A food delivery worker in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Image Credit: Reuters

The Ramadan that went by has now become a fading memory. These days are the period sandwiched between the two holy rituals of Ramadan and Haj for Muslims. Although Ramadan has passed and Haj is yet upon us, the passing of the blessed month of Ramadan should not signal the end of exertions of goodwill and worship that had governed us for this past month.

It was a period when many renewed or strengthened their faith through the reading of Quran, and the charitable actions towards the less fortunate. And as the citizens of this region have participated for the festivities of family gatherings and reunions in recent days, let us spare a thought to the countless number of expatriates among us who stood side by side with us in worship, many who have most likely had celebrated the dawn of Eid in solitude, away from family and friends.

Millions of such expatriates have come and gone, and millions remain among us today, some alone and distant from their families, tasked with the duties of helping oil the machinery that makes this region run. Many perform to the expectations required, mostly in silence. Their isolation and loneliness in a land different than their own cannot be simply compensated by the dirhams or dollars they earn.

Read more by Tariq A. Al Maeena

Joys and pains

Leaving behind fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, wives and children, these foreign expatriates who reside among us ask little of us as they fulfil their duties. And yet they love and feel like the rest of us; the joys and pains that course through our emotions are not alien to them.

Let us honour them like we honour our own. Let us bestow upon them our best wishes as we do upon those near and dear to us. Let us thank them and expatriates of other faiths as well for the difficult sacrifices they are making daily in leaving their loved ones behind and coming to this country to help us forge a better life. Many move around us, barely visible or seen. Yet they continue in their toils, expecting very little thanks or gratitude from their hosts while putting in an honest day’s work.

Let us begin by ensuring that their rights are protected. The Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “The merciful ones will be shown mercy by the All-Merciful God. Be merciful to those on Earth, Allah will be merciful to you.” This mercy extends to the proper execution of our obligations to our guest workers.

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) also said, “The likeness of the believers in their mutual love, their mutual mercy, and their mutual affection, is like a single body. If any part of it complains of an injury, the entire body responds with sleeplessness and fever … Allah will continue to help the servant as long as the servant is helping his brother.” This narration emphasises the fact that our mercy as servants to our faith shouldn’t be confined to our immediate circle of family members and acquaintances. Rather it should extend to the entire nation of people.

We should never forget those among us, and especially the less fortunate expatriates from other parts of the world whose daily existence is near enough a continuous fast. These noble men and women deserve our thanks.

Our obligations must continue in good faith. The obligation of goodwill should not just be a fading memory.

Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi sociopolitical commentator.