Do good, have good

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Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig

Altruism is a word used for a human characteristic that is shown on occasions when a man pushes his need aside and prefers the need of his fellowmen. This is a very valuable moral credit. This type of sacrifice of one’s needs has a large list in history especially in early Islamic history.

Once in a battle between Muslims and the polytheists, a number of Muslims were fatally injured and on the verge of death but a water carrier happened to be there and offered water to one of the wounded but at the same moment another called for water so the first sent the water carrier to the caller but when he reached the man a third one called for water and the second wounded Muslim told the water carrier to carry it to the third one  but before his arrival the man had commended his soul to Allah Almighty.

He came back to the second one but he had also expired and when he came back to the first one he was no more alive; thus they preferred the needs of their fellow men to their own needs. This was an example of altruism.

 Now our society has other standards. The spirit of Islamic brotherhood has waned and one example I shall cite here. A couple of years ago a village community with chronic water shortage was too much clinched by shortage of water and they approached another Muslim community with abundance of water in their stream in the valley – hardly 5 km away.

The stream is glacier fed, perennial, has surplus water which flows into the river from March to November. The applicants submitted that they needed water for irrigation of their fields but only in the peaks months of the year when the volume of the stream is in its full swing but if there was shortage due to no rains then the applicant shall not demand. The surplus water which goes into the river would suffice their requirements.

The inhabitants of the said village who owned the stream discussed the request and meetings were held and one notable was specially asked to give his sanction to honour the request but the man had no sympathetic passions, not a well wisher of humanity but a misanthropist rather than a philanthropist. He told the meeting that Allah Almighty is generous and he should have given those villagers water resources out of His own power.

If He has not given them enough water then it was His will to keep them dry and this deprivation may have some secret in it. We cannot provide or share our water with them. God sees their condition and would arrange for them and thus the request was rejected. The stream still flows into the river and the applicants still face the same type of shortage of water. This is our spirit of Islamism and how can we expect favours from Him who has given us countless blessings. In fact, we ‘believe in God but we don’t trust Him’.

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