Make A Difference
(While You Can)!
Helping Others Is Like
(M. Javed Naseem)
مَا لَكُمْ لاَ تَنَاصَرُونَ
"What is the matter with you that
you do not help each other?”
وَتَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى ٱلْبرِّ وَٱلتَّقْوَىٰ وَلاَ تَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى ٱلإِثْمِ
وَٱلْعُدْوَانِ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ شَدِيدُ آلْعِقَابِ
“Help one another in righteousness and piety,
but do not help one another in sin and rancor!
Fear Allah for Allah is strict in punishment!”
Deen is the word Allah, the Almighty, used in the Quran to define Islam. Deen is not a religion, as is generally misinterpreted. It’s a complete code of conduct, a complete way of life, and religion is a small part of it. Islam is a very simple way of life (Deen) but unfortunately the ignorant Mullahs (with no or very little knowledge of the Quran) have complicated it.
The definition says that surrendering to the Will of Allah is called Islam. In other words, we need to obey Allah’s commands to please Him. And what are the commands of Allah about? Well, they are about you and me, our rights and responsibilities towards our families, our neighbors, our brethren in faith and humanity, about our society, about governance, about the ruler and the ruled, about the welfare of mankind; and to some extent about the rights of Allah too.
In nutshell, one verse from the Quran (Surah al-Baqarah) sums it up so that you don’t have to hit your head against the wall. The purpose of Islam as a Deen is to promote piety and righteousness so that the society is formed on social justice, peace and mutual respect. It says:
لَّيْسَ ٱلْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ ٱلْمَشْرِقِ وَٱلْمَغْرِبِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱلْبِرَّ
مَنْ آمَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلْيَوْمِ ٱلآخِرِ وَٱلْمَلاۤئِكَةِ وَٱلْكِتَابِ وَٱلنَّبِيِّينَ
وَآتَى ٱلْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِى ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ وَٱلْيَتَامَىٰ وَٱلْمَسَاكِينَ
وَٱبْنَ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَٱلسَّآئِلِينَ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ ٱلصَّلاةَ وَآتَى ٱلزَّكَاةَ
وَٱلْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُواْ وَٱلصَّابِرِينَ فِى ٱلْبَأْسَآءِ وٱلضَّرَّاءِ
وَحِينَ ٱلْبَأْسِ أُولَـٰئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ صَدَقُوآ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُتَّقُونَ
“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces
towards east or west; but the righteousness is to
believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels,
and the Books, and the Messengers; to spend of
your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin,
for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for
those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to
be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity;
to fulfill the contracts which you have made; and
to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and
adversity, and throughout all periods of panic.
Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing.”
Therefore, a fair and just society is based on social justice and helping each other. If we are helping others, in a way we are indirectly helping ourselves. Allah tells us in the Quran that the poor and the needy have their share in our wealth. That’s why Zakat (the poor-due) is obligatory in Islam. And that charity is the best way to please Allah. In return, we flourish and succeed in this world and in the Hereafter.
فَآتِ ذَا ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ حَقَّهُ وَٱلْمِسْكِينَ وَٱبْنَ ٱلسَّبِيلِ ذٰلِكَ
خَيْرٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَ ٱللَّهِ وَأُوْلَـٰئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُفْلِحُونَ
"So give what is due to kindred, the needy, and
the wayfarer. That is best for those who seek the
countenance of Allah, and it is they who will prosper."
وَفِيۤ أَمْوَالِهِمْ حَقٌّ لَّلسَّآئِلِ وَٱلْمَحْرُومِ
“And in their wealth and possessions was a
due share of (the needy,) beggar who asked,
and him who was prevented (from asking).”
Safwan bin Salem narrated this Hadith and confirming the same Abu Huraira (r.a.a.) also narrated that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said:
“The one who looks after and works for a widow
or for a poor person, is like a warrior fighting for
Allah’s cause, or like a person who fasts during
the day and prays all night.”
-- (Bukhari, Vol. 8, Book 73, No. 35).
We are one community and are supposed to help each other in times of need. As human beings, we should feel for others because we are all parts of one great body; pieces of one big jigsaw puzzle. One without the other is nothing. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said, as narrated by An-Numan bin Bashir:
“You see the believers as regards their being merciful
among themselves and showing love among themselves
and being kind, resembling one body, so that if any part
of the body is not well, the whole body feels the pain,
sleeplessness and fever with it.”
-- (Bukhari, Vol. 8, Book 73, No.40).
That’s the way the Muslim community should be. The best among us is not the one who has achieved top position in sports, education, science, technology or arts. These honors are good for one’s personal satisfaction. If he/she cannot use his talent for the benefit of other human beings, it’s of no use.
We should always think about others - the less fortunate, the not-so-lucky, the handicapped and the needy. If we cannot help them materially, we should at least console them morally with some kind, nice, soothing and sympathetic word. Don’t ever think it is worthless! It matters, for it touches the heart and soul of the needy.
Let me give you a simple but very important example from real life!
Can you name:
· Five wealthiest people in the world?
· Five Olympic champions in sports?
· Five winners of Miss Universe contest?
· Five people who have won the Nobel prize?
· Five Senators of your own country?
See, how difficult it is? You don’t remember them. You can name only a couple of people out of 25 elite. You don’t even remember the best 25 people in the world. They were the most important people at that particular time of history. But none of us remembers the headliners of yesterday. They were no second-rate achievers. They were the best in their field. They were the people who made the news headlines. They were on TV, radio, talk shows, in the newspapers and magazines for days, even weeks. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten easily. Certificates and medals are buried with their owners.
Now, here is the second part of the same example! See for yourself how good you do on this one! Can you name:
· Five teachers who aided your journey through school/college/uni.?
· Three friends who have helped you through a difficult time?
· Five people who have taught you something worthwhile?
· Five people you enjoy their company and like spending time with?
· Five people you consider heroes and whose stories inspire you?
· Five people who made you feel good, appreciated and special?
Easy? Of course, piece of cake! These are 28 people but you remember more than 30. So, what’s the lesson?
The lesson is that the people that make a difference in your life are unforgettable. They are not the people with the most credentials, medals or degrees, most money, fame or the most awards. They are the people who cared; who touched your heart and soul; who were there with a kind and encouraging word when you were down. And that makes the difference!
(From my book: ‘You Are Special’, chapter: ‘Make A Difference!’, duly edited.)