Muslim Aid Media Centre

Money Talks

In giving we received the richest Eid ever…

For those of you who are as old as I am, you will remember the days when a loaf of bread used to cost around 59p, a litre of unleaded fuel was just under 40p, and penny sweets really used to be a penny each!

I also remember telling my parents that I thought 59p was very expensive for a loaf of bread, to which my dad replied “just you wait until the day when the same loaf of bread will be over a pound!” - I didn’t believe him, so I laughed.

Does anyone remember what Eid used to be like back in the day?

I remember we used to celebrate the first day with my father’s side of the family and the second day with my mother’s side of the family; they were quite big families. So my mum used to buy me two outfits, one for each day. And my brother and I would have little contests on who would get the most money gifted to us that Eid.

On the first day, we would get Eid money from mum and dad, which was always £10 each. My uncles used to give us £5 each and granddad used to give us £1. On the second day, my Nan would give us £20 each and we used to receive £5 here and there from aunties and uncles. All in all, we would have around £70-80 each, in total. That was a LOT of money back then and could practically get our family through a month’s worth of groceries.

So, back to the present…

Thirty years on, the very same loaf of bread now costs me £1.35, fuel has tripled in price and last Eid, my little nieces and nephews frowned at the £20 each I handed to them because it wasn’t enough! Charming.

The value of hard earned money is something that is completely lost in our day and age; it seems that too much is never enough. If we were offered a good amount of money for something, we would automatically think “Hmmm… well if I can get that much for it, then I will raise my price and ask for more”. Expectations get higher and higher until, eventually, it turns into pure greed.

For example, I was sitting in front of the TV with my family last night and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” happened to be on. So we were all trying to guess the answers to the questions.

The contestant got to £125,000 and didn’t want to risk guessing the next question as he would lose £218,000 if he guessed it wrong. I suddenly thought… what would I do with £125,000?

It wouldn’t even pay off our mortgage, and that is the reality of the value of money today. If I were given a million, my sights would be set even higher until eventually, greed took over. This isn’t in my nature; I am actually a very simple person - it’s in our human nature. The more we have, the more we want.

If we take a minute out and look at life from a completely different perspective though, do we pay attention to what is happening in other areas of the world? Where a contribution as little as just £3 a month could mean the difference between life and death for someone? Where instead of complaining about not having enough, they are thankful for just a clean drink of water or a little food. Their days are constantly spent trying to battle poverty and hunger, whilst we get frustrated not knowing what to eat because there is simply too much to choose from.

Wow! What kind of world do we live in? Has the realisation sunk in yet?

So, this year, as I got the ‘Eid money envelopes’ ready for all 12 of my nieces and nephews, I smiled to myself…

After Eid Salah and the usual meeting and greeting, the entire family came over to our house for dinner. It is tradition that we all eat together and give the children their gifts over tea and dessert.

As we all sat down for tea, most of the adults started to reach into their pockets for the money they had put aside to hand out to the children. Once they were given their gifts, I started handing out my envelopes to them. I watched them silently open their envelopes… only to find they were all empty. Everyone looked at me, confused. I stood up and cleared my throat…

“Last year I saved £240 in order to be able to give you all £20 each for Eid, to which the majority of you said you couldn’t buy much for that these days. Whether it was meant in jest or not, I realised you were absolutely right! So this year I donated each of your £20 to charity to help out the children who would really be able to benefit from that money. Who knows? It could even potentially save their lives and maybe their families too, so maybe they can one day have an Eid where they can have something to eat – let alone a lavish choice of what to eat!”

Let’s wake up from our ever-increasing ignorance my brothers and sisters, and remember those around us who need our help today. Where £3 a day is nothing to some of us, that same £3 a month could make a huge difference to those people!

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