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Selma Cook
How often people take the riches and blessings with which Allah supplies everyone, without thinking about the Grace and Mercy of the Sustainer as well as the needs of those around them…

Every Friday outside the mosque there are rows of people selling their wares.  The color of the portable market is a spectacle to me. A few hours after the Friday prayer, the stalls will disappear, only to reappear the following week carrying with them jovial faces, wearing looks of contentment.  I never tire of seeing the bright red tomatoes, fresh green lettuces, spinach, parsley and other herbs, rosy apples and juicy oranges and mandarins.  My eye glances over the fresh food; the means of survival, and my mind always returns boggled and overwhelmed.
 
I drive down the freeway feeling at peace with the shimmering gold desert that lies outstretched before my eyes.  The blueness of the sky, the white fluffy clouds seem to blend together in my heart forming contentment.  I never feel this kind of inner joy in the city.
 
From the balcony of my friend’s house I see, what seems like a never-ending deluge of concrete buildings, rising upwards towards the sun.  Narrow streets, far below their towering peaks make room for cars, buses and bustling crowds, rushing in a constant urge for more material wealth.
 
Amidst this bustling mass of humanity stand fruit stands, vegetables carts that roam the streets with their wares. Carts often pulled by donkeys or tired horses.  How difficult it is to imagine that everyday, across this vast city there is fresh fruit and vegetables to feed millions.  Where does it all come from? A wondrous thing that I cannot comprehend.  In organized mayhem, life continues.  People are born, work, study, play and die. The wheels of time stop for no one and here we are caught up in life’s midst.
 
I often see a woman sitting on the side of the street with her children grouped around her.  They sit quietly sharing a simple meal.  Round pita bread made from brown flour and bunches of parsley, spell lunch.  One round pita bread costs 5 piastres (about 1 cent) and a bunch of parsley costs the same.  Just over the road from where they sit are elegant buildings housing wealthy families.  The children of these houses carry their mobile phones, wear their fashionable clothes and in the triumph of individualism into which their well-meaning parents have educated them, they not only walk insolently past the woman and her children in the street but turn and scorn her as well.
 
For what do they scorn her?  They call her poor and ignorant.  Poor she may be, but I find little difference between the ignorance of the wealthy and that of the poor.  The same Creator Who made both, and the food which so plentifully prevails, Hears and Watches all things.  Too often the food that is wasted in the houses of the rich, could feed a number of poor families.   How long do we think this abundance of nourishment will remain, if we neglect to share it properly between us?  As the pollution from our consumer lifestyles shuts out our vision of the life giving sun, do we still, in arrogance pick through the fruit and vegetables demanding only the best and giving nothing back in return?