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Monday, August 15, 2011

"The one about the importance of intentions..."

During this blessed month, I find that Muslims around the world busy themselves of the usual taraweehs and extra prayers - which is a wonderful feat; but at times it is best to utilize the plenitude of Ramadhan, by taking a moment to rediscover our own standings in life. A mid-term progress report of life, if you may.

Very recently a friend shared an excerpt from a popular blog; which narrated the tale of an immigrant beggar making his usual rounds at a local Malaysian street market. What's easily discerned as an article promoting forgiveness and empathy - quickly turned tides as the blogger made a discovery that the poor beggar was 'somewhat' more than able and appeared to have fooled those who made donations to him, by making quick and easy money. The writer then continued to narrate that the beggar also wasn't Muslim (as he made himself appeared to be). This very fact displeases me, as Malaysians are a generous lot - and our charitableness are often abused by various parties for their own selfish gain.

But this scenario was not what worried me the most; as I skimmed and deciphered towards the end of the article, I came to realize a startling verity - how easily God takes away an opportunity for merit, and convenes us instead, a decree of sin. When we give to charity - how many of us actually do so with the niat (intention) of charity? How many of us, give so gladly to someone or some charity - and then smite them with curses and ill-words upon knowing we have been conned into giving money to those unworthy of our donations?

And then there was this Muslim brother I often meet during the iftars (break-fasting) who said;

"Whatever money I have, it is not mine; it comes from Allah. Whatever worldly possessions I have, it comes from Allah. Whatever more I have, I share with anyone I can. Because no charity is a penny lost. Every charity is a penny which brings us closer to Allah swt."

I believe that when it comes to discern compassion from apathy, God always tries not those who have loved, but those with the capacity of loving. When He wishes to teach us the discipline of selflessness and clemency, He tries not those who are comfortable and able, but those who have the capability of being so. And when He wishes to impart the wisdom of humaneness and righteous thinking; He tries not those who are mindful, but those who are often surrounded by wealth - who instead are those capable of them.

I am grounded by the fact that God, is Great and Almighty. He knows what we don't, and He tests us trials we sometimes can never fathom in our lifetime. There is reason behind everything we do, everything that transpires, are inflicted with, received and lost - but often at times when these events occur against our gains, we fail to concur continued faith and trust in Him. We question why we are tested as such, why our prayers are left astray, why bad things happen to good people and why those who deserve punishment, still thrive.

A majority of us (including myself) seem to forget - the reward of the most grandeur proportions; the epitome of achievements and gains come not the easiest. The very best of human beings are not those who walk the carpets of luxury, but those who have been tested, trialed and persevered under the continuous gravels of worldly tribulations.

I used to be those who curse at the knowledge of being conned. But I know now that was an opportunity given to me to learn patience, humility and humbleness. The capacity to obtain selflessness, and to share kindness. I was a victim of ignorance and stupidity but the wonderful thing about God's love is - He always gives us the room to learn, to improve throughout our lives. He gives us, without fail, more and more provisions for His grace even in times when He is in the least of our thoughts.

Therefore it matters not then - when we offer money into the hands of a besieged beggar, whether he is poor or rich; Muslim or non-Muslim; Malaysian or an immigrant; genuine or a fraud. When we give - what matters most is whether we give under the conscience of good intentions, or not. Everything else after, is by God's will and beyond our grasp. I can only pray for the so-called 'fraud' beggar, that he is well and for God to one day lead him a straight path. 

My mother reminds me to not judge people; for who are we to label them inferior than us?

Maybe, we can all benefit from the wisdom of Hz. Mawlana - when in his lifetime, shared this idealistic view of humanity;

"In generosity and helping others, be like the river.
In compassion and grace, be like the sun.
In concealing others' faults, be like the night.
In anger and fury, be like the dead.
In modesty and humility, be like the earth.
In tolerance, be like the sea.
And either exist as you are, or be as you look."

Ramadhan is known to Muslims all over to be a month where charity is celebrated as much as our ibadahs. Let it be that towards the end of this holy month - the next time we cross paths with a needy individual; we be blessed with the capability to share our wealth selflessly, even without the providence of knowing the truth, insyaAllah.



Anonymous said...


Very nice entry Jep. You know, yesterday, I was in KK, waiting in the car with papa, while Aiysha n Tiqah was getting yoyo for me to take back to Andi n Fifah. And there was this lady n her son who calimed they came from Pulau Banggi, to visit a relative in Taman Jimbo in Luyang, but it turned out they have gone to Bukit Garam, Sandakan. She was regretfully asking if we could spare her money for fare to Kudat. After some questions n aswers, papa gave her RM25 (she said that's what it'll cost her for bus fare to Kudat). Then she hesitated n papa asked why. She said, it won't be enough to take her to P.Banggi n breaking fast. Papa was out of small change n so was I, so I just gave her RM50. Then I told papa about this entry and we decided we r not going to question if she was genuine or not. We gave because we felt she was in need n we were in a position to do it! Thanks Jep, for setting my nawaitu straight.....mama.

Anonymous said...

Dear brother Jep..I must admit, I really admire your writing. you preach lessons about life that always make me feel good. I like the way you view things and always it turns out that we have similar views. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so inspiring. Keep writing.I'm looking forward for your new entries..everyday!