'Langar' Public Kitchen

Created: Monday, 14 February 2011 Written by Lubna Saira

'Langar' is a Persian word, which means a public kitchen established to provide food and drink to the needy.

In one of the Markaz in Islamabad under a simple banner at a corner is a Langar for the refugees and the miskin. The person heading it is hoping some people with generous hearts will book some days so food can be offered once a day every day at this public kitchen as some 125-150 people collect at 6.00 pm to eat here. One such person had already booked all Thursdays (significance of this day as your deeds are taken up) for one full year. Allah gives 'Taufiq' (opportunity, success). ".......and my success (in my task) can only come from Allah. In Him I trust, and unto Him I look. " (Qur'an 11:88)

Commitments are needed. Some days there is food donated otherwise the poor can see when the 'dastarkhwan' (runners to put food on) are not laid on the ground, a sign that there is no food available that evening.


Prior to serving food a 'Dua' is offered. They said such a long and sincere dua for the ones who have given from their earnings to feed them that day that it brought tears to our eyes. I couldn't help but see the difference between my dua and theirs....the difference in circumstances was as stark as the power in their dua and mine. How could mine compare to theirs, with empty stomachs and Sabr and Shukr....no comparison whatsoever. Angels must be rushing to take their duas to be accepted...do we take the time to thank Allah when he provides us with the abundance that he has given us? We must not be deluded to think that the abundance he has given us is for our own selves, but that there are rights of others in it. We are not doing them a favor, we are making an effort to fulfill our obligations.

A pot of 'Rice with garbanzo beans is usually donated because it costs the least Rs 2500/pot ($30 per pot that feeds approx 70 hungry). An old man said, 'a langar is the same most of the places, they give rice but it digests very quickly. If we got Roti 'wheat bread' it would last longer' implying it would take longer to digest. Something we do not have to consider because we can always eat something else whenever we are hungry but they have to wait till the next serving of rice is available or something affordable after a hard day of labor.

It is heart breaking to see dignified men taking off shoes and sitting in rows on the ground around the 'dastarkhwan' waiting for food to be served and bread handed in their hands. I thought eating meat must be rare for them, but I tell you getting one full meal a day is rare, having Roti is rare, getting seconds is rare,.....

I see laborers working in the heat of the day all day only to give one meal to their children. Then waiting in line at the Langar to take a few bites of rice from a small poly bag and even that they pack to use for later or take home to their families.

Only $0.50 feeds one brother or sister.

'Those who spent their wealth for increase in self purification,
And have in their minds no favour from anyone
for which a reward is expected in return,
But only the desire to seek the Countenance of their Lord Most High;
And soon will they attain (complete) satisfaction'-(Quran 92:18)