I woke up in the early hours of the morning thanks to my stomach grumbling for more food; I made my way to the kitchen and served myself. As I stared at the clock, it was almost 5am, to which I thought I will make a point to go to the mosque for the Morning prayers. I excitedly got ready and made my way towards mosque.

As I was making my way to the mosque, I saw a line of beggars sleeping on the pavement, the watchmen doing their job and the road side coffee sellers roaming around to earn their piece of bread. As I got closer to the mosque, I heard someone call out for help, when I turned to see who it was; I noticed an old man in his African designed tricycle, asking someone to lift him up so he could sit on the pavement. I saw a youth run towards him, lift him and place him where he wanted. This made me ask myself a question: ‘Had the youth not been there, would I have gone to help out?’ Well, I wasn’t sure about it, but my excuse would be: ‘I was getting late for prayers.” I was just trying to fight the inner guilt within me, by coming up with any excuse I could, however, the truth was, I was wrong.

My journey didn’t end here, as soon as I got done with the prayers, I sat down on one corner of the mosque and observed what people would do on a Sunday at 6am in the mosque. The scenery was inspirational, everyone had a book in his hand, some had the Quran, some had the book of supplications whilst some offered their prayers. There was however, a group of individuals who really caught my eye. An old man at the age of 50+ sat down with his son and started preaching him the Quran, something I thought was more like his duty and isn’t doing a favor to anyone. However, something exciting happened a few minutes later, the size of the group had increased; it had almost 12 kids seated, everyone holding the Quran and listening to the old man. These were no 20 year olds, they were 8-10 year olds. The man would recite a verse, they would repeat after him, he would translate for them and then give them a story and a lesson that they could learn from it. Upon enquiring, I was told this practice has been going on for over 2 years and is held every Saturdays and Sundays. I once again asked myself, “Would I have done that to help out?.” Only to hear my conscious speak to me and give up all the excuses it could to stop me from doing it.

As I sat down, pondered over what I saw in the early hours of a nice blissful Sunday, I kept asking myself the question. “What is my excuse for not helping out.”

Day in, day out we see people struggling in life, some can’t walk, some can’t talk, some have failed in their eyesight whilst some remain with nothing but the sincere hope of having someone to help them. Not only that, we tend to see our community struggle in various ways, yet we all let the others do the work.  You don’t need to be a superhero to help out, nor do you have to be a billionaire, all you need is the WILLINGNESS to help out. Your help doesn’t necessarily have to be on a large scale, you don’t have to go to Palestine to help out the oppressed; you can dedicate a facebook status to help spread the word. You don’t’ have to be an office bearer or a teacher in your community to help out, you could follow the example of the old man who helped kids recite the Quran when their parents were fast asleep at home! He didn’t only help the kids, but he also helped their parents in making sure they don’t fall short of their duty.

Just make sure, the next time you do cross the streets, or go to mosque, sports, or anywhere in the world, your first move should be to HELP! Don’t be like me, making foolish excuses, rather; re draft your question, from:

“What’s my excuse for not helping out?”  To: “How May I help You?”

Let’s set an example for others to follow, and be one of the first ones to help in making this world and our community a better place to live!

I end by echoing the words of Imam Ali (pbuh): Do not feel ashamed if the amount of charity is small because to refuse the needy is an act of greater shame.”

Just so we know, Charity doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary!

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