The holy month of Ramzan neared its end, and people across the world are celebrating Eid. Considered the most sacred month of the year in the Islamic calendar– fasting, prayers, charity and generosity are an integral part of it.
On this auspicious day, we celebrate heroes who truly lived up to the spirit of Ramzan in every way.
Here are our top 5 Ramzan heroes, who prove not all heroes wear capes.
1. Indo-Pak duo, Tajamul Pasha from Bengaluru and Nihal Zafar from Karachi
Tajamul Pasha from Bengaluru and Nihal Zafar from Karachi have been feeding more than 400 workers during Ramzan in Abu Dhabi. They met in UAE in 2004, where both worked in the IT sector. The common objective that bonded them was helping the needy.
“After reaching here in 1999, one day I noticed an old Palestinian man offering free iftar meals to many people. While queuing up to accept food from him, I pledged that one day, I, too would do the same,” Tajamul told Gulf News.
Inspired by the 60-year-old Palestinian man Nazmi Mohammad Mahmoud, who has been offering free iftar meals to people in memory of his son for the past 22 years, Pasha and Zafar joined hands.
When Tajamul found that iftar meals were organised by Nihal and his Pakistani friends at a mosque in 2004, he contributed 15 cartons of juice. They have come a long way since.
As told to Gulf News, the duo spends between AED 1,500 to 2,000 (₹26,000 to ₹35,000) every day to arrange chicken biryani, juice, water, dates, and watermelons.“Some days, we offer samosa and pakoda also. On week days, around 400 people turn up, which goes up to 700 on Thursdays and Fridays,” Nihal said.
2. Dr Zainul Hamdulay from Mumbai
When Akbar Sheikh, a resident in Govandi in Maharashtra, suffered a heart attack last month, the cost of the surgery was ₹2.10 lakh, but the family could only manage Rs ₹50,000.
Dr Zainul Hamdulay, director of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at Global Hospitals, came to their aid. Sheikh got the operation done. Dr. Hamdulay is attempting to raise ₹3.37 crore to help people who need heart surgery but cannot afford it. Dr Hamdulay hopes to fund 500 angiographies, 100 bypass surgeries, and 100 angioplasties with the amount he collects, the Hindustan Times reported.
Founded by Dr. Hamdulay in Nagpad, the Hamdulay Heart Foundation is an NGO that treats underprivileged people afflicted by cardiac ailments. People in need approach the foundation and in turn are referred to the Habib Hospital in Dongri, where the foundation has set up a cath lab. People in need of a bypass are sent to Global Hospitals.
The fundraiser was held in the month of Ramzan. The Hamdulay Heart Foundation collected a sum of ₹5.10 lakh in 17 days. The foundation had raised funds last year as well and helped 263 patients in need of treatment.
3. #GiftAMeal campaign
Transcending the barriers of caste, creed or religion, to fight hunger, Islamic Relief India started their ‘Gift a Meal’ campaign to feed the poor and underprivileged on the occasion of Ramzan.
It partnered with restaurant chains, including Nazeer Foods, Saleem’s, Al Bake, Karim’s and Hotel River View in Delhi. A few restaurants provided a fixed number of specially packaged Ramzan food each week. Some restaurants also displayed campaign standees urging people who come to these restaurants to gift a meal to the poor for Rs 100.
Partnering with the Robin Hood Army for delivery, food packets were distributed at rain baseras, jhuggi jhopdi clusters (slums) and to the homeless on the streets of Delhi.
4. Shahida Khalique from Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu
“Men in white skull caps, women clad in saris and burkas, young children with school bags on their backs — all are waiting with containers in their hands for a share of the nombu kanji. Mosques in the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala distribute the kanji, a lightly spiced rice and lentil porridge, before the sunset prayers during the fasting month of Ramzan, which starts Friday evening,” writes Fehmida Zakeer.
Shahida Khalique from Tiruppur, a town in Tamil Nadu, buys extra rice, lentils, spices and other items for making nombu kanji. She also distributes the additional provisions among her four women workers.
“I give them enough ingredients to make the nombu kanji for 15 days,” she says. “On the days, I add meat to my kanji, I give them a portion so that they, too, can cook their kanji with meat that day,” she says. The supplies for the next 15 days come from her sister-in-law, who employs the same set of women.
The nombu kanji is their way of offering help to the needy – a gesture they call small, but enough to provide nourishment to those who don’t have enough after fasting all day long.
5. Pune’s Imdadi restaurant
Pune’s ‘Imdadi’ Ramzan restaurant is a melting pot of culture because it gets together people from across India to cook and serve. ‘Imdadi’ comes from ‘Imdad,’ which means ‘to help,’” explains Bashir Khan Bargir, one of the people behind the Imdadi Social Welfare Organisation, to The Hindustan Times.
Mustafa Jaffar Sheikh (Bhaya), Shakeel Mujaid, Ibrahim Sheikh and Aziz Bagwan,Zubair Tajmat are all friends residing in Momimpura. On a normal day, as they relished a sharbat in Zubair’s cold drink house, they decided to start a small shop to help people with food in the month of Ramzan.
In 1985, they put up sharbat, chai, chana and bhaji pav in Momimpura, and on the first day, managed to make around Rs 3,000. Today the makeshift hotel is in its 32nd year of service and operates for only the month of Ramzan.
“For us to make this kind of money was a big thing. Towards the end of the month, we made around Rs 25,000 and we decided to use it all for the needy and gave it away to people for paying for children’s education or even buying school paraphernalia,” said Zubair Tajmat.
Their cooks include a starter specialist Dhan Sonar, who hails from Nepal, and the Lucknowi ‘‘khansama’ of the house, Wahid Baig.
Kudos to unsung heroes like them!