"Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess: For Allah loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious;-" Surah An-Nisa 4:36
When I was small, one of my favourite movies was the film 'Annie'. The story is about an orphan named Annie who met a rich man who eventually became her adopted father.
I liked the movie because it had a happy ending. Who, in the right frame of mind, doesn't like happy endings? If only every orphan child can have such wonderful life but alas, the reality can be quite harsh sometimes.
A friend of mine, sister A, always reminds me of a hadith about taking care of orphans.
Sahl ibn Sa’d reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The one who cares for an orphan and myself will be together in Paradise like this,” and he held his two fingers together to illustrate.
Recently, sister A and I were given the opportunity to spend time with a group of very special kids. Most of them have lost their father and some, both parents. Despite the hardship most of them faced, they are very strong and grateful for whatever blessings that God has given them. Their attitude and outlook on life taught me a couple things, such as, to scale down my 'diva-ness' and to reduce my whining.
We often take for granted the simple things in life that we have. We have a bed to sleep on at night yet we sometimes moan that the mattress is not soft enough. We eat more than 3 meals a day but yet we still complain that the food is not delicious. We have a closet full of clothes but yet we grumble about not having anything to wear or that our clothes are out of fashion.
These kids, I can tell you, have little indeed but they are the happiest bunch of people I've ever met. They have such calmness in their heart.
I supposed what the Wise Owl has been trying to drill into my daft brain all these while, is true....once you've accepted what is decreed for you, you will have peace and tranquillity.
Now I understand.....feeding or taking care of orphans is not just an act of kindness. The reason why we are encouraged to do so is, it's more for us than it is for them. You don't believe me?
"Abu Huraira reported: A man came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and he complained about the hardness of his heart. The Messenger of Allah said, “If you want to soften your heart, then feed the poor and pat the head of the orphan.”
Try to spend time with them. Stare into their eyes and hold their hands. You'll be surprised with the lessons of life you can learn from them. They will teach you about humility, acceptance, love, courage, perseverance, and most importantly.......about being a thankful servant.
I think that both mine and sister A's hearts didn't just soften after spending time with them; it had in fact turned into mush! I honestly believe that when one's heart is soften, it's easier to feel compassion and to absorb as well as to give love. A hardened heart will not appreciate the blessings that God Almighty has bestowed upon it.
Ramadhan is just a few days away. Don't wait for Ramadhan before you open your heart to goodness as you'll never know if you will even get the opportunity to greet the blessed month.
Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
Sarah Ar-Rahman 55:13