As we trot through the season of the rising cost of living, it’s pertinent to think about how others will cope with it. This story that I’m about to tell you is a good guide. Let’s reflect and value the gifts that Allah has blessed us with.
Recently a student of mine told me about this moving experience she had on holiday in Pakistan. She was embarrassed about the poverty, corruption and mismanagement of a country rich in resources. She wondered how the poor people survive where there’s no social security, no law and order and no authority. But she was pleasantly surprised when she met a lovely lady.
She said I met a cheerful and happy lady in Sadiqabad, a sprawling district of Rawalpindi. We were in the bazaar, walking and talking, and she told me “I’m not rich, but every day when I go out, I fill up two or three plastic bottles with water, I give them to the gatekeeper standing in the scorching sun or passing cyclists. They shower me with heavenly prayers.”
My heart opened, then jumped as she put emotions into small acts of human kindness. She continued “sometimes I buy two or three extra rotis or pakoras from the takeaway or the Roti Wala. When I see a deserving person, I give it to them.” By now I was truly impressed with her generous spirit and imagination. The more she spoke the more my life seemed frivolous and meaningless. She told me “There is a masjid on the corner of the street, the Imam has a credit account with the local grocery store, so every month I clear it for him. The masjid cleaner is disabled without a livelihood, so I pay his flat’s rent, after all, he is the servant of Allah’s house.”
This lovely lady was no ordinary soul I thought. She’s an angel. I was walking along with her and a young woman respectfully greeted her and said “Assalam Alaikum Auntie, thank you for paying the shop bill. I don’t know what we would do without your kindness.” Who’s that? I asked the lovely lady, she ignored my question as though she hadn’t heard it and continued, “My neighbourhood has a pharmacy where the poor come for medicine and treatment, so I give the owner some money so he can sell the medicine at a low price to the needy and sick.”
Conclusion: Charity validates your faith
The making, managing and multiplying of money is a key concern that bedevils us all the time. When we make it in a halal way, invest it in a halal way and spend it in a halal way it becomes evidence of our faithfulness. The small acts of kindness shown by the lovely lady prove how our money can make a difference in people’s lives. The truth is when we spend money on others or give to charity or are generous to someone, we have proven our faith, and we have validated our love for the Lord. Hearing all this I was numbed, I quipped “Wow! This is an inexpensive way to win the Divine.” My student said, “I now understand how the poor and the needy are cared for, it explains why Pakistan will keep going as long as there are lovely ladies.”
The Majestic Quran teaches us “Men and women who gave charity and a beautiful loan to Allah will have it multiplied for them and He will grant them a generous reward” (Hadid: 18). In another verse Allah says “The People who spend wealth in Allah’s way are like a grain that sprouts then produce seven ears, each ear contains one hundred seeds, and the one who pleases Allah He will multiply the reward many times more. Allah is the Vast, All-knowing” (Baqarah: 261).