Monday, November 03, 2008

Can you spare some juice, please?

Free juice is a part of Islam, I discovered the other day at the juice stand. As I was drinking my pomegranate juice, I noticed two men come by the store to take a sip from a bottle of water on the counter, one after another. While I’ve seen water canisters on the streets with cups for thirsty passersby, I’ve never seen bottles of water set out for this purpose.

I asked Magdy, the owner why he provides the free water bottle. Why doesn’t he sell water and make more money? He explained, “well…it’s Islam. Our religion…”

“You mean, hasanat?” I interjected.

“Bravo alayk!” he replied. Bravo to you. He seemed to say that I understood. It’s a lot like Buddhist karma. The more good deeds you do for people, the more brownie points you earn for the afterlife.

Even if poor people ask him for free juice, he will not turn them away. In fact, Magdy revealed that every week about five or six people come to the store to ask for free juice. This number is much higher during the holy month of Ramadan. Magdy and Abdou, his colleague both explained how “sweet” Islam is and how I should study it. And God Willing, one day, perhaps I will become Muslim.

After we chat for a few more minutes, I tell them that I shall return on a regular basis now that I know where they are. “The next time you return, the juice will be free!” Magdy reassures me.

I tell him that I will buy his juice. “No, you are now a friend. So, free juice for you!”


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