Helping people of need

Helping people of need : better served if done across different faiths

                                 M. Akhtar, Ph.D

“ Depth psychologists” or Humanists, Maslow for example, recognize a humanitarian sense given in us that gets stronger as we grow old or become mature to a high level of mentally. At that level, humans spontaneously identify with humanity at large. Short of that stage of development , many of us like to confine our charitable efforts directed to people if they are of the same ethnicity, race, nation and religion. Of all these variables, most curious is to find religion in the list which actually minimizes these limiting attributes as the basis and transcending them to their humanitarian aspect and stresses the needs which are common to all humanity. This can be said to be true of many known and major religions of the world , if not all faiths, without fear of contradiction; clearly Judaism, Christianity , Islam and Buddhism are the prime illustrations of it. Christianity and Buddhism have particularly earned the popular image which stresses kindness and other softer feelings for other s. That image may well be true in substance, nonetheless , emphasis on helping others on humanitarian grounds remains equally true of Judaism and Islam juist the same

Islam. Quran is filled with repeated reminders to help people at large because of the need alone. It goes even beyond humans in this respect and encompasses animals for help. Aaccording to one saying, the prophet of Islam spotted one person and said that he senses something good about him that will take him to paradise and then asked him what he has done. Nothing whatsoever, he replied. Then after a while he remembered about a bird who was dying because of thirst and that he squeezed water out of his socks to let him drink and make him alive.. That underscores the value of life – human and animal, saving which is accclaimed as a big virtue. Islam honors every human being, regardless of his color, race or religion: We have honored the sons of Adam, provided them transport on land and sea, sustained them with good things (17:70).

Doing humanitarian work in collaboration of people with different faiths adds an extra element that further enhances the spiritual meaning of the work, specially when the people saving are of one faith and the people being saved are of different faith. That is because it reminds us of the origin of divine faiths is one and refreshes our feeling of sharing the common grounds with peope who look different otherwise and yet are partners in the service of human society. Muslims believe in all Messengers of God and do not differentiate between any of them (2:285), believing in some and not in others is considered a serious deviation in Islam.

It is exhilarating to see different faiths joining hands in the service of human life. This is specially observable more in America that is markedly pluralistic in its structure and facilitates intermixing of people along several dimensions including faiths. Now Muslims, even though new arrival at the scene, have wakened up to appreciate the need to join people of different faiths and stand up shoulder to shoulder with them in the struggle to save humanity with people start to move forward in this cross faith arena is most satisfying, even though the movement has been slow considering Muslims are relatively new arrival in the pluralistic experience. To give a glimpse of this humanitarian work, a few excerpts are selected from a. report on recent work that was done in Detroit.

The 13-year-old resident of suburban West Bloomfield was one of about two dozen volunteers from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit who helped prepare and serve a festive holiday meal to less-fortunate people.

It was part of the organization’s annual Mitzvah Day program, the largest single day of volunteering by the region’s Jewish community, which enables Christians to spend the holiday at home with their loved ones, according to the federation. This year, about 1,000 Jewish volunteers joined forces with their Muslim neighbors.

“Mitzvah” means “good deed” or “commandment” in Hebrew.

Beverly Phillips said.

get big plastic bags filled with toys and clothing to give to underprivileged children.

Santa’s In southwest Detroit, about 700 people got to play Santa Claus for 215 families. They gathered to elves? Volunteers from the United Council of Islamic Societies, the Jewish Federation and several area churches.

Last but not least of all , we like to mention our project of Free Clinic that was launched by Muslims of Council of America in Pittsburgh- to read further, go to Family/Community Service site and look for” MCA opens Free Clinic”. Muslims were the main contributors in terms of 16 volunteer physicians and financial donors. But the clinic was run in the most depressed town for the benefit of uninsured Christian Black people

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