Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 12 December 2019

'A gift from Allah': the Dubai restaurant that gives free food to those who can't pay

Foul W Hummus's owner tells us he was inspired to give back by Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father

Foul W Hummus gives free food to those in need daily. Reem Mohammed / The National
Foul W Hummus gives free food to those in need daily. Reem Mohammed / The National

A chain of restaurants in Dubai and Sharjah, Foul W Hummus, offers free food to those who cannot pay, saying simply that it is a "gift from Allah".

"If you can't buy food, it's for free. This is a gift from Allah (God)," a sign on the outside of a Barsha, Dubai branch of Foul W Hummus reads. The restaurant has a number of branches in Dubai and Sharjah, all of which offer the same generous gift to those in need.

The National spoke to Fadi Ayyad, 39, from Jordan, the owner of Foul W Hummus. "We decided to give food to people in need, people who don't have jobs and need support from our restaurant," he said.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 29 JULY 2019. Foul w Hummus restaurant in Barsha has placed a sign saying “If you can’t buy this food, it’s free, this is a gift from Allah” (Photo: Reem Mohammed/The National) Reporter: Section:
The outside of Foul W Hummus restaurant in Barsha, owned by Fadi Ayyad. Reem Mohammed / The National

The restaurant serves an extensive menu of different types of hummus and foul, as well as a variety of sandwiches and mezze dishes. The menu is reasonably priced, with hummus and foul costing Dh18 each, two pieces of falafel costing only Dh1 and sandwiches starting at Dh7.

"This our mission and vision because we live in the land of Zayed," Ayyad said, referring to Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father. "[It is] the good we learnt from this country, the love of goodness and happiness taught to us by the Rulers of the UAE."

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 29 JULY 2019. Foul w Hummus restaurant in Barsha has placed a sign saying “If you can’t buy this food, it’s free, this is a gift from Allah” (Photo: Reem Mohammed/The National) Reporter: Section:
Inside Foul W Hummus restaurant in Barsha, Dubai. Reem Mohammed / The National

He said the restaurant fed people in need daily, and they could come in any time.

The restaurant was not started with philanthropic intentions.

"We opened the restaurant for a financial profit, but I did not expect the moral and human benefit of being there, and the feeling of real success from helping a poor person who needs to eat, which is the right of every human being," Ayyad said.

Inside the restaurant you will find donation boxes for the Emirates Red Crescent.

The first branch of Foul W Hummus opened in 2011 and the chain has expanded since.

Ayyad told The National there are now two branches in Barsha, with one on Sheikh Zayed Road opening soon, and one in Sharjah's Al Sham Tower on Al Taawun Roundabout. They are open from 7am until midnight, daily.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 29 JULY 2019. Foul w Hummus restaurant in Barsha has placed a sign saying “If you can’t buy this food, it’s free, this is a gift from Allah” (Photo: Reem Mohammed/The National) Reporter: Section:
Foul w Hummus is already very affordable. Photo: Reem Mohammed / The National

The restaurant has received attention on Twitter for giving back. Marketeer Tony Khan tweeted: "Dear Dubai, if you retweet, share or promote one thing today, let it be this: This is Foul W Hummus in Barsha, where if you can't afford food for yourself, they will serve you for free. Please visit this [restaurant] as a paying customer to help them continue this."

At the time of writing, the tweet had received over 750 retweets and 630 likes, with a host of positive comments in response.

"One of the best places of its kind in Dubai," replied one user, @MFornow5. And @VelvetRhyme wrote: "This is awesome. Have heard about them before too. Will go here one day."

Khan also wrote: "I know this is true personally. One of my friends went to try their legendary falafels and didn't realise he left his wallet at home. He ordered one plate and after eating realised his mistake. The manager insisted not to take money, saying, 'My friend, pray for us, that's all'."

Updated: August 27, 2019 11:06 PM

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