You understand more when you experience it, empathy has a price we have to pay to learn it , today while communicating in the Metrobus, I saw a little girl from Syria, barely 5 years old, a sweet-looking child, holding a halved plastic bottle, turned into a glass-like shape, to ask for coins, with her sister, who looked almost 8, playing an instrument. What brought my attention to that tiny face was her stumbling down on the floor, perhaps someone shoved her by mistake or she couldn’t keep balance and fell down, but instead of crying or making a face, she bravely stood up, looked at me with innocence and stood near me, and after I dropped some coins in the makeshift money collection bottle in her hand, she smiled and thanked me in a way that made my eyes brimmed with tears.

While learning to paddle my canoe, I know the fears and the helplessness much better now. We are all born with pride, it rips my heart to witness a little child, extending her hand in front of strangers, we grown-ups fall apart when we face a little bit of insult, someone rolling eyes or ignoring us can drive many into a state of anxiety and depression,  but a child facing that response is shattering. What kind of world we are living in? When millionaires and billionaires are wasting food and money, they are paying people to generate ideas to tell them where to use that wealth, when I read in the newspapers about Jeff Bezos and all the theatrics connected to that, the news about his request to remove a section of a historic bridge in the Netherlands to make way for his superyacht, and he’ll pay for the reconstruction,  or people blindly wasting money on buying useless things, expensive brands and products to keep up with the status quo.

This world has mountains of resources and wealth, but we refuse to share it, we refuse to help, I saw no one in the bus concerned about those little girls, in fact, I saw eyes ignoring those extended hands, I felt so helpless that I couldn’t even ask them, where are your parents?  Because I knew the answer,  they must’ve been some unfortunate ones unable to feed their children, coming out of a war zone and trying to keep their bodies fed.

Islam discourages begging, extending hands in front of other humans, that’s why the Quran has given us a beautiful way to help those in need, through Zakah and Sadaqa, a way of helping others in need by keeping their self-respect intact, where wealthy individuals and those who have a certain amount take a chunk of it and shares it with those who are in need of help, and the giver is solely doing it for the sake of his creator, no pride and arrogance, as the creator of heavens and earth hates these weak traits when he gives you, the generous creator asks you to share it, he promises you to bless you more if you share it with others.

Alas, it’s a sad reality, we have abandoned the teachings of Islam, so our children are seen begging in the streets with their tiny hands. In the Muslim world, we can ensure shelter and three times meals for every human, all we have to do is honestly begin paying our sadaqa and zakah.

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