Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Kindness and Humility

An interesting event happened to me earlier today. I was on my way to a wedding when a rather scruffy looking man greeted my party at the door of the hotel. He had a bouquet of red roses, bright vivid ones and he was selling each rose for $6.00 each, asking the people entering the hotel to buy one to help out the homeless. He didn't plead or beg but seemed to be happy being a little industrious so as to help himself get by than to merely rely on the sympathy of strangers and do nothing. He said it with what I felt was a genuine sincerity and enthusiasm.

My party moved inside the building without purchasing any roses and made our way to the convention area. It struck me as incredibly heartbreaking that there was a man, poorly dressed, who was forced to sell single roses in front of a hotel where several rich people who probably thought very little of him strolled by. Had it not been for the fact that the people entering the hotel were dressed in formal suits and lavish dresses and this man standing out front was dressed in worn out clothes, there was no other difference. At the end of the day, that man was just as human as you and I, and in his own small way, he was trying to meet his needs in probably the only way he knew how or could given these difficult times. I went downstairs again to look for him again but he was nowhere to be seen. I truly regret not stopping at the entrance and doing something right then and there. I regret not helping him and treating him with dignity and decency. Except for my fancy clothes, there was no difference between he or I in the eyes of God.

This experience helped me appreciate once more something I already knew: the importance of never losing our humility. Our wealth, just as our hard times, are both tests for us. I have always felt that the mark of a person's character was revealed in how he/she treated someone who didn't need to be treated well and this meant all the poor people, the elderly, the children, everyone who in society's hierarchy would be considered below you. If the Prophet (PBUH) who is the greatest of all men could have a meal with his servants, who are we to treat anyone poorly, no matter what their situation in life?

My advice to everyone and a rule that I too shall strive to follow: treat every person who is down on his luck with dignity. Talk to them, listen to their story. At the end of the day, if the roles were reversed, you and I would wish that someone would treat us in this way too. These souls are oftentimes braver and have been tested far more than many of us who have been blessed by Allah (SWT). Never be harsh or condescending in either your words or the way you say your words and your actions and the manner in which you do them. After all, they are also your brothers and sisters in humanity and it is our duty to look after them. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Eid Mubarak to all!

We here at Islam-Hacks would just like to wish you Eid Mubarak! Ramadan is already over but the lessons learned do not have to be forgotten simply because one no longer has to fast. May the benefits that you achieved during Ramadan carry onto the year ahead and may Allah (SWT) accept our fasts. Ameen.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

As Ramadan draws to an close...

As Ramadan draws to a close, it is worthwhile remembering the reasons why we fast in the first place. Long after the days of fasting have passed us by, the lessons we learned during this month should stay with us.

As cliched as it may sound, Ramadan really and truly is the one month that you can somewhat experience what life for a poor person may be like. Oftentimes when we are faced with difficulties, we tend to think that we have the worst lot on the planet and that other people have it so much better. Even though you may have heard it multiple times before, it really is true that there are millions more people who have it worse than you.

Here in Canada, we are blessed with plentiful access to fresh water. We can run our faucets for as long as we would like without any real regard for how much we use. Halfway around the world or even in your own neighbourhood, there is a person who would love this same luxury of not having to worry about the quantity of water available to him/her. In the same way, when we break our fast, many of us scarf down tremendous amounts of food to make up for the long fasting hours. For some people, Iftaar is a luxury they can not have.

I came across this randomly while surfing the web but it should paint a picture of the reality we in North America may never see: 'A leading Mufti in Saudi Arabia was brought to tears on live tv when he received a question from Somalia: “Is my fast accepted if we have no Suhoor or Iftaar?”'

Unfortunately, this is the reality of far too many people in this world. This is why even though the fasts may have been hard, it is important to remain mindful of the misery of the poor who can not even seek an escape from their difficulties. Most of us, regardless of what our problems may be, have the opportunity for a change and hope. The enormous difficulties facing other people all around the world and even within your own city can seem insurmountable and it can be difficult not to slip into despair about a change ever coming. Even if your circumstances right now seem challenging, if you have the opportunity for change, be grateful for it. For a lot of people in this world, even the hope of change can be a dream they may never realize. 

So even after Ramadan ends, let not the humility it brought you leave in the months to come. Be aware of your fellow man. Be conscious of the suffering in this world and let it soften your heart and make you grateful for all the blessings you have been given, no matter what your situation in life is.