‘Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near,’ Surah Baqarah, verse 214.
It was 2008 and I was 18. Back then, life was about trying to reach on time – for lectures, roll calls, project meetings and also to catch the last train. I was living in Mumbai, a city where people appear to be chasing time and had successfully become an obscure part of the exploding population. I learnt in merely a years, how to make my way through the dense, obstinate crowd and confidently make space for myself. Though, I had adjusted to my surroundings, I couldn’t keep pace with this fast life all the time. I would occasionally fall prey to my habit of being unprepared and this was definitely that day.
I climbed a highly packed bus and found a space where I could stand without being thrown at someone, when the brakes were hit. I knew the drill and so, while holding on tight to the rod which was my temporary lifeline, I began to search my wallet for money to pay the bus fare. To my shock, I only had higher denomination currency, which those who use Mumbai transport know well, isn’t appreciated at all.
‘Please give me 10 rupees or get down and catch an auto,’ ordered the conductor.
‘Here I am! Yet again caught up in an unprecedented incident,’ I blurted to myself. ‘You really need to get into a habit of pre-planning things before leaving the house.’ This was probably the 100th time that I was making this note-to-self , which I knew won’t be implement. The problem was that I focused too much on bigger matters, that trivial ones never really bothered me. But that’s definitely not what my fellow passengers were thinking – staring blankly at me. As for the conductor, he seemed to despise those who didn’t show him the required ‘change’.
‘Get down at the next stop, since you don’t have change,’ he stated. I agreed and quietly looked down, ignoring the fact that I had become a figure of public ridicule. As I was getting ready to leave the bus and was contemplating on how I would have to catch a rickshaw at this time – the conductor’s voice reached me once again, but this time in a smoothing, relief tone. ‘Here is your ticket,’ he informed and pointed towards a girl sitting in a corner seat, behind him. ‘She paid for it.’
Without me realizing, she paid the conductor for my bus fare. I wanted to thank her, but had to wait till the crowd cleared. I also wanted to pay her back, and kept looking back so as to imply the same. How generous of her to help a sister in faith. She was a true Muslim woman, who helped her Muslim sister, when she needed it the most.
On the authority of Abu Hurairah (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) the Prophet (Peace Be Upon him) said: Allah will aid a slave [of His] so long as the slave aids his brother (in faith). Whosoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allah will remove from him one of the griefs of the Day of Judgment. Whosoever alleviates [the lot of] a needy person, Allah will alleviate [his lot] in this world and the next. Whosoever shields a Muslim, Allah will shield him in this world and the next. (Muslim)
The bus cleared to some extent at the next stop. I could move now and was trying to slip backwards through the crowd to reach her. I wanted to talk to her and show my appreciation for the kind act. But just before I could make it to where she was sitting, she got up and left. Surprisingly, she was completely unaware about my intentions. I stood there looking at her leave and to this day, I think about how Allah placed her there at the right time and created ease for me through her.
‘But Allah is your protector, and He is the best of helpers.’ (Surah Al Imran, Verse 150)
It is human tendency to get carried away by all hate and corruption around us. In the past few years, I am trying to think differently and concentrate more on the good around me and the positive aspects this world has to offer. Some people are genuinely good and some have one or more good qualities. I believe that it is best to pick those good qualities and inculcate them (if required) in our life and consciously ignore the bad ones. (Good & Bad as per the Quran and Sunnah)
The whole purpose of this life is to keep evolving in deeds – worship as well as our dealings with each other – until finally we return to Allah (swt) and He is pleased with us.
حَسۡبُنَا اللّٰهُ وَنِعۡمَ الۡوَكِيۡلُ
‘Allah is Sufficient for us; and what an excellent Guardian He is!’ (Surah 3, Verse 173)