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Reach Out Nabeelah Naeen

Eight days after the December 2004 tsunami in Indonesia, 11-year-old Fatimah was rescued from the rubble. Holding a soda can in her hand she asked, “Am I allowed to drink this? It is not mine.”

“What really moved me is the level of consciousness that the young girl had,” said Islamic Relief USA founder Ahmad El Bendary, who was at the site in Banda Aceh, Indonesia after the tsunami. “She actually could not drink it in spite of being there for eight days without any food, drink, or anything because it didn’t belong to her.”

Just like our bodies and families have certain rights over us, so do the other 7 billion-plus people around the world. Blessed and absorbed in our busy lives, we sometimes forget that our brothers and sisters are entitled to more than just their worldly belongings. The well-being of the individual takes precedence. Those of us who are privileged enough to have basic life necessities must share.

“None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother and his neighbor what he loves for himself.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

Mahmoud, a 9-year-old boy in Syria, lives this hadith (narration). Upon hearing a shot outside his house, he instantly ran out to help a wounded girl. Consequently, he was captured and tied up. By the time he was freed 18 days later, his foot was so badly infected with gangrene that it had to be amputated, said Islamic Relief USA CEO Abed Ayoub, who visited the hospital where Mahmoud was treated in Jordan.

We too need to come to the aid of our neighbors around the world just like Mahmoud risked his life to come to the aid of a girl he didn’t know. And like Fatimah, we need to look outside of our problems and remember the rights of our brothers and sisters.

We must answer the prayers of those in need and come to the aid of our brothers and sisters. Right now our brothers and sisters in Myanmar and Syria need us.

“Whoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allah will remove from him one of the griefs of the Day of Judgment.” (Sahih Muslim)

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  • Jazakallah sister truly it is one of the most needed thing …….we need to be conscious of other people rights towards us and we must strive to fulfill them iA it would lead us to be conscious of Allah’s rights towards us.

  • This anecdote about Fatimah broke my heart. I don’t see it as a testament to some lofty, preposterous “level of consciousness” though- that struck me as being utterly absurd. Rather, i saw it as a devastating indictment of the society this poor girl had grown up in, and its utter failure to create a safety net for its people, in particular its most vulnerable, like children. For the poor and needy, especially children, any doubt that exists that resources exist to care for them, whether it’s healthcare, food for the Eid feast, or a can of soda for a child trapped in rubble after a disaster is a horrific failure of their community’s Islamic duties. No child in any Islamic community should ever be concerned about going without anything they need to live happy, healthy lives because of some horribly misguided notion about the world around them having “rights over them”. That concept, while being very important, is so far and away from what the real meaning of what Fatimah and that can of soda represent that my jaw kinda dropped when I read the first few paragraphs here.

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