If you look out, you will find many people who have been facing many adversities and going through terrible anguish.
By Hafiz Shaban Ali Nadvi
I was resting in my room, having been unwell for some days. At around two in the morning, I stepped out and into the streets. I wanted to breathe outside yes, at that seemingly odd hour! Silence engulfed the streets. I came to the main road. I saw some people around. A few hotels and cafes were open.
I was walking on the footpath with an earphone plugged in my ear, engrossed in listening to a song I had already listened to it five times, and this was my sixth! I was thirsty, and so I thought of drinking water at a mosque. I thought I’d enter the mosque through the main gate, but it was closed. Nearby, I spotted two men sleeping on the footpath under a blanket. They were tossing about and adjusting themselves in the blanket due to the cold.
I wanted to interact with the men. I waited for a while. My happiness knew no bounds when one of them got up. I asked him, ‘Are you facing any difficulty?’ He replied: ‘No, it is okay.’ He was trying to conceal his problems, of course.
I asked the man about the other man, the person whom he had shared the blanket with. He said that he did not know him well. He had shared that sleeping space with him just for that night because he had no place to sleep.
I asked the man where he was based. He kept silent. Then, I asked him what had brought him there. He replied that for a year he had been searching for a job. Gradually, he unfolded some more details of his story. He was from Bihar. Some years ago, when the floods came, he lost most of his things and even his one son, along with the documents of his property. They lived without food for five days. He also lost his job. Since then he had started feeling that he was a burden on this planet. He saw others in happiness and cursed himself.
The thing the man was concerned about most of the time was why all this had happened to him. His only son, who meant so much to him, was now no more. The dreams he had dreamt for his son bothered him day and night. He cursed those economically wealthy people who did not care at all for the hapless poor. They didn’t bother to ask whether they had food or had slept with an empty stomach.
The man burst into tears and said, ‘The biggest tragedy with the moneyed folk is they think that their wealth will be immortal. On the other hand, the poor don’t have much money but they generously wish to sacrifice things for those who suffer.’
The floods had shattered the man and had washed away his dreams. At around that time, his wife had a problem in her eyes. Each day, he had to go through the pain of seeing her go through pain. One day, he consulted with a doctor, who said that she had a big problem and needed to be operated, which apparently required a lot of money which he did not afford. That threw him into the ditch of pessimism. Searching for a job to meet the needs of his family and to earn enough for his wife’s operation, he left his town and came to a big city. He roamed around the city searching for a job but failed to get one. Some said: “You are uneducated and inexperienced.” Some talked to him roughly. Many times he had to sleep on an empty stomach on the footpath. And then, driven by his pain, he started drinking alcohol.
Friends! This is a real story. Like this man, if you look out, you will find many people who have been facing many adversities and going through terrible anguish. Fix a time one day and walk along the footpaths and you will probably find at least some people who are going through tough times for whom a single moment seems very heavy, like a big mountain. In many cases, their suffering reflects our inhumanness and heartlessness, in that we completely overlook them. Just think if God were to forget us like we often forget those in trouble, what would happen? Hence it is said that if you help people in need, and even non-human creatures on the earth, the God of all will help you.