The photo of “starving child & vulture” taught me a lesson!

Assalamalaikum (Peace be on you), Dear Readers,

Today (4th day of Ramadhan), fasting appeared to be a little heavy for me. I don’t know why, but i was gasping for water and food just within 8 hours after Suhoor (the food we have before starting to fast daily). My throat felt a little irritated yesterday due to the dust storm that lasted for nearly 30 minutes. Just before Suhoor, i could feel my body feeling a little weak.

However, i had my Suhoor and then went for Fajr Salah. After returning, i went straight to bed and slept immediately. I got up after 6 hours only to feel my body heating up with fever and a soar throat. That was when i started feeling the need of Water. I looked at the clock and the time was just 10 am. I was like “Ya Allah, another 8 hours to go before i can take a drop of water”.

The thirst and hunger kept on increasing exponentially and I was quite surprised the way my body behaved today. By Zuhr Salah, my head started aching due to thirst. To beat the time, I sat down to browse internet looking for something to read that will distract my mind and keep it away from the thoughts of hunger and thirst. It was then that my eyes fell on a picture, that instantly made me forget my hunger and thirst!

Check the picture below of a starving child and a vulture waiting to pounce on the child as soon as she dies:

Starving child with a vulture

Starving child with a vulture

This picture of starving child was taken by a South African photographer whose name was Kevin carter. He took this picture in 1993 in Southern Sudan, a place within the so called “Triangle of Death”. The Triangle of death refers to the area between Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia which has been suffering from famine for the past 2 decades. In this photo, a little girl is trying to reach the feeding center by crawling on the ground because she does not have enough energy to rise up and walk. On her way, she is resting for sometime to regain little energy before starting to crawl again. This is just to reach a place where she will get some food after many days!

The photographer was awarded “Pulitzer Prize” for this picture which flashed on nearly all the leading magazines that year. But cater was a very sensitive man, especially when it comes to human sufferings. He later committed suicide. It is believed that this picture of starving child stayed in his mind where ever he went.

Then I started checking up the statistics of famine around the world. Millions of people die every year because they have nothing to eat or drink! Isn’t this a shame on the entire humanity that even in this 21st century, we have people dying due to hunger? There is no balance of food across the world. In most of the parts, food is thrown away as an extra garbage because of its abundance. So many countries have restaurants where food goes as waste on a daily basis. People tend to order in excess and later they throw it because they don’t have place in the stomach to eat the extra food. And this extra food is then eaten by cats and dogs!

This picture of starving child speaks more than just about the Child and Vulture. Looking into it there is a sense of sadness, despair and coldness. The child, already weak due to days of hunger, is struggling to reach the feeding center to get something to eat, and the vulture is waiting for the child to die so that it can feed on her.

Looking at this picture of starving child, a thought struck my mind that what if this child would have been my son? What if such a condition strikes us owing to our habit of wasting food and water? What if on the Day of Judgment Allah throws us into hell fire because we used to fill our stomachs so much that much of it ended up in garbage cans, yet never cared about others who died of hunger? Why are our pockets so tight when it comes to feeding poor while we shell out huge bucks to fill our stomachs and throw food in the garbage?

Alhumdulillah, I learnt a great lesson today. I was getting restless with the hunger that had to last for only 14 hours and which had to last within closed home with all the facilities to keep the body cool and comfortable. Not only comfort, but prior to those 14 hours of fasting, I had food up to my neck and after fasting too I was sure of filling my stomach. I forgot that there are people in the world who have not eaten for days together and are dying because of hunger. How selfish can I be!

Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) always cared for the poor and never allowed food to be wasted. He took great care not to leave any food on the plate. He stated that morsels and food that had been dropped should be eaten after cleaning the dust particles. On the other hand, he advised people not to be extreme in the act of eating and said “No person can fill a dish that is worse than his stomach”.

Fasting in Islam shows us a glimpse of what happens if Allah pulls away food and water from our life. Most of us do not even remember the great favors Allah has bestowed upon us and hence never thank him for it. We are always complaining for the things that we don’t have.  This month of Ramadhan brings us to the point where we ponder over it and then thank Allah for bestowing his countless favors upon us.

I hope that just as I learnt a lesson from this picture of starving child, all of you will also get enlightened.

Please leave you comments!

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  1. Syed Mubarak Ali

    Assalamu Alaikkum Br.Imran Ali,

    I also happened to see this picture 2 years before and was upset with the situation in the “triangle of death”. I didn’t want to see this picture again in my life, but your blog forced me to go through this again. For a moment, I decided not to be selfish anymore and thought how I can help people from this hunger. Three ideas came to my mind and Insha Allah I will sincerely adopt them in my daily life now onwards.
    1.Paste this photo adjacent to the dustbin of my house where we throw extra food. This will help everyone realize the truth.
    2.Preach to family, relatives & friends about the need to avoid food wastage.
    3.Encourage the people to donate the money (saved by avoiding food wastage) to Islamic Relief who work sincerely for the people starving in East Africa. (

    Jazak Allah for posting this article and I request you to make dua for each one of us to work towards improving the life of the under privileged.

    Jazak Allah Khairun,
    Syed Mubarak Ali

  2. As salam o Alai Kum, That was old photo, even today if you browse internet and see the news from Somalia where due to famine . Even then they are fasting.Link . A somali woman Faduma Aden, a mother of three at the Dadaab refugee camp in eastern Kenya, said Monday that she is participating in the fast even though she doesn’t have food to break it. Aden said she wanted to participate because she fears God. This statement should inspire all those who are feeling hunger and thirst due to long fasting timing. May Allah blessed the Somali woman and all of us ameen

  3. Sayyad Adnan Ahmad

    Assalam Alaikum Brother Ali,

    Indeed the picture is heart breaking but the most worst is that our ‘fat’ Islamic States or Gulf States, specially Saudi Arabia, which is deemed to be the savior of Islam & Muslims of the world, are very careless in this regard. Its seriously disturbing to see that at one hand they have a lavish lifestyle with extravagance & wastage of food, water & other sources and at the other hand their very own brothers have the most unnourished society starving for food & water. Ah, What a sorrowful plight!!!

    This picture has not only shaken our conscience but also reprimands us for our slumbers of negligence. May Allah instill a ‘will’ in those who possess power & might. Aameen.

  4. Sayyad Adnan Ahmad

    Brother, I would also like to add here about the ongoing tragedy of drought & famine in Somalia. For the severe problem there at present, only a few millions of dollars are needed to feed these starving people, while Saudi Arabia’s foreign assets hit record $480 billion in this May alone, unfortunately the Somalian tragedy still ongoes…

    Check an article on Somalian Tragedy at

  5. Murtada Ali Hasan Shaikh


    hmm, i have been seeing this picture from quite a time. every time i see this, it leaves me speechless. may Allah give us strength and pure intentions to help the needy ones.

    Jazak’Allahu khairan…

  6. Syed Mubarak Ali

    @Brother Sayyad Adnan Ahmad,

    I agree with your comments that Saudi or any other gulf country has to do more in Somalia. But we also need to understand that the entire Gulf Countries only represent 18% of the whole Muslim population. Insha Allah, if the remaining 82% are active enough in generating the funds to solve this crisis in Somalia, then we can teach a very good lesson to the rich people in gulf nations.

  7. Assalam alikum,
    You are absolutely right, Fasting teaches us tolerance and makes us realize and feel, how people who are hungry and starving feel each day. But we can help these hungry people by spending our zakaat and charity on these people, we should try to find locals staying in these famine areas and send help to them May Allah help us in fulfilling this task and May he have mercy on us all.


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