Imagine that a young girl in the community is getting married. Her family is not wealthy, nor is the groom affluent. Alhamdulillah, Allah Ta‘ala has blessed you with abundant wealth, and you have a spare pot set that you do not require. At this juncture, you think of gifting it to the young couple, knowing that this gift will be a tremendous assistance to them. However, do you go ahead with the thought, or do you ignore it and remain indifferent to their plight?

Imagine that you hear of a woman in the neighbourhood who will soon be receiving a large group of guests. You know that this woman will struggle to prepare for the guests, as she has small children to look after, and alhamdulillah you have the means and time to make something and send it to her home. Will you choose to assist her in her hour of need, or will you turn a blind eye to her predicament, as it’s not your problem?

In this manner, there are countless other examples, where on a day-to-day basis, people around us require assistance, and often, it is well within our means to assist them, and doing so will not cause us any difficulty or trouble. The question is, “Are we moved and affected by the plight of others, to the point where we are prepared to render assistance, or are we only concerned about our own comfort and happiness?”

When we examine the blessed, sublime example of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), which is the golden standard for the Ummah to emulate, then we find that he was an embodiment of love and compassion. At all times, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) wished to assist people in need, alleviate their difficulties and bring them comfort. In fact, the extent of the compassion which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had in his blessed heart can be gauged by the fact that even before nubuwwah, he would earn money in order to support those who were unable to work and earn for themselves! (Saheeh Muslim #403)

This spirit, of having compassion and caring for one another, is one that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) taught to the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) as well. Hence, on the sorrowful occasion when Sayyiduna Ja’far bin Abi Taalib (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was martyred, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) encouraged the community to prepare food for the bereaved and send it to their home to assist them in this time of tragedy, as dealing with the loss would make it difficult for them to cope and see to some of their needs. (Sunan Abi Dawood #3132)

Sometimes, a person may think to himself, “There are so many people in difficulty, and the problems in the world are so many, while I am only one person with limited means, so what difference can I possibly make?” Thereafter, with this thought in mind, a person ceases to help anyone at all, feeling that it is a futile effort.

In this regard, we must bear in mind that if we cannot help everyone, it does not mean that we should not help anyone at all! Secondly, if we help and empower just one person, insha-Allah that person will in turn help the next person. Thereafter, since we were the ones who initiated this series of goodness, we will continue to reap reward.

Thirdly, we must remember that every person does not require financial assistance. Rather, some people require guidance, encouragement, advice and direction. For instance, we may know of a woman who has been widowed or divorced and is now baking and selling her product from home in order to support herself. Perhaps we have a recipe that is tried, tested and regularly-requested, and we know that this recipe will be a best-seller. However, do we have the heart to share our coveted recipe with this woman, knowing that it may boost her sales and assist her in her time of hardship?

In fact, even if the person asking for the recipe is not in desperate circumstances, why should we not share it with them? After all, sharing the recipe will bring happiness and joy to people’s hearts, and the hadeeth mentions that bringing happiness to a Muslim is among the greatest acts of ‘ibaadah after the fardh actions. (Tabraani – Majma‘uz Zawaaid #13740)

In another hadeeth, it is mentioned that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was once asked regarding the one who is most beloved to Allah Ta‘ala. In reply, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “The most beloved of people to Allah Ta‘ala is the one who benefits people the most.” (Tabraani – Majma‘uz Zawaaid #13730)

Unfortunately, in today’s times, we find that almost everything has become monetized and commercialized. People are told that it is ‘every man for himself’, that it is ‘survival of the fittest’, and it is a ‘dog-eat-dog world’. Hence, the number of people who are willing to help the next person, out of the sheer and sincere wish to please Allah Ta‘ala, is slowly dwindling, while the number of people whose lives revolve around money is ever-increasing.

In stark contrast to this heartless and self-centered existence is the compassionate way of Islam, and how fortunate indeed are those who imbibe this golden value of assisting others in need, as Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has mentioned that such people will remain safe from the punishment of Allah Ta‘ala. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Indeed Allah Ta‘ala has certain creations (people) whom He has created for (fulfilling) the needs of people, and people turn to them in their times of need. These (people) are the ones who will remain safe from the punishment of Allah Ta‘ala.” (Tabraani – Majma‘uz Zawaaid #13732)

Thus, we should all strive to soften our hearts, sympathize with those in need and try our best to assist them according to our means and capacity. If we cannot assist them, then at the very least, we should make du‘aa for them, as this is within the ability of every person.

Insha-Allah, if we have such hearts, that are always desirous of assisting those in need, Allah Ta‘ala will also assist us in our hour of need and will keep us safe from His punishment.