Compassion for all
Among many other welfare institutions and non-government organizations operating globally, Saylani Welfare International Trust of Pakistan has a remarkable record of helping people. As per reports, the Trust has hundreds and thousands of beneficiaries across the country. Besides serving as a social welfare institution, it provides spiritual guidance to the people. That deserves appreciation. In the current situation- Covid-19 Pandemic – the trust is in active mode and is discharging the duty of care. However, Trust caught flak when, according to the news item published in daily newspapers recently, it denied food supplies to poor non-Muslims. The non-Muslims were told that the Trust is for the Muslims only!
Now this is pathetic. Such a jarring attitude from this Muslim body in the face of current global crises was unthought-of. It is unsympathetic on the part of Trust’s management and is the brazen violation of the tenets of Islam.
If we look at the constitution of Madinah, Messenger of Mercy, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had introduced a separate clause for the welfare of non-Muslims. Prophet’s (PBUH) approach towards the non-Muslims constitutes one of the important aspects of His biography. Numerous books have been authored from time to time on this subject indicating the conduct of Prophet (PBUH) towards the non-Muslims. Hadith (reports of the sayings and actions of Prophet) are testimony to the fact that Allah’s apostle treated non-Muslims with love and respect. Prophet (PBUH)looked at every non-Muslim as a potential Muslim. He dealt with them with such an honor that it attracted them to faith.
Islam protects animal rights. Treating animals well is considered a righteous deed in Islam. Abu Huraira reports, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “A wench had once been forgiven. She passed by a dog panting near a well. Thirst had nearly killed him, so she took off her sock, tied it to her veil, and drew up some water. Allah forgave her for that.” (Al Bukhari). When quenching the thirst of dog can lead a prostitute to heaven, what about serving a ‘human’ about which Allah says: “I have honored the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things, good and pure, and conferred on them special favours, above a great part of our creation.” (Al-Isra).
Also, Prophet (PBUH) has been sent as “Rehmat-al-lil-Aalameen” – mercy for all that exists and not for the Muslims only, says the Qur’an (al Anbya). Therefore, followers of the beloved Prophet (PBUH) only need to be compassionate towards all, regardless of their religious beliefs. When Prophet’s (PBUH) mercy is for one and all, how can his adherents be nonchalant about others?
Pandemic Covid-19 does not discriminate. It does not see your religion, which caste you belong to, and which family are you from. It just affects you. Thus, everyone at present is suffering in one way or the other. Social workers, who are working on the ground, should try to understand the truth that this coronavirus infects indiscriminately and it is an occasion for responding to it without discrimination. At this moment, we need to put aside the differences and make joint efforts for the welfare of entire humanity.
I hope that the authorities of the mentioned Trust will take cognizance of this matter. If it is their policy, there is an urgent need to alter it. Other organizations doing charity work should also desist from such an approach. It is time to think beyond the manufactured barriers. There is a need to be human-centric rather than community, religion, and sect-specific. Only then can we defeat the prevailing coronavirus threat and overcome the crises brought about by it. I hope better sense will prevail and people will refrain from bedimming the bright picture of Islam through their close-mindedness and misconceptions.
(Author writes on current socio-political issues, and can be reached at email@example.com)