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Never Belittle Any of Your Good Deeds

Dear Imam Omar,

I hope this finds you well.

So, I’m praying regularly again, and going to the Masjid.

But it seems like every time you walk out the Masjid, you got that guy standing at the door, unassumingly looking around with the infamous charity box…

In our case, it’s Kareem, who never seems to take a week off.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have a dollar to get yourself out of an awkward situation. But this time, all I had was a twenty dollar.

Sure I felt bad about it considering that the fact that the Imam just gave a sermon on how to trust Allah with all of your affairs. And how dismayed Kareem seemed with me, I thought about giving him the twenty, but I’ve seriously got a lot on my plate right now.

Besides, what’s twenty dollars going to do?

When you sit down and crunch the numbers over and over again, your expenses in life seem never ending, and you feel like it’s only a matter of time before it all falls apart.

I look at my niece, Fatimah, and see that innocent stress-free child that I once was. She gets her daily allowance of one dollar, just like I used to, and doesn’t have to worry about spending on anything, or anyone else.

She’s pretty picky about it too, for some reason, she prefers coins instead of bills. I just wonder what she does with all that change!

Many times you don’t get how blessed and stressless you actually are, until you or someone you know is struck with tragedy. Yunus came by that day to inform me that Kareem was actually hit by a car, after Friday prayer, and suffered two broken legs. Yunus was collecting money from each member of the community to help pay for his medical expenses.

I told him I didn’t have much, but Yunus said that so many people were pitching in, that anything would count. And suddenly, that twenty dollars I refused to put in Kareem’s box for the sake of Allah went to Allah for the sake of Kareem.

We’d all love to live the life of the rich and famous, but all that is skewed perception. Besides, Allah can take it away from you in an instant and leave you in a state of desperation, yet with a much-needed dose of humility.

That’s when it’s all put back in perspective, and you realize the wisdom of the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he said that:

True richness lies in the heart.

The smaller things in life start to mean so much more, and you realize you have a lot to be grateful for.

My sister called that day to talk to Fatimah as usual. And after talking about everything that happened that day, she asked to speak to me. She told me to take Fatimah to the toy store and let her do her thing. I asked her what she meant by ‘her thing’? And she said all I had to do was take her and that Fatimah would know exactly what to do.

But just like with Kareem, tragedy is always around the corner, and people’s happiest moments in life are often spoiled by unexpected disasters.

But sometimes Allah spares you in His divine decree to teach you a lesson; And Allah told me that lesson through Fatimah, as her mom said, she knew exactly what to do.

Apparently, that second piggy-bank is where she would keep her charity money. And every time she’d buy something for herself, She’d also buy a toy for a refugee child who couldn’t afford.

Fatimah explained to me that if Allah gives you, you should always give back, even if it’s small, because it might mean a lot to someone else.

Watch the full video here:


About Omar Suleiman

Imam Omar Suleiman is the President of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and a professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Methodist University. He’s also the resident scholar of the Valley Ranch Islamic Center and Co-Chair of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square, a multi-faith alliance for peace and justice.

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