Relieving Others of Their Burden
In a society, those who rule over the hearts of people are the ones who allow their own hearts to become a place of sympathy, care and affection for others. In contrast, those who “admire” themselves above all others and love themselves more than anyone else and seek their own comfort before anyone’s well-being or good health, have no credit among God and His Prophet, nor any standing or esteem among people...!
The invaluable gem called “serving the people” may be found only in the hearts free of selfishness. The Beneficent God, loves His creation, therefore, He clearly loves those who are kind to serve His servants.
Service - the Supreme Capital
Most people desire supremacy, leadership, glory, and popularity, but don’t know how to obtain it. Let us put it this way:
“How much “spare” have we opened up for others in our hearts?
How much time have we devoted to people in our lives?
And ... How much do we think of people’s problems, hardships, worries, etc. ?
Perhaps some will say: “We have enough problems of our own to deal with. We should cry for our
own sake before anyone else and if it is helping people, we need the help ourselves...
But ... what happens to generosity?
If the toils of Muslims don’t trouble our minds, we aren’t even Muslims! Because being a Muslim doesn’t comprise only a name, passport and its scheduled prayers, etc. The greater part of Islam consists of loving others, compliance, generosity, serving people, helping the needy, relieving the heaviness of their burden and easing their desires.
As our Holy Prophet (SAW) said:
“He who starts his day without thinking about Muslims, isn’t within the folds of Islam. And whoever hears the cry of a fellow human being who calls upon a Muslim for help and doesn’t answer his call, isn’t a Muslim at all.”
So a portion of our hearts, life, kindness, thoughts, struggles, efforts, love and compassion must be spent on the creatures of God. He tests his creation in this manner. The result of this civility and companionship is popularity and supremacy. Whoever works for the sake of people, will be loved by them. Whoever serves the society, will have the benefit of its loyalty. The leader of any group, is actually their servant.
Imam Khomeini (RA) said: “Don’t call me a leader, call me a servant!”
Serving the servants of God isn’t only the duty of statesmen, leaders and managers of any office or affair, but the responsibility of each and every person in association with others in the society.
Relieving Another Person’s Burden:
One of the greatest blessings is being able to resolve someone’s troubles. It is a blessing deserving much gratitude. Resolving toils is among the noblest actions in the eyes of God and Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
Easing the needs of a faithful has been paid ample attention in traditions (Ahadith). It is a work done for the sake of Almighty Allah and He is the only One we should expect a return from (for the action done).
The intention to act for Allah’s sake (to get closer to Him) leads to prosperity, success, and flourishing of positive attributes, and hypocrisy is its worst plague.
Those who help others without expecting any return are the chosen people and special agents of the Almighty God Himself. They have the grace of God guiding their every step, along with the greatest of rewards for the service they pay - prosperity in this world and the one to come!
Imam Reza (AS) reminds us as below:
“God has servants on the earth whose virtuous deeds are helping others and serving them in their needs. They are safe and happy in their next life.
Troubles in this World & Fulfillment in the Hereafter!
You must have heard that our Imams have left off Tawaf (circling the House of God in Mecca) of the Ka’ba to help a fellow human being, or scolded a person who kept to his tawaf while someone called out for help - telling them: “Do you not know that helping others is better than many a tawaf made and has a better reward in the eyes of the Almighty God!
Our Holy Prophet (SAW) has told us, thus: “The best of people is he whom people benefit from.”
A Lesson from Imam Sajjad (AS):
Some of the greatest chapters in the life of our leaders (spiritual or otherwise) is concerned with caring for the poor and needy, a lesson most people have learned from our great Prophet (SAW). Truly ... what is the scale to show the “goodness” of a human? How about the amount of his usefulness to the creation! And relieving others of their burden.
There is a story about Imam Zainul-Abideen (AS), thus:
He was passing through a road and whenever he came across a rock or clump he would stop and get off his horse and remove that inconvenience from the road with his own hands. Then he would mount and continue on ...
This is true molding in the path to building a human being!
Any sort of work that would smooth the way for a fellow creature would qualify as a worthy social act from a Muslim.
Spending One’s Wealth and Social Dignity (Credit):
Wealth and assets aren’t necessarily money or financial means, sometimes influence and credit count more than money ever could.
So, helping others doesn’t solely consist of spending money for them. A dignified person who is poor can spend from his wealth of credit and dignity in the way of helping others.
Even if one cannot do anything, conveying the need or problem to someone who can is an act of worship and service to itself. Playing the role of a guide and a medium for solving a problem affords one a share in the reward.
Don’t allow yourselves to be a dead end or mirage which deceives (or remains fruitless) to those who come your way. Try and be a “conductor” of services and be among those who may do the service.
In a tradition ((hadith) from our 6th Imam, Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (AS) said:
“He who doesn’t welcome a believing brother with an open arm (smile) doesn’t believe in Allah, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and Imam Ali (AS). If he can relieve his need, he should hurry to finish the task, and if it is not within his power, he should try and solve the problem through others.”
You can see that serving a brother-in-faith is a condition of both Islam and the velayah. It is a characteristic to recognize and measure one’s faith in God and His Messenger (SAW).
Some people are the medium and cause of mischief and evil. They are, in reality, the children or student of the devil! At the same time, some people are the cause of blessings and virtuous deeds. This in itself is one of the greatest blessings bestowed from Allah to His special subjects. If a needy comes to us for a certain cause or reason, we shouldn’t send them off immediately. Even if there is nothing we can do, we should refer them to another person, place, organization or office etc., so that they can be of service to him.
Charity - Without Money:
When hearing the word ‘charity” our minds turn quickly to financial aid for the poor and needy or throwing coins in a charity box and thoughts of the kind, but this isn’t the only form of charity.
We can be charitable, without spending money. Of course, financial assistance holds its own special place and is good under all conditions. But what is important is paying attention to the proportions of “doing good”.
Now let us take a look at a saying of the Prophet (SAW):
“Each Muslim must give charity each day.”
When the Prophet (SAW) said this, many of his companions (Sahabah) were amazed and asked:
‘O Prophet of Allah! Who may have the ability to do this?
To clear the misunderstanding, the Prophet (SAW) said:
“Charity - is: dissipating the causes of trouble and worry for people; guiding the ignorant to the right path,
visiting the sick,guiding to the right (path) and preventing from evil.
Generosity & Sacrifice:
It is a beautiful word and a great virtue, but in action it is the most difficult deed! Thinking of others before ourselves requires bravery and this heroic action can only be done by great and pure souls.
Self centeredness is the greatest barrier to generosity and sacrifice. Assets and Attachments are dangerous plagues to the nourishment of such elevating characteristics.
Brotherhood finds its meaning in the shade of generosity. A generous person is one who gives priority to the needs of others, one who accepts the hardships in spite of its fatigue and sacrifices his personal rights for the sake of God and His servants.
Generosity is above all attachments. In financial relationships we see a similar issue. Those whose happiness is born out of misfortunes for others isn’t a Muslim and he who achieves his rest through the hardship of others is not a human being.
If in the congregation of believers, the spirit of brotherly generosity nourishes, not only will the clash over personal interests subside and people will stop deceiving one another, but also the spirit of tolerance for the comfort of others shall flourish as well; a completely virtuous (God-pleasing) action. And since the generous works for the will of God, he shall be fully rewarded to his hearts content.
Spirits full of generosity, service and helpfulness, who use their credit and social dignity to serve their kind possess a value beyond thought and if such virtues spread throughout our lives and associations with others, we may witness heaven even in this world!