By Um Barakat
The Sufferer and the Helper : Part One
As you can see in the title of this message, I have mentioned that it is Part One. This piece was initially going to be longer but I’ve decided to keep it short, because we are easily bored. My message, what I want to get across, is simple, but how to make this message a reality takes a little longer to explain. InshaAllah you will understand something of what I am trying to say.
You can ask anyone, everyone is always going through something. Allah does not burden a soul with more than it can bear. And with that burden Allah gives you just enough strength to see it through. You will always find the strength to see it through. So when you are struggling through life, you have a choice to play one of a few roles. Sometimes you don’t have a choice, and you are the sufferer, and sometimes, you can be two in one – both a sufferer and a helper. And sometimes you can unknowingly fall into the third category – where you don’t know. You are just bobbing along, in your own world – not really helping anyone, probably suffering but not really thinking bigger or further. But not because you are cold or hardhearted, but because you sincerely don’t know. Finally, you maybe the helper, a balanced helper, that looks at the bigger picture and does things which have no gain or benefit for you- selfless helpful acts.
Look at the people in your life, everyone single one of them; not just the first loved ones that spring to mind, not your Masha’ikh, not those you love. But those other simple people in your life, whom you might not necessarily need or love, but if you really asked yourself, you would know, that they need you. Not because you are something great, not because of anything you have done but because of the simple human need of people, communication, love, kindness and mercy. Any soul, no matter how cold hearted they may seem, if you show an act of kindness towards them, sincerely, a selfless act, they will see it and they will melt. Believe me. So what about the average person? How warm and loved would you make that person feel, with an act that you gained nothing from, but they gained a feeling that someone cared? And not because you have to care, but because you do, because you really do love for your brother what you love for yourself. Because it doesn’t matter if this person isn’t in the ‘in’ crowd, it doesn’t matter if they are poor, it doesn’t matter that they don’t have as much knowledge as you, it doesn’t matter that they are quiet and aren’t always the centre of attention - but because simply you love for them what you love for yourself.
You love jannah for yourself? You should love it for them too.
A friend defined to me a selfless act: an act in which you have to go out of your way and there is absolutely no benefit in it for you whatsoever (except Allah’s pleasure).
Example 1 - You are going to a class, someone wants a lift, you are driving past their house and they ask you to catch a ride to the class with you, you give them a lift.
Example 2 – You are going to class, someone wants a life to attend, but they have no lift. They live on the other end of town to you, you offer to take them to class.
Which one is the selfless act?
We are all busy. Really, we are, I know. There’s no barakah in our time. The days seems like a couple of hours. The hours seem like a few minutes have passed. But we need to give people more time. Some people don’t have anyone. No one. People live alone. People die alone.
We are so blessed.
Count your blessings.
No really go on, count them.
One of the most important of them will be – other people.
Jannah is other people.
You like good company. You like smiley faces. You like people with an upbeat nature. You appreciate it when people help you and it makes you feel loved. It makes you feel good when someone invites you to their house, or someone buys you a gift, unexpectedly. So do you not think all other people are uplifted by these things too?
Small but sincere acts. That’s all it takes.
Look hard enough at the people you know. Everyone… look close enough and you will see that they need your help too, your kindness too, your smiles too. The believer is gentle, he spreads the greeting of peace to whomsoever he meets. The believer is kind and lowers his wing to those who ask for help, and those who don’t. Look hard enough and you will see that this person is unwell, their eyes will tell you, listen hard enough and you will hear their sorrow.
People aren’t asking you to solve their problems. They’re not asking you to give them a solution. They just want a moment in which they are happy and feel loved, cared for and special. They might not even realise they want this moment. But when it happens, they will feel good, and it will give them a buzz, energy, something from you, by Allah, that will keep them going that little longer.
It’s not about you. It never was. It’s about Allah.
Invite those who you wouldn’t normally to your house, next time you have a dinner party.
Give that person a call whom you promised to but never got round to it.
Send the somebody a surprise parcel in the post.
Let them know you are here, by taking the first step. So they don’t feel like they are always the ones tailing peoples backs.
Put your hand out so they know it’s there.
Be balanced. No one is asking you to sacrifice your time and life helping others. Just fill the moments you do have, the opportunities you do have for people who might not necessarily expect your kindness, because they are not in the inner circle. They aren’t at every Islamic event, or they don’t know your teachers, or the people ‘at the top’.
Travel that distance, even its a little further. Go out of the way for those whom you don’t love, because you know that it would make them happy and help them in their struggle.
You don’t need to make it a daily habit. But choose one person a week, whom you may know or not really know. Rack your brains and get in touch with the people who really could do with some good company, someone to cheer them up. Drop them an email. Send them a text. Go see them, call them. Just let them know you are there. You don’t need to say it out loud.
Actions speak louder than words.
And sometimes that’s all it takes. For the one who is suffering, who is going through something you can’t help them because only Allah can. For that person though, a small act of kindness, will bring a smile to their face and give them a warm feeling inside, and for some people that is enough.That gives them health. That is their ease in that difficulty. That is their peace when it all seems to get too much. That is their comfort or their ‘happy thought’ or something they will see that makes being in the dunya for this time worthwhile. That coming across you in the trials of life was a blessing within the trial.
I saw something the other day about how in Iraq in the midst of all the war and killing they were celebrating the birth of the Prophet alayhi salatu wa salaam. A group of people had got together and made food and were giving it out to people, everyone in the neighbourhood, small packakges. Something they had decided to do, for the sake of Allah. How much happiness would that have brought to someone who received that? Can you imagine?
I tried something out the other day that I read in a book. I know a lady, well actually barely know her, but I know from meeting her and speaking to her a few times that she is going through something difficult. It was in her face and through something she said. So next time I saw her I bought her a gift. It was something small. Nothing expensive, but it was something that I sincerely liked myself and thought it would make her happy. I was a bit nervous to give it her because I didn’t want her to think that I was an over friendly weirdo, but I sorted my intention out and gave it her. I cannot tell you how happy it made her. I could see it in her face. She was genuinely touched. And I know I made her day, week, and it will be something that she’ll think of and it will make her smile. I am not telling you this for praise, but I am telling you how something so small and seemingly insignificant can be something so great and beautiful for someone else.
Some people have no company, and they desperately want it, but because they aren’t our kind of person, we don’t give it. We run to houses of our Masha’ikh, we travel great distances to visit people, we take time out of our busy schedules to invite people over, or spend time with our close friends. But there are people out there who are not in your inner circle, too shy to ask, but if we just tried and reached out our hand… they would take it. People that aren’t so important – everyone wants to feel important, loved, like someone cares.
What you have is from Allah. What did you do to deserve it, nothing. And Allah can take what He gives from you within a second. So make shukr of the blessings in your life. Share them.
Be happy and reach out to others. Do it sincerely. Look carefully at those around you, every person has that sixth instinct when you know what another needs or another is down or feeling sad. Use that God given gift.
Jannah is other people.
Think about the times when you are happy and overjoyed about something, do you just not want to share that moment with someone? Something good happens and you want to tell the first person you see ‘look what happened to me?!’
Jannah will be a place which will make us happiest beyond our wildest expectations and you will want to share that with somebody. Other people.
Jannah is other people.
The Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam said; ‘Whosoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allah wil remove from him one of the griefs of the Day of Judgment. Whosoever alleviates (the lot of) a needy person, Allah will alleviate (his lot) in this world and the next. Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother’. [Reported by Muslim, Abu Dawud, and AI-Tirmidhi on the authority of Abu Hurairah] ‘
Please keep me in your prayers,