Love For Your Brother What You Love For Yourself
by Khadija Snowber Aqsa School
It’s a scorching hot Monday morning. Most people are out at work or enjoying their summer vacation, travelling to new places, and seeking refuge from the hot 98, almost 100 degree weather. But today, like every other Monday, people from all over are lined up waiting in line, a line that reaches beyond the plaza, despite the harshness of the weather, not for a clothing sale, not for some black Friday deals, but for a loaf of bread, fresh fruits and vegetables, and some canned goods from the Mosque Foundation Community Food Pantry. Looking past these faces anyone can clearly see that the people themselves are so ethnically diverse. An Indian woman wearing a sari, standing next to an Asian man, who is conversing with an African American woman, whose husband is an Arab! Never in my life did I find such a beautiful silver lining. Although all these people are here due to the economic downturn, they still manage to have hope and a positive outlook on humanity because there are still people out there who care and are willing to serve their community regardless of ethnicity, religion, race and gender.
For the past five years, I have had the opportunity to volunteer at the Mosque Foundation Food Pantry with my aunt, making the bags that everyone lines up for Monday morning. But one instance I witnessed really stuck with me. It was late July, Ramadan 2011. A Christian African-American woman knocked on the pantry door.
“Hello. Is anybody there? I know the sign says open Monday, but is anybody there?”
My aunt quickly opened the door. “Yes, is there anything I can help you with?”
“I was looking around the neighborhood for help. I recently lost my job, and I was struggling to pay the bills. This is my first time doing this, and other food pantries were closed. I didn’t know where to go. Do you mind making an exception?”
“Of course! Come to the back with me, and we’ll fix you up a bag that will last two weeks. I’ll give you some paperwork to fill out, and you are welcome to come back next Monday. Do not worry; God will help you. This is just a trial. We all get tested, but that’s how we know God loves us, and see Him provide for us. Praise the Lord!”
My aunt called the pantry coordinator just to make sure that she followed protocol, and I will never forget how my aunt handled that situation with such grace, respect, and compassion. After the lady left, I asked my aunt, “How were you so calm and so helpful that quick?”
“It’s all by the grace of Allah (SWAT). And the compassion and humanity that Muhammad (SWAS) would have had. Remember, Khadija, that could’ve have been me or you. Be grateful and remember what the Prophet (SWAS) said, “Love for your brother, what you love for yourself.”
Alhamdulillah, I have been blessed with the pleasure to have a warm cooked meal, three times a day, every single day. That in itself is a blessing, but how can I go to bed at night when there are others in my community who barely have enough food to last a day? Just like the Prophet (SAWS) said, "He who sleeps contentedly while his neighbors sleep hungry did not believe in my message."