Imagine one day, you were sitting peacefully in the bus, watching people getting on and off and waiting for your stop, when an old woman, poorly dressed, walking step by step like a one year old child, dragging carefully her shopping trolley, got slowly on the bus. You decided to move back to give that old woman a space, but instead of taking that place, she went after you and took the seat just in front of yours, and placed her trolley on the way of other passengers, blocking them from going forward or backward. It was unavoidable within this close distance not to smell her coat fully soaked with sweaty smell of cigarette and alcohol, when all of a sudden she turned her head back and stared at your face. ‘Thank you,’ you would expect to hear but instead she whispered, ‘chaaaaaaange.’
Would you give her or would you not?
While writing this post, I remembered this story that I have read long time ago:
Once upon a time, there was an old kind man, he was well-off but not that rich. He was living in a quite village, just few miles away from the city. One night, on his way to pray at the village mosque, a young lady stopped him and asked for some money, she need money to feed her children who were starving for days, this was what she said. The old man gave her what he had in his pocket and went to pray. The following night, a young girl stopped him asking for money to get some medicine and food for her old poor father who had been sick-in-bed for days. And again the old man gave her money and went to pray. On the third night, the old man was walking with a friend to the mosque, a guest for a couple of days, when an old woman approached them wailing, telling that her son had left for a month and she had neither money nor food. The friend kept silent while watching the old man giving her what he had.
Did the friend give that woman any money? No.
Did he ask the old man not to give her money? No.
And did the old man ask the friend to give her money? No.
On his last night at his host’s house, the friend and the old man were stopped again by a woman with a different look, telling a new story and asking for money. When she finished, the man asked simply; ‘where is your house?’ The woman with her eyes wide open looked at the man and suddenly ran away.
‘Didn’t you realise that this was the same woman you gave her money yesterday?’ The friend said, smiling and looking at the old man.
‘No, I didn’t notice that,’ said the old man
‘Last night I could tell at a glance that she was one of those impostors, known in the city of their tricks to get money.’
The contented, placid old man looked at his friend and said:
‘I gave that money for God’s sake whether the one who asked was telling a lie or the truth. May Allah accept it as a sincere deed of charity!’
This is just a story that shows two different attitudes and I believe both are right: The old man and the friend. I’m not sure if I can act like the old man but I’m more like the friend.
Wishing you all the best,