Sabri Hakim’s capture of the business card from heaven induced me to talk –with a hint of rhetoric tendency- about the individual behind this free gracious service.
Abu-Islam is actually in the funeral-service business. In fact his company’s name is quiet novel and catchy “موْسسة عالم البرزخ”, I am not sure if there is some sort of a biblical equivalent to this term, but the company’s name translates to “The Intermediate World Company for funeral services”. (Intermediate between this life and the afterlife that is)
With a couple of make-shift vans for funeral transports and a small team of employees, the guy goes about his subtle –yet modestly profitable- business which thrives when people unfortunately die.
Remember the early days of Meals-on-wheels of the late ninties that later evolved to Aramex@home? The after-hours shy service that the folks at Aramex envisaged to utilize the parked assets after business hours; sigh, it was a very novel idea for sure, at worse would have been a modest revenue stream, little did they knew at the time that it’ll become part of their core business! Will, our friend Abu-Islam did just that, but with charity in his mind!
I don’t know him personally, but I would reckon that at one point, he thought to himself “Those parked in-between-deaths vans can be used to transport excess food from the extravagant feasts of the rich”… immediately he materialized his thoughts to action and the service promoted in the card above was established!
What interests me most about Abu-Islam’s approach to this type of charity work -beside the fact that it is charity and community centric- is that he have developed pretty interesting and thoughtfully efficient techniques and procedures in the way he go about collecting the excess food, in contrast to the profiling image you might have in mind of a foot-long bearded sheikh with black garbage plastic bags vulgarly dumping the food into an unpleasant stew of mixed leftovers!
First –he sports a pretty long beard by the way-, he comes prepared with plastic bags of all kinds and sizes, the small ones double as make-shift gloves for hygienic and tidiness purposes, then he cleans up the platters from inedible leftovers, then homogeneously segregates the available food; rice is packed separately from meat and decorating extras such as pecans and nuts, the saucy stuff are also packed separately in a shanineh-yogurt-from-Jarash-Ajloun-road style!
Then comes the efficiency in doing the above, I saw his crew (comprised of a man with his 10 year old kid) clearing up 10 20-inch Mansaf platters –sdoorit mansaf- in exactly 15 minutes, not to mention the circus-magician-like swift hand trick that rolls the food into the plastic bag in a very pleasant scene, talk about style...
His tactfulness extends to the way he serves the collected food to the needy, in which he -despite the petty origin of the second-hand food he’s serving- ensures that the people he’s about to feed do not feel agitated from it’s scene, the hungry also have feelings and differentiate between a mouth-watering meal and an abandoned leftover.
Overall, Abu-Islam seems to ooze with courtesy and thoughtfulness concern towards the less fortunate tenders of our society, his concern did not translate to a mere nagging mental midget when one is suffocating-ly full and can't even eye the food left on the table, but rather into tangible action that delivers nutrition and perhaps a hint of joy to many hungry mouths.
I wish the service offered by Abu-Islam was not needed in the first place! Or at least not to be evolving around collecting excess food! I wish for the well-off circles of our society to revise their arrogant habits of ludicrously sized feasts and perhaps reform their corrupt set of social standards and missunderstanding of graciousness and hospitality while they’re on it!
May Allah the most merciful bestow his mercy upon Abu-Islam for his pious work… a truly novel example of selfless dedication and passion towards society that deserves everyone’s acknowledgment.