I watch in horror, the beautiful Swat Valley, a treasure of unparalleled natural beauty broken by the very same nature. Bahrain, Kalam, Madyan, Mingora, vacation spots from a childhood past, beaten, drowned by the 20-foot waves in the River Swat. The terrible force of Allah(swt)’s water destroying everything in sight, crumbling homes and bridges, made of cement and bricks. The monsoon season is in swing and, as it continues to rain, every river from the north down to the southern part of Pakistan has swollen and inundated its surroundings. So far 20 million people are affected by disease and displacement, entire villages (650,000 homes) destroyed. The United Nations is calling this a worse disaster than the tsunami, the 2005 earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake… all put together! These are not just statistics; these are people, our brothers and sisters.
Rain can be a mercy or a test from Allah(swt) – they are surrounded by water yet they do not have a drop to drink. Inna lillahi wa innaa ilayhi raji’oon. Truly to Allah do we belong and to Him we shall return!
We hear so much bad news, courtesy of 24-hour news channels, that our hearts have become hard. We say a quick dua or shed a few tears and sometimes send in some money. As I sit here in my brother-in-law’s luxury condo overlooking the serene Potomac River in Washington D.C., do I even deserve to comment on these people’s suffering? To be there and actually deliver bread and tents or shelter a family, to risk my life to rescue a human in the land of my birth, would I be worthy then? I want to be there, yet I feel so inadequate.
Besides clutching our own brood of kids, showing them pictures of the tragedy helpless children are suffering a few days before the merciful month of Ramadan, so they can learn to look beyond their own wants, what else can we do? As we get ready to fast, we can remember these people have not eaten for days. As we take our babies to the doctors, lets remember the water-borne diseases their babies may suffer. As we stock up our freezers from the Halal store and our overstuffed pantries from Costco, lets remember the true spirit of Ramadan and give as much as we can. Maybe this is Allah’s way of reminding us that we are NOT giving enough in Sadaqah.
In a Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A man has sinned enough if he neglects to feed those in need.” (Related by Muslim and Abu Dawud)
Ya Rabbi, the advent of your blessed month is here, please remove the sufferings of our Pakistani brothers and sisters. O Allah, nothing is beyond your power. O Allah, send upon them helpful, wholesome and healthy rain, beneficial not harmful rain. Ameen!
We are more in need of the reward of our sadaqat that the flood victims are in need of our donations.
Having lived in New Orleans and seeing that beautiful city wrecked by Katrina and still trying to rebuild itself despite being in the wealthiest of nations, I wonder how Pakistan will survive this flood? This clip was so heart-wrenching but reinforced the belief of a Muslim– the good brother says standing waist deep in water “by the grace of God we will reconstruct everything, we have courage to face this situation, we are Pakistani… we live here, we will face every problem inshaAllah”. Alhamdulillah fi kulli haal. Lets help them rebuild.
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