Here’s another reflection I pulled from the Archives of Anisa. In it I compare modern day Muslims to righteous people from previous generations (the Salaf). I know it’s very easy for us to read narration after narration of the Salaf’s generosity, righteousness and steadfastness upon the Deen, but admittedly it’s not as easy to follow in their footsteps! It might even be challenging to find anyone around us who does. But their lives were meant to be a blueprint for us to build righteous hearts and homes from. For us to model our behavior, manners and characters from. They are called the righteous predecessors for a reason, they have preceded us in khair and the obligation is on us to follow! Read the description of my dear relatives below and how they remind me of the righteous people I always read about.
The Home of the Masaakin
My mom just returned from a trip to Africa. She spent a good 3 months there hanging out with her Mother (now deceased Allah have mercy on her) and all of her siblings and their ever-expanding families. Additionally she spent time and was invited by many of her ehel (close family) and qaraabo (relatives). I usually spend a good portion of the day just listening to her stories from there (and inshaAllaah I hope to follow in her footsteps and visit the motherland soon!). One story in particular stood out to me. My mom mentioned the generosity of one family. The family is maashaAllaah very blessed with a good life in comparison to the majority of people living in Africa. To be honest, they are living a good life compared to many in the West! The head of the household, my Abti (an uncle or older male relative from mom’s side) is, a Doctor and his wife a store owner. They live in a huge house fully staffed with over 20-30 maids/handymen. What is amazing is not that they are living such a comfortable life, for how many wealthy/well-off people are there in this world? Rather what is amazing is what they are doing with the blessings they were given.
My mom told me that on average every day there are 30-40 masaakiin (poor/needy people) who come to eat at their house. Every day! My mom was so surprised at their generosity and hospitality not only to her as a guest but to so many of the city’s poor. And this wasn’t just an occurrence during Ramadan (which was the time that she was there), rather the family was known for this for many years. There is more! The head of many acts of charity and kindness were spearheaded not by the head of the house (my uncle) but rather his wife. She ‘married off’ her workers numerous times by paying for their weddings, new houses and all of their needs. She mentioned she regarded them as her ‘sons and daughters’ and did not make a distinction between them and her real children. Many of these workers are orphans or youth who cannot maintain a life anywhere else due to poverty. MaashaAllaah! I was just awestruck to hear of her good qualities and her open-handiness. I promised myself that I would do the same and open my (future) home to all those who were in need. It’s one thing to read a Qur’anic ayah or hadith about being kind to neighbors, the poor, the orphans, etc. It is another thing to implement it! Hearing their story reminded me of the beautiful ayaats in Surat al-Insaan. Allaah (azza wa jal) says:
“A spring wherefrom the slaves of Allah will drink, causing it to gush forth abundantly. They (are those who) fulfill (their) vows, and they fear a Day whose evil will be wide-spreading. And they give food, inspite of their love for it (or for the love of Him), to Miskin (poor), the orphan, and the captive, (Saying): We feed you seeking Allah’s Countenance only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you. Verily, We fear from our Lord a Day, hard and distressful, that will make the faces look horrible (from extreme dislikeness to it). So Allah saved them from the evil of that Day, and gave them Nadratan (a light of beauty) and joy. And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments, because they were patient.” [Surat al-Insaan: 6-12]
I ask Allaah to bless my Aunt and Uncle and make us all from those who spend from that which they were blessed with. Ameen!
Stay tuned for more reflections!