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For our Neighbours?

Shifa Mustapha

There is nothing wrong with being wealthy if one realises that wealth, like any other gift is a trust. It is not ours to do with solely as we will, but rather to use in the ways which are best.

In the Quran it is mentioned about those who had been blessed and denied the responsibility which came with these blessings:

"And let not those who covetously withheld of the gifts which Allah hath given them of His Grace, think that it is good for them: Nay, it will be the worse for them; soon shall the things which they covetously withheld be tied to their necks like a twisted collar, on the Day of Judgment. To Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do."

(Quran, 3:180)

We, as Muslims, often feel that we have it all. If we mean the Truth of Allah, that is quite true. However, we often forget that we have feet of clay when it comes to other areas, and it is to our financial duties I now refer.

It may shock us to realise that our Jewish neighbours have a more Islamic attitude when it comes to the distribution of wealth among their own, than we do. There are many instances of their looking after the needs of their poor. I know very well of one - it was in England during the last century. A young Jewish woman was widowed leaving two small boys, the elder of which had had polio, the younger being only three years of age. Their plight was dire.

It was not as if they had been established long in England, the young woman's family was of Norwegian-Jewish background, while her husband and his mother had escaped the Polish pogroms. They knew very few and lived in a poor area.

The youngest child, although three years of age, was the only one able to bring in a wage, and this he did by selling papers. Their plight was recognised by the Jewish community and they took them under their wing. With the passage of years, the elder brother was given a Newsagency where he could, despite his incapacity, earn a respectable living, which he did.

The youngest child was trained in a wealthy household, but later chose to come to Australia where he lived and worked and died, leaving behind a well-established family. Chances of survival without help from their Jewish community, would have been very slim indeed during that time in history.

What are we doing for our neighbours?

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