When I was in graduate school, my professor told a short true story that has stayed with me over the years.
The story is about a man who saw a teenage girl sitting by the side of the road. The girl looked sad, so the man asked her, “Are you ok?” The girl was quiet. After some time she told the man that she was just about to commit suicide, but when he asked her if she was ok, she felt that somebody cared about her, so she was not going to commit suicide anymore.
Sometimes we never know how a very simple act of kindness can change someone’s life, and even save a life.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said in a hadith,
“O Aishah! Turn not the poor away (from thy door) without giving him something although it be a date. O Aishah! Love the poor, and let them come near thee; God will bring thee nearer to Himself on the Day of Resurrection.”
(recorded in Tirmidthi Hadith 1376 (Zuhd, 37); Bayhaqi, al-Sunan al-Kubra, VII, 12)
The phrase “although it be a date” touches me because our Prophet (pbuh) is advising us to do something, even if it is very small.
When you see someone in need, you don’t have to do that much, even doing a little can go a long way.