Monday, April 7, 2014

Reaping the rewards of generosity

******************** In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. ********************** Reflection ********************** "Anyone who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God..." (Nisaa 4:80) ****************** ONCE in a while, especially on Sunday mornings I would be called by an 'ustaz' to teach English and Mathematics to students at his 'tahfiz' school (school for memorizing the Qur'an). *********************** During the latest session (2nd March), when I arrived at the school compound at about 11.00 am, I saw a group of about 10 volunteers busily unloading goodies from a three ton lorry. Among items they carried from the lorry to a verandah of the Ustaz's house were fish, vegetables and fruits. ************************** All the volunteers were Chinese; their lorry had the word 'Lotus Light Charity Society' on it. They too came in some cars. As I was curious as to why a Chinese charity society was keen to lend a helping hand to a 'tahfiz' school, I delayed my class session to have a brief talk to its chairman, Choo Ah Sit, 55, and his deputy, Lai Swee Keong, 46. **************************** Choo said charity work knows no boundary. "We stretch our helping hands to all in need irrespective of race, religion and background. In Melaka, we deploy our team to give assistance to 15 centres such as orphanages and houses for handicapped children. ********************** "Three of those centres cater for Malay-Muslims, this school (the tahfiz school) in Duyong is one of them. The other two are in Ujong Pasir and Padang Temu." ************************ Lai said their team would make their rounds to distribute necessities on the first Sunday of every month. He said some of the goodies were bought with money contributed by members while the rest especially wet items such as fish and vegetables were donated by the Melaka Wholesale Market Association which is situated in Batu Berendam. *************************** "Lotus Light Charity Society is also based in Batu Berendam, so there's no problem for both societies to team up in helping the needy," said Lai. ************************ He said with the abundance of goodness in life, one must pay back by contributing something to society. ************************** "The more you contribute, the more you get the rewards. But mind you, these rewards should not be looked as material gains only but also the spiritual aspects of life including good health, vast and rich experiences, satisfaction in life and sound education." ************************ After being told that I was about to begin class with the 'tahfiz' students, Lai said: "That's good. If you impart knowledge to somebody, others would add to what you had learnt. You would be wiser by each day. You too would 'master' the subjects that you teach." ************************ Impressed with what I heard and learned from Choo and Lai, I googled for items on generosity to know more about this subject from the perspective of various peoples. Generosity is both a spiritual value and a spiritual practise. It is universal, taught around the world by all major world religions, wrote a blogger. ************************ He also wrote that generosity (paying 'zakat' –tithe- or giving charity) is one of the pillars of Islam (Rukun Islam). Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism also teach generosity as a core value and practice. ************************** In Buddhism, generosity is one of the Ten Perfections and is the antidote to the self-chosen poison called greed. ************************* Wikipedia notes that generosity is the habit of giving without expecting anything in return. It can involve offering time, assets or talents to aid someone in need. Often equated with charity as a virtue, generosity is widely accepted in society as a desirable trait. *************************** Since Choo, Lai and their friends were engaged in giving a helping hand to a 'tahfiz' school, I took the opportunity to ask the 'ustaz' of the school himself about their good work. *********************** Ustaz Rostami Abu Bakar Al-Hafiz welcomes all contributions to his school - even from non-Muslims. "I would like to take this opportunity to thank all parties concerned, their help is very much appreciated." ************************** In Islam, the Qur'an states that whatever we give away generously, with the intention of pleasing God, He will replace it. God knows what is in the hearts of men. Say: “Truly, my Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills of His slaves, and also restricts it) for him, and whatsoever you spend of anything (in God’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers.” (Qur'an 34:39) ************************** Whoever is kind to His creatures, God is kind to him; therefore be kind to man on earth, whether good or bad; and being kind to the bad is to withhold him from evil, thus in Heaven you will be treated kindly. He who is not kind to God's creatures, God will not be kind to him. ************************* Ustaz Rostami said that all, irrespective of their beliefs and religions would 'insha-Allah' (God willing) get rewards for their good deeds. But the 'ustaz' stressed that the rewards would be of use in this world only; for any good deed to be beneficial to the doers in the Hereafter the person or persons concerned must first be on His straight path, he must have the 'iman' (faith). ************************* Let us have a look at what Allah SWT has to say in Surah Al-'Asr (The Declining Day) with the meaning: 1. By the declining day, 2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss, 3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance. ***************************** Allah SWT says that everybody is in a state of loss except those who have 'iman'. This 'iman' (faith) is mentioned first, if you do not have 'the iman', then the rest of it is naught; you could do all the good deeds but they would not be looked upon what more counted by Allah SWT. ***************************** Those with 'iman' too would be in a state of loss if they do not do good works including rendering help to the poor and the needy. Those who 'cover' these two aspects too would be in a state of loss if they do not exhort one another to truth and endurance.

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