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