Reflections of Youth

Helping the Homeless

By Zainab Ikram   Aqsa School         

It's a cold November evening and my mother, my sister, a couple of women from the Islamic Circle of North America organization and myself are making our way towards the homeless shelter holding trays of food. This year, ICNA's  goal (an organization my mother is part of) was to be in service for others in order for us to live by Prophet Muhammad's (sa) character. In order for us to live up to his name and live our lives according to his character and examples we decided the best way to do that was to serve others. We contacted our local homeless shelter and began to assign venues to members.

We got our trays of chicken, rice, pasta, salad, fruits and deserts and lined them up, as we waited patiently for people to come and be served. Adults and children began to line up, grabbed their plates and were eager to pile food up in their plates after waiting for so long in the harsh weather outside. Two little children came running back inside after they finished their dinner and grabbed desert. The joy on the faces of the two little children lit up my own, as I was glad to be part of something worthy.

I learned that not all of them lived in the homeless shelter. Some were just living outside and came in to eat. When one man was asked if he was going home after he ate, he replied, "What home? I wish I have a home." That's when I realized how grateful I was to serve others.

There are purposes for why we are sent to this world. We must help each other, regardless of status, race, ethnicity or religion. If we don't help or serve others, we can become self indulgent people and end up leading meaningless lives. Although many of the church's homeless shelter residents were non-Muslims, we are still taught to help others regardless of religious differences. When we do help others, it can leave a positive impact and unite communities.

After dinner was over, people stopped by, thanked us and told us how appreciative they were for the food and our services. After we had cleaned up, we began to make our way out and again were told, this time by the homeless shelter workers, how appreciative they were for our efforts. I learned that even though we are fortunate enough to afford food and have meals ready for us every night, we still must help others to show God that we are grateful and live up to the Prophet's character through service so we may lead bright lives and unite together to make an everlasting difference.