murdered for a few pieces of bread. He carried no money, had on ordinary clothes. But he had something that many people can no longer afford. He had bread. Three young men attacked and murdered him. His wife, speaking about the attack, said that she understands very well why they killed her husband. Simply put: They were hungry.
This is, to me, an unthinkable outrage! No, the murder isn’t the outrage. The outrage is the fact that Egypt is an Islamic country. There is a mosque on nearly every city block. With that many mosques, one would think there would be plenty of Muslims around. So, where are the Muslims?
Muslims are required by God to give in charity. During the first or second caliphate after the death of Muhammed, peace and blessings be upon him, the people gave so much in charity that there was no one left to take their food and their money. People would travel from town to town asking for someone to take their zakat, but no one could. The playing field had been LEVELED. How? you may ask. It’s very simple. God commanded that we give 2.5%, that’s just two and a half percent, of our accumulated wealth to the care of the poor. That’s not 2.5% of our gross income. It’s 2.5% of that wealth that we have retained through the course of a year. There is also a percentage of the grain we grow and the cattle (meat) that we raise. If each Muslim were to give his or her required charity, there would be no hungry people in Egypt. There would be no riots. There would be no murders for food. So I ask again: Where are the Muslims?
The rising food costs are being caused by the rise in the price of oil, which has more than tripled in the past year or so. That is the apparent cause of this crisis. BUT! This crisis could have been prevented if we had all given what God has commanded that we give. Now, our brothers and sisters in Islam are starving and suffering. It’s time that we give. Pull from your savings. Hold a fundraiser. Donate to your mosque and request the imam to send the money to the poor in Egypt. It’s time we pull together and show the world what we can do.