Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The nourishment of the body is food whilst the nourishment of the soul is feeding others.’[Mishkat al-Anwar, no. 325]
Salaam alaykum dear readers,
In the United Stated alone there are more than 550,000 homeless individuals on any given night. How is that possible in one of the riches countries in the world, the “shining city on a hill”? There are a number of reasons: the majority of wealth being at the top 1%, wages below subsistence living, the shortage of mental health facilities and lack of medical services for the poor, and extortion level housing cost.
We have a capitalist system which exploits the poor and working middle class. With this kind of spurious economy, easily over half the country is a couple of paychecks away from being homeless.
There is however a story of hope that I’d like to share here. Most of you have probably never heard of the name Kazi Mannan or never ate at the restaurant called Sakina Halal Grill in Washington DC.
Who is Kazi Mannan? He’s a restaurant owner who’s showing others how you can run a successful business while still catering to those who are vulnerable and mostly forgotten in our society: the homeless population. He never turns away a person who cannot afford to buy a meal, they will eat for free.
His story is one of inspiration and shows the empathy & humanity that is in all of us. I’m hoping his story will encourage more of us to do our part to help alleviate the suffering of fellow brothers & sisters. Read the story here.
I know there will be some who will say “do you really think feeding the homeless is going to fix the issue?” My answer is no. What I do know is that most of us have no idea the story behind the homeless faces. We assume they must all be drug addicts, alcoholics, psychotic and therefore “not my problem”. If that’s your feeling, I ask you to think again. Once you know their story you’ll see it’s not so different than ours and we too, the working masses are susceptible to being homeless.
Watch what happens in this video when a homeless man is asked to share his food.
As a dear friend of mine often says: “It ain’t complicated. Just do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” Let’s set aside our prejudices and help a fellow human being in need. I leave you with the beautiful Whispered Prayer of the Utterly Poor:
From the Psalms of Islam:
In the Name of God, the All-merciful,
mend my fracture but Thy gentleness and loving care,
free me of my poverty but Thy affection and beneficence,
still my fright but Thy security,
exalt my abasement but Thy sovereignty,
take me to my hope but Thy bounty,
remedy my lack but Thy graciousness,
accomplish my need other than Thou,
relieve my distress other than Thy mercy,
remove my injury other than Thy clemency,
cool my burning thirst but reaching Thee,
quench my ardour but meeting Thee,
damp my yearning but gazing upon Thy face,
settle my settling place without closeness to Thee,
allay my worry but Thy repose,
cure my illness but Thy medicine,
eliminate my grief but Thy nearness,
heal my wound but Thy forgiveness,
remove the rust on my heart but Thy pardon,
banish the confusing thoughts from my breast but
O Utmost Hope of the hopers!
O Ultimate Demand of the askers!
O Furthest Request of the requesters!
O Highest Desire of the desirers!
O Patron of the righteous!
O Security of the fearful!
O Responder to the supplication of the distressed!
O Storehouse of the destitute!
O Treasure of the pitiful!
O Help of the help-seekers!
O Accomplisher of the needs of the poor and the miserable!
O Most Generous of the most generous!
O Most Merciful of the merciful!
To Thee is my humble subjection and request, to Thee my pleading and
I ask Thee to let me attain the repose of Thy good pleasure, and to make constant
toward me the favours of Thy kindness!
Here am I,
standing before the gate of Thy generosity,
opening myself up to the breezes of Thy goodness,
holding fast to Thy strong cord,
clinging to Thy firm handle!
have mercy upon Thy lowly slave
of silent tongue and few good works,
obligate him through Thy plentiful graciousness,
shelter him under Thy plenteous shade!
O Generous, O Beautiful,
O Most Merciful of the merciful!
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