Prophet Muhammad said: “One who is not grateful to fellow human beings is not grateful to God.” As a firm believer of this principle, I would like to start with paying tribute and extending my gratitude and heartfelt thanks to the Armed Forces of Malta and the Maltese authorities for the great work they did and the courage they demonstrated in the rescue operation off Lampedusa early last month.
Allow me to support what Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said at the time, that “the AFM soldiers out there are Malta’s heroes. They are Europe’s heroes”. I will go a step further and say that they are not only heroes of Malta or Europe; in fact, they are the heroes of humanity.
The Holy Quran states that “whoso saved a life it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind” (5:33). The AFM saved 146 human lives, so they are the heroes of humanity and all of us should be grateful to them and be proud of their great work.
I would also like to acknowledge the Prime Minister’s leadership and direction in saving the lives of people who were in danger of drowning. He remained in his office till late, keeping a close eye on the situation and maintaining contact with the AFM.
Prophet Muhammad said that “people are the family of God Almighty and God loves him the most who treats his family with love and compassion and takes care of their needs and provides them the necessities of life. Those who show mercy to others, God will have mercy on them in heavens”.
In Proverbs 14:31-32, we read: “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor. The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.”
Let me also quote a wonderful saying of Prophet Muhammad, very similar to what we also find in the Gospel of Mathew, that “Allah, the Almighty, will ask son of Adam on the Day of Judgment that I was ill and you did not attend to me. Son of Adam will say: o my Lord how could I have attended you as you are the Lord of All the worlds? Allah will say: did you not know that my servant was ill and you did not attend to him? If you had attended to him you would have found me near him.
“O son of Adam, I once requested food from you. Son of Adam will say: o my Lord how could I give you food, as you are Lord of all the worlds? Allah will say: one of my servants was hungry, if you had given him food you would have found me near him.
Muslim countries should help marginalised people even beyond their borders
“O son of Adam you did not give me a drink when I was thirsty. How could I give you a drink when you are the Lord of all the worlds? Allah will say that one of my servants was thirsty and asked you for a drink. If you had given him a drink, you would have found me near him.”
These few quotations make it crystal clear that saving human lives and helping the vulnerable and the destitute are among the most rewarding deeds for God. To acquire the bounties of the merciful God, we must all help the needy and try our utmost to bring these human tragedies to an end.
I believe that to solve this human crisis, irrespective of colour, creed, nationality, religion or politics, we must all join hands and work together for the common good. There is need for action from all sides and we do not have time to ‘wait and see’. We must all stand up for the sake of humanity.
Let us sincerely and passionately be at the service of humanity, show compassion and seek unity. Humanity needs to do this for the sake of humanity itself.
This is not only Malta’s or Europe’s problem, this is a human issue and, thus, it puts a huge responsibility on the entire world and also obliges the Muslim world to play its role in feeding the needy, helping the vulnerable, destitute and downtrodden people of this planet.
Together with the international community, the Muslim world must pay attention to this problem and, rather than just building the tallest buildings, creating artificial islands, spending millions of euros on weapons, Muslim countries should allocate a part of their God-gifted wealth and natural resources to feed the hungry and the starving. They must bear in mind that, as explained by the Holy Quran, the true lovers of God are those who “feed, for love of God, the poor, the orphan and the prisoner, saying: ‘We feed you for Allah’s pleasure only. We desire no reward, nor thanks from you”(76:9-10).
The world has become a global village and, thus, we also have international responsibilities to bear and Muslim countries should extend their support and help marginalised people even beyond their borders.
Let me make it clear that I am not saying that nothing is being done. Nor am I expecting others alone to do something. What I mean to say is that what is being done is not enough.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is fully engaged in playing its role worldwide. It has opened hundreds of schools, hospitals and clinics for the poor and needy people in poor countries, especially in Africa. It has also provided clean water, electricity and set up ‘model villages’ in many parts of Africa.
Laiq Ahmed Atif is president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta.
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