Like many of those living day to day, sahur comprises a simple meal of rice, eggs and some meat. / FMT

KUALA LUMPUR — Just before the crack of dawn throughout the month of Ramadan, Norizhar Mazlan and Shida Nurahamad would wake their three children up for sahur.

Rubbing the sleep from their eyes, the children would get up from their thin mattresses on the floor and sit cross-legged around a table made out of four inverted plastic tubs screwed to a wooden board.

In their tiny home, the dining area is just at the foot of their sleeping quarters.

Their modest pre-dawn meal consists of rice, omelette, and remnants of chicken or beef from iftar collected from the Pertiwi Soup Kitchen in Medan Tuanku, where Shida would queue every day. This, she claimed, was sufficient to sustain the family throughout the fasting month.

The urban farming initiative under MAIWP acts as a lifeline for Norizhar Mazlan and his family, offering a pathway out of poverty. / FMT

“Every Ramadan, the food we have for iftar is what we eat for sahur as well. I don’t cook much during this month. We simply prepare some rice and reheat the leftovers.

“Alhamdulillah, we always have just enough to eat,” the 29-year-old said.

The family is no stranger to urban poverty, having previously lived in a cramped single room in a shared unit in Chow Kit, here.

Concerned for their children’s safety as the area is littered with needles discarded by drug addicts, they made the decision to relocate to a public housing project (PPR).

“Every day, our kids would play with the needles they found on the street. After people used them for drugs, they would just throw them on the ground. Our kids started asking questions.

“Since we all lived in one room, they couldn’t play inside, so they resorted to playing on the streets. That’s when we decided we needed to move out,” Shida said.

The urban farming initiative under MAIWP acts as a lifeline for Norizhar Mazlan and his family, offering a pathway out of poverty.
Though the transition has not been smooth, they have found ways to make ends meet to afford their rent. Shida works part-time as a cleaner, while Norizhar, 38, labours on an eggplant farm as part of the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council’s (MAIWP) urban farming programme.

This initiative not only supports those eligible for zakat but also equips Norizhar with valuable farming and entrepreneurship skills.

While fasting is often seen by many Muslims as a way to empathise with the less fortunate, it remains a religious duty that imparts invaluable lessons for the resilient couple.

“Fasting is an obligation for Muslims. It’s not simply about sympathy for the poor. Instead, it teaches us gratitude and strengthens our bond with others, especially during prayers like tarawih,” Norizhar said.

During Ramadan, Norizhar heads to the farm at 9am, returning around 3pm after tending to his crop. With each successful harvest, he holds on to hope that MAIWP will award him a plot of land.

“Of course we are struggling. We are poor, but that doesn’t mean it should interfere with our everyday duties like prayers and work. For me, it’s my responsibility as a Muslim to pray, and to provide for my wife and kids.

“My salary is only RM1,500, and I still work every day because for me, it’s my duty to provide for them.” – FMT

Original source — https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2024/04/07/amid-hardship-family-of-5-grateful-for-ramadan-blessings/

— BebasNews

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