“And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy , the orphan and the captive (saying) we feed you only for the countenance of Allah we wish not from you reward or gratitude”
[“Quran 76:8-9, Translation: Sahih International]”
Feeding the hungry and helping the poor is an integral part of Islamic faith. The divine virtue of feeding is so much emphasized in our religion that it has been included in acts of worship. The Holy Quran states “and they give food in spite of love for it to the needy , the orphan and the captive (saying) we feed you only for the countenance of Allah we wish not from you reward or gratitude” [76:8-9]”
Contrary to it the dwellers of the Hellfire will say “Nor did we use to feed the poor”[74:42-44]
In addition to the Holy Quran Hadiths of the holy Prophet Mohammad S.A.W also stresses the need to provide food to the less privileged. The entire socio-economic set up of our religion is shaped to alleviate hunger and suffering from the world in order to create harmony and prosperity. But unfortunately, these golden fundamentals are not being practiced, in their true essence. There are not many people like Malik Riaz, who value the countenance of Allah Almighty and good will of His people more than the riches of this world.
Malik Riaz, Asia ‘s largest real estate developer has always kept religious values close to his heart. He is forever determined to help those in need through his long list of ingenious social welfare projects.Dastarkhawans is one of such projects that come under Corporate Social Responsibility Division, dedicated entirely to provide relief and ease to the common man who is unable to get basic food. It is an unprecedented initiative providing free meals twice a day to more than 100,000 people all over Pakistan. Currently, there are 15 operational outlets of Dastarkhawans in major cities like Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Islamabad, Larkana, and Rawalpindi. Besides these big cities poverty and hunger struck areas like Tharparkar and Bannu have also become sites for free Dastarkhawans.
A total number of three Dastarkhawans have been set in Bannu for feeding regular meals to thousands of IDP’s.The exceptional variety of foods here includes Biryani and juices in addition to special Iftar facilities. One permanent Dastarkhawan has been set up in Tharparkar which can accommodate up to 150 people at one time and can feed about 3000 people a day. A water plant has also been fixed in the area.These efforts will provide basic food and water facilities to a population of 60,000 people who have been living in the life of misery and starvation for long.
These Dastarkhawans operate seven days a week and three sixty-five days a year with comfortable accommodation for 3000 people. The people here are served hygienic lunch and dinner in an excellent segregated environment for ladies and gents. Every person that attends the Dastarkwan is treated as a guest, so not to hurt his personal integrity.The food is served with great care in air-conditioned halls. The doors are open to everyone and no restriction has been placed on quantity of food asked by any of the attendants.
Special efforts are made to supervise the quality of food in addition to its quantity. There is a separate kitchen for each Dastarkhawan on its premises. Here fresh food is prepared on daily basis by the staff. Food is prepared with care in a hygienic manner. The menu keeps on rotating with meat and pulses. On Sundays Halwa as a dessert is also served. Special Iftar is offered in the holy month of Ramadhan.
The location of these Dastarkhawans is meticulously planned so as to entertain the maximum influx of needy people, in places where such help is desperately required. Most of these Dastarkhawans are positioned in hospitals to provide food to patients and their relatives as they are in dire financial condition there.
The impact of this huge munificent venture is not only felt by the poor who come there to eat but also by their families they leave behind, who can benefit from the hard-earned money they save on each free meal. People from lower income segment come to Dastarkhawans mostly and they can easily save Rs 2000 per month on their meals as dining outside cost 35 per meal per person. This amount ultimately helps the poor to meet their other day to day expenditures.
This generous food welfare project costs up to PKR 35 Million providing 10,500,000 meals a year. This will rise to an annual expense of PKR 80 Million within the next two years. But these profligate figures cannot beat the spirit of a man like Malik Riaz. He is determined to win the prayers and hearts of millions in addition to the magnanimous rewards of the Hereafter.
Akram Bhatti a regular guest at Dastarkhawn is full of praise and gratitude for such exceptional effort. “I am very thankful to Malik Riaz Hussain for this facility. It is sad that no one else has ever provided this service on such a scale even the government has been unable to sustain anything like this. I wish him and his company all the best & now never miss their names in our prayers”
Malik Riaz feels proud and honored to able to contribute towards the economic and social development of the nation and being able to satisfy the hunger of millions “This project is dearest to me. We are Alhamdullilah providing free daily meals to more than 35000 people daily, twice a day. We will Insha Allah be opening more Dastarkhwan in addition to ten already operational. I am thankful to God Almighty for having me privileged enough to be able to serve others”.
In countries such as Pakistan where 60 million people live below the poverty line, it is impossible for the government to solely undertake social welfare projects. The dark shadows of poverty loom large over our society and the social tension between the moneyed elite and the underprivileged class is rapidly increasing. In such circumstances, Malik Riaz has set up an example for people to come forward and implement socially responsible and sustainable programs to reduce economic disparity. His idea of mutual prosperity has touched the lives and hear