Importance of Helping Others in Islam
By Musa Bukhari
There are almost 7 billion people that reside within this world, yet the irony is that we often feel incredibly alone and distant from other human beings. We have been conditioned to believe that all we need is Allah and nothing else. Yet, Allah gave us families, He gave us friends and He gave us colleagues. There is a deeper wisdom within these relationships. Each one is teaching us something about ourselves and our place in the world and their purpose within our lives.
Every one of us will at some point in our lives experience some type of hardship or pain that hurts us. It is therefore, important to explore the importance of helping others from an Islamic context. Helping each other is a way to overcome grief that we may experience, and it can empower us in our worship to Allah. One of the greatest human beings to walk the earth and who was also the best example of compassion and kindness in human form, was the Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam). He said:
“Whoever relieves a believer’s distress of the distressful aspects of this world, Allah will rescue him from a difficulty of the difficulties of the Hereafter. Whoever alleviates [the situation of] one in dire straits who cannot repay his debt, Allah will alleviate his lot in both this world and in the Hereafter. Whoever conceals [the faults of] a Muslim, Allah will conceal [his faults] in this life and the Hereafter. (Muslim)
It is one of the principles of our faith to help our fellow human beings. We have compiled a list of acts that you can do to help others. Some are obvious and others are often overlooked, but of great importance too.
In the Quran, Allah (swt) says: “Help one another in acts of piety and righteousness. And do not assist each other in acts of sinfulness and transgression. And be aware of Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment” (Quran 5:2).
1. Be Kind to Others
“O Aisha, Allah is gentle and He loves gentleness. He rewards for gentleness what is not granted for harshness and He does not reward anything else like it.” (Muslim).
It is important to remember that in our daily lives, we will encounter many people and we are not always aware of what storm they may be going through, The simple act of being kind can sometimes be life-changing to someone. One of the ways this can be done is through exchanging positive conversation or even simply smiling at someone.
2. Initiate the Salaam
Spread the salaam, it increases love between believers and reminds us that we are all in need of Allah’s peace and blessings in our lives. Do this with people whom you know and whom you do not know, as long as it is gender appropriate, there is a great virtue in this.
“You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you about something which, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread salaam amongst yourselves.” (Muslim)
3. Make Du’a for Others in Private
When you make du’a for someone in private, Allah sends an angel to you whom replies “Ameen and same to you”. If you help someone, Allah helps you. Supplicating for someone is a beautiful way to aide your fellow believer.
4. Ask Them What They are Struggling with and Find Ways to Assist Them
Often times, people struggle and we are left wondering what the person is going through. If you just ask, it will help you to help them sooner and give the person clarity when they speak about their issue aloud. There is a wonderful story from the life of Abu Bakr (RA) who would visit a blind elderly woman and take care of her chores and household duties. She was unware of who he was and he kept his deeds private, as it was only discovered and relayed by another companion when he witnessed this.
5. Give in Charity
“Protect yourself from hell-fire even by giving a piece of date as charity.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
The Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) also said, "We (Muslims) are the last (to come) but will be the foremost on the Day of Resurrection." The narrators of this Hadith said: Allah said (to man), 'Spend (in charity), for then I will compensate you (generously).'" (Bukhari)
6. Pay for Someone’s Groceries
A random act of kindness that can make a huge difference to someone’s life.
7. If you See Litter, Pick it Up
It is important to take care of our environment, and one of the ways to show our gratitude to Allah is to participate in keeping clean the dunya we are blessed to reside in. By picking up a can or a piece of plastic from the ground, you could potentially protect someone from causing injury to themselves during adverse weather conditions.
8. Feed an Animal
Islam advocates that the rights of animals are honoured. We know the example of the prostitute who nourished the thirst of a dog and as a result, was given paradise as a reward. We must never belittle the deeds we do, in the sight of Allah they could be significant.
9. Visit the Sick
Visiting the sick for the sake of Allah is a beloved act of worship to Him. We often forget the vulnerable and distressed whilst in the pursuit of our daily endeavours. Take some time out and visit an unwell family member, or a neighbour or someone whom you know may be sick and does not have any one visiting them.
10. Seek Forgiveness
It is imperative that we seek forgiveness as a means of purification and a greater chance of our deeds being accepted. It is important that we remember that we must help ourselves first whilst helping others. When we repent, we are cleansed. Repentance acts like a polish for the heart, the same way we polish our cars, we know when we do this, we make it shinier than when it is was left untouched.
This article should inspire to reflect on our footprint in the world and how much we are doing for others for the sake of Allah. When we serve the creation, we are serving Allah. May Allah allow us all to be forthcoming in helping others and being leaders in kindness, compassion and empathy, Aameen.