Lending a Helping Hand — A Sunnah I Aim to Follow.


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

By Farahnaz Zahidi Moazzam

Journalism entered my life by default. I knew from the age of maybe 6 or 7 that I had a lot to say. As I grew up, I realized that I loved to express my thoughts through writing. I realized that whatever I said needed to have a “purpose”.

Graduating in business studies gave me a degree but somehow it did not fulfill my desire of being Me. An internship in a magazine was destined to tell me that being a writer was my calling. But, again I will say, journalism came by default. And that too development sector journalism (related to social welfare) which over the years automatically became my choice, my niche.  It seemed to fulfill my aim of “purposeful writing”. In defence of the media, unlike those who say that media is all bad and irresponsible, I sincerely believe that media also  spreads a lot of good in this world.

The Turning Point in My Life

Among the  many turning points in my life, a huge one was yet to come. A blessing, a gift. The most joyful and most rewarding, albeit at times exhausting, journey of discovering the Qur’an. In the very words of the Qur’an,    فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا


“For indeed, with hardship (will be) ease.”
[Al-Quran: Ash-Sharh (The Relief), Verse 5]

The journey, I am grateful to report, Alhamdulillah continues even today, more than a decade after it began. I hope will continue till the moment I take my last breath. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know of this treasure!

In the initial stages of  re-discovering my faith, the humanitarian in me at times clashed with the “Muslim by Choice” in me. This happened maybe because in everyday conversations, I often heard people say “humanity is the best religion”. Due to no fault of theirs and my own naivety, I began to see humanitarian efforts and the attempt to adhere to my faith as the two banks of a river, flowing in a parallel fashion but never meeting. I saw them as distant, apart, even though the waters of goodness continued to splash on both of them.

And then, in the course of understanding the Qur’an, I went through Seerah (life of Rasul Allah صلي  اللهُ عليهِ وسلم). The Seerah opened new doors to a deeper understanding of things. I understood the Qur’an better when I read more of the Seerah. I understood humans and relationships better than I had ever understood before. My relationship with the universe, the environment, with other humans and very importantly, with myself reached new heights. The disbelievers of Makkah are on record in asking for miracles to prove Rasul Allah’s (صلي  اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) prophethood. I wonder if they ever really observed his life closely.

The miracle walked amongst them for 63 years, every single day of those 63 years equaled more than a century in splendour. The way Rasul Allah (صلي  اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) talked, walked, ate, slept, worshipped Allah in salaat or fought battles on the battlefront was exemplary. And ever so importantly, the way he dealt with people, his relationships, his ikhlaaq (character), his human-centred attitude and his understanding of human psyche led to more and more clarification of life as I dug deeper into its study.

The Realization
What became clearer was the meaning of this beautiful verse:

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ


“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy for the worlds”
[Al-Quran: Surah Al-‘Anbya (The Prophets), Verse 107]

The mercy of Rasul Allah (صلي  اللهُ عليهِ وسلم)! It showered, among other forms, in the form of alleviating the pain and difficulties of the down-trodden and the under-privileged. And, with Allah’s (سبحانه وتعالى) Mercy, I understood soon that humanitarian efforts and practicing Islam are not antonyms, neither are they different banks of the same river. Rather, Islam is the river of all things good. It is the river of every Khair (goodnesss), of every Hasana. And that good must translate into efforts that remove pain and suffering of humanity. That is the teaching of Allah’s (سبحانه وتعالى) Book, and the Seerah of His beloved Prophet Muhammad (صلي  اللهُ عليهِ وسلم).

The Qur’an warns us lest we forget this when it says:

أَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي يُكَذِّبُ بِالدِّينِ 1

فَذَلِكَ الَّذِي يَدُعُّ الْيَتِيمَ 2

وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَى طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ 3

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ 4

الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَن صَلَاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ5

الَّذِينَ هُمْ يُرَاؤُونَ6

وَيَمْنَعُونَ الْمَاعُونَ 7

           
“Have you seen the one who denies the Recompense? For that is the one who drives away the orphan. And does not encourage the feeding of the poor. So woe to those who pray.[But] who are heedless of their prayer – those who make show [of their deeds]. And withhold [simple] assistance.”
[Al-Qur’an: Surah Al-Maun (The Small Kindness), Verse 1-7]

And then I glance at his life; the life of he who was mercy to the worlds. And I see his hand on the head of the little orphan Anas (رضى اللهُ عنها ) who is in his service for ten years. And I see examples of Rasul Allah’s (صلي  اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) unending deeds of charity. And I see him preferring others over himself and walking the talk and leading by example. I see him as a caretaker of the slaves and the poor and the needy and the widows and the orphans. I see him sending humanitarian aid to Makkah at a time of famine; and this is a time when Makkah is in a state of war with Medina. 

I see him protecting the rights of the most down trodden strata of society. Women were a part of the patriarchal Arab society who had no rights. I see Rasul Allah (صلي  اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) giving women, by the command of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى), the right to choose a spouse or to divorce him, and a woman the power to exercise her rights awarded by Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) just like the men. Women have rights that are different but not less in any way. I see him protecting the rights of slaves. And I see him making sure that the widows and orphans get their rightful shares in inheritance. I see him making sure that the rich and powerful do not oppress the poor. And that in Islam, in the light of his Seerah, I know today that there is no discrimination or marginalization on the basis of colour or race. If there is such a thing in a Muslim society today, I know that we as Muslims are at fault, and not our religion.

Realizing that ibaadah (worship) is done in a multitude of ways, I know today that serving humanity is a part of worship, for it is one of those deeds that win Allah’s pleasure. A hadith of Rasul Allah (صلي  اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) states: Allah will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to mankind.”
[Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 473].

Dawah done without sincerity and being a true well-wisher of humanity will be empty; something like a colourless flower with no beautiful smell emanating from it. Our calls towards Allah’s (سبحانه وتعالى) book will bounce back from ears that are blocked by hunger or disease or suffering. Dawah is powerful only when done with true sincerity, for a hadith of Rasul Allah(صلي  اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) aptly says: ‘Ad deenu naseeha, ad deenu naseeha, ad deenu naseeha’  – The Deen is sincere advice, the deen is sincere advice, the deen is sincere advice.  [Sahih Muslim].

This realization has given me a calm; a peace Alhamdulillah. A good Muslim will, for sure, be involved with social welfare, and use it as a form of showing gratefulness to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) for His infinite mercies. Today, when I write anything as a journalist, and call attention towards a problem that causes humans like me to suffer, and want to increase awareness that may help reduce the suffering of humanity, I know that in addition to the rituals that are the foundation of my faith, this too is a form of ibaadah (worship).

About the Author
Farahnaz Zahidi Moazzam is a freelance writer, columnist and blogger. Her forte is writing about human rights, gender and health issues. She is a member of the Al Huda family of workers.

Our Authors: https://quranreflections.wordpress.com/about-the-authors/ 

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About Quran Reflections

Al-Huda's branch at Khayaban-e-Sehar is one of the few Quran courses being regularly conducted in Karachi, Pakistan, where the mode of instruction and examination is English. The students and teachers have decided to upload their reflections on the Quran and class notes on this blog, in order to be available to a global audience for the latter's benefit and inspiration.
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6 Responses to Lending a Helping Hand — A Sunnah I Aim to Follow.

  1. zahrahaque says:

    This article is very nicely written.It has motivated me to follow the sunnah of our beloved Prophet saw-lending a helping hand to others.Moreover,a great reminder is the hadith that deen is sincere advice.Dawah without sincerity won’t benefit us neither will it benefit others.

  2. sayed says:

    بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
    Monday, October-24-11
    Dear brother Farahan Zahidi Moazzam
    This article was really interesting article. You have discussed the rights of the women in the Islamic society in a very nice manner. Thus you have actually demonstrated the magnificence of Islam.
    Hoe ever there are some points it needs some attention to be paid to:
    1. So far as Sonnet of the holy prophet (p.b.u.h) is considered it is all based on Quran Karim. If we go to the holy verses (Al Ahqaf: 9 and Al Najm: 3 and 4) you will read there and come to this conclusion that, All the deeds and speeches of the prophet (s.a.t.a.w.s) are all based on Quran Karim. Then if someone is following Quran Karim, actually he is following Allah (s.w.t) and the prophet (s.a.t.a.w.s).
    2. But so far as the understanding of Quran Karim is considered; When Allah (s.w.t) says that; it has been made easy for understanding (verses; Al Qamar: 17) then without any doubt Quran Karim is easy to understand for recollection and reminding of Allah (s.w.t). Than based on this order of Allah (s.w.t) which states that: verse (Al Nesa: 87); who is the most true in his speeches than Allah (s.w.t). Of course the answer for this question is that no one else can be true in his words than Allah (s.w.t). However there is some heterodoxy, which is trying to achieve their evil aims, is denying these orders of Allah (s.w.t). In the mean time if we go to the verse Al Anaam: 113 we will read in its last part that: Do not cut-off with Quran Karim and do not stretch (do not add anything in its orders from yourself) it is orders.
    3. The most important thing in the life of the human is to achieve his objectives. The objectives of the human life as selected by the Allah (s.w.t) are to act and to implement the orders of Quran Karim (verses Albaqarata: 38 and 39). It is no doubt that, someone can do whatever he likes. But the main important thing is this that; everything we do will not help us to achieve the objectives of our life. Those parts of our deeds are helping us to achieve our objectives which we are implementing it intentionally on the bases of Quran Karim just for the sake of implementing the orders of Allah (s.w.t). It means that; those our deeds which we have not implemented based on Quran Karim and by choice they adapt the orders of Quran Karim they will not bear us anything. With no doubt the wise people are always spending his whole life efficiently and do not waste his time inefficiently.

  3. zartaj says:

    mashaAllah, well written& a great reminder

  4. Mariam says:

    Alhamdulillah, a very important connection is made in this article between Da’wah (inviting to Allah SWT) and helping the needy through acts of charity (social welfare)!

    There are alot of opportunities to spread goodness in our community that we may or may not be aware of.

    Some such activities of social welfare are being conducted by Al Huda International Welfare Foundation… we can learn about and participate in these activities by visiting the following link IA:

    http://alhudapk.com/social-welfare/

  5. Pingback: Lending a Helping Hand – A Sunnah I Aim To Follow « chaaidaani

  6. Elvia says:

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    You have to spend a lot of time writing, i know how to save
    you a lot of time, there is a tool that creates high quality, google friendly posts in couple of seconds, just search in google
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