(This article was contributed by Lorna of Muslimaid.org, may Allah reward her)
As a result of the fast-paced style of modern living that we have all become accustomed to, it has never been easier to become totally self-involved and wrapped up in your own life. As we focus more on our own lives and our own happiness, goals and wishes, we then begin to forget about the people around us. Whether it is distant family members, old friends or just a stranger you walk past on the street, we are surrounded by people who all have a valuable story to tell.
Today’s self-absorbed culture means that more and more people are forgetting about the importance of community spirit, of sharing love, appreciation and good fortune with others. Our faith teaches us compassion; we are reminded again and again of the great rewards of selflessness, yet many of us feel as though we just don’t have the time for generosity within our hectic schedules and jam-packed lives.
However, it is essential for us to work towards reversing this worrying trend and instead, put a greater focus on the lives of the real people who live and work alongside us. Spare a thought for the people you encounter on a daily basis, outside of your immediate circle of family members and close friends. When was the last time that you actively went out of your way to help someone else?
Not only are compassion and empathy valuable virtues to endeavour towards, but the results of even the smallest acts of generosity on our own behalf can greatly impact the lives of others. There are many benefits that come as a result of generosity – looking ahead to the future and acting as we wish to be treated by others is the best place to start.
One of the best things about generosity is that the rewards are never limited to just one recipient. Generosity and giving promote a ripple effect – one small act of kindness can easily snowball, promoting further acts of compassion and resulting in many people throughout your community and possibly even further afield feeling the warm embrace of your initial kindness.
Within your own community, it is important to share your own good fortune with others who are not so fortunate. Charity begins at home; it isn’t hard to see why a society where each individual member contributes to the future of the community in a positive way is often seen as the ideal. Although this dream may still be a long way from reality, it is no reason why you can’t commit to doing your bit and helping vulnerable people in need. By working together, a community can help its own, providing much-needed support for the vulnerable and disadvantaged and securing a brighter future for the next generation.
As Muslims, it is essential to remember the the importance of Sadaqah Jariyah. Ongoing, continuous charity is a great way to help others while allowing yourself to reap the rewards of your generosity
and selfless actions. For those in a position to be financially and physically able to engage in Sadaqah Jaariyah, the rewards are undeniably great. Not only are the positive effects of these deeds felt throughout our lives, but they can also continue to provide benefits for others long after the initial act was performed.
After all, it is not a man’s words but his deeds which he will be remembered by, so make sure that the memories which outlive you will do your actions justice. Of course, it is worth noting that even the smallest acts of kindness can often end up having large impacts. Take the time to chat to a lonely person, donate to charity or volunteer at a local homeless shelter – you never know how many people could benefit from your generosity.