by Ikhlaq Qadri
Disasters are destined for life. Whenever there is a calamity, sufferings surge. With the human cost of the disasters being the primary concern, the damage to the economies is devastating as well.
As they say, no man is an island. There is a Kashmiri saying – Padshah-hus Tchu Csetchen e Hund Haajat Peayvaan (sometimes even the king requires a sewing needle). It is an expression to convey that no one is self-sufficient. Everyone relies on others. We all need a little help and the fact remains that human beings are not intended to walk this life, independently.
As the world today is engulfed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the death toll exceeds 100,000 globally. The activities have been halted across the geographies, leaving little behind for the people who struggle with their daily requirements.
As the virus has gone viral in Kashmir as well, the costs too seem to be similar, in fact, more. Subject to whipsawing, the families earning their livelihood on daily basis have their concerns.
Perhaps at the greatest uncertainty of time where the worst possible is yet to come, what comes to rescue is a strong community. A support system to deal with issues that are within the ambit of human reach needs to be developed. While the system is fighting the disease, the society should come forward and help people, silently.
As Muslims, it is one of the principles of our faith to help our fellow human beings. One of the greatest human beings to walk the earth and also the best example of compassion and kindness in human form is the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He has said “whoever relieves a believer’s distress of the distressful aspects of this world, Allah will rescue him from a difficulty of the difficulties of the Hereafter. Whoever alleviates [the situation of] one in dire straits who cannot repay his debt, Allah will alleviate his lot in both this world and in the Hereafter. Whoever conceals [the faults of] a Muslim, Allah will conceal [his faults] in this life and the Hereafter (Muslim).
We believe NGOs and other voluntary support organisations have an important role in a situation like this — and we are taking them onboard our elaborate response mechanism. But in view of the nature of the situation it is important that their operations are regulated.@diprjk pic.twitter.com/E6aop35jpU
— Srinagar district administration (@srinagaradmin) April 2, 2020
Charity is love, both of God and His creation. Nothing matters but life. No criteria exist. It is something you do for yourself. Giving is an ethic that has been encouraged by all the religions.
Islam encourages performing charitable behaviour and Muslim model should endorse giving to the needy. Islam, like other religions, enjoins its followers to ‘give’ for individual and societal well-being.
The concept of giving and helping those in need is so entrenched in Islam that it emphasizes that wealth is a gift from Almighty. Allah, who provided it to the person, made a part of it for the poor, so the poor have a right over one’s wealth. There are laid down procedure for philanthropy in Islam and the main three institutionalized instruments of wealth redistribution viewed as compulsory are Sadaqa (charity), Zakat (poor tax) and Waqf (trust). It is thus the responsibility of those who have received their riches from Almighty to respond to those members of the society in need.
But as we witness today, the charity, mostly is more about ‘clicktivism’ rather than an effort to ease sufferings. The acknowledgement comes from a mere click of thumb’s up icon. At times, like button alone does the job.
Charity is not commerce. It is a concept of conscience. We all go through a difficult period in our lives. Experience hardships and pain.
At times, it can mean the difference between life and death. There is no shame admitting it, but yes when it comes to flaunt the misery, too many people suffer in silence, alone.
As we announce giving to the needy with trumpets to be honoured by men, sincerity departs from the act. The essence of the task is ultimately doomed to defeat. It eventually becomes the devil’s bargain seeking fruits of charity.
Exhibiting everything that is shared from meals to medicines, clothes to carpet and even smiles to grief-stricken and expect that we are on highest moral pedestal. We are kidding ourselves. Without Almighty, there should be no enduring reason to spend ourselves in such work. At least not the publicity.
Giving sincerely awakens the soul. A random act of kindness can make a huge difference to someone’s life. Recording or remembering the acts of charity is travesty when God has promised ‘Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan which Allah will double unto his credit and multiply it many times?’ [2:245].
Then there are people who like to benefit humanity in many ways, silently and secretly. While remaining anonymous, they don’t let their left hand know what their right hand is doing.
Avoid seeking approvals. Make a difference. We may get huge publicity but somewhere someone would be craving for help. Our selfies would kill his self-respect. He would prefer hunger over hype.
Life has its own cycle. We never know when we might need to show up at someone else’s door—just be sure to remember today’s giver could be tomorrow’s receiver.
(The author is a banker. Ideas expressed are personal.)