It is true that wherever you place your priorities at a particular point in time, that becomes your life- whether its children or career or travelling or service (Khidma) or all at the same time, the key is priority.
The same can be said with action. Whatever actions you consistently engage in become habits, these habits portray your values, your priorities, your character and ultimately your life.
I share this story because I was really struck by the beauty of the individual’s consistency in action as I had witnessed them react in the same way in a number of different situations, time periods and countries. It wasn’t so much what they did (which was generous in itself) but more the manner and consistency in which they did it.
I definitely don’t mention this story to imply someone’s sincerity of actions or that this type of effort is rare. My witness to these good actions (just by chance!) and recalling them here is to hopefully instil a sense of inspiration to whoever reads this and encourage one to be better. I purposely have kept details vague on the off-chance that the individual concerned stumbles upon this post and to protect their good deed!
The first occasion involved a young homeless woman who was asking for help. The individual immediately went over to the ATM machine and returned with assistance and spent a short while listening to her about her troubles. This wasn’t completely unusual, but often in a busy, bustling city, it can be all too easy to politely apologise that you have no cash on you and continue with your day. After all, you haven’t necessarily withheld your help, you simply don’t have anything on you.
The second occasion has really stayed with me. The situation involved a group of people who were visiting another country, and as part of the schedule, a city tour was organised. While a really interesting talk was taking place at one of the sites and all were in concentration, this individual was approached by an old man selling tissues. It was as though the individual’s hand went straight to their pocket on auto pilot to support the man with the purchase of a tissue pack. Almost immediately as the old man disappeared, an elderly woman appeared asking for help, and once again the individual didn’t hesitate to give in charity.
The Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him (pbuh) tells us that ‘charity does not decrease wealth’ but what I want to highlight beyond the virtue of generosity and charity is the consistency in good works. The Prophet (pbuh) said that ‘the most beloved of deeds to God are those that are most consistent, even if it is small’.
When we undertake a good action, deed or habit, no matter the size or effort and increase it in regularity, it begins to encapsulate who we become. If we engage in learning more, we become more knowledgeable, if we give charity regularly, we increase in generosity, if we are consistent in reciting supplications in the morning and evening, we begin to incorporate a greater sense of remembrance and consciousness of God .
This individual really made me reflect on the consistency of my own actions, and not necessarily forms of worship, but also my attitude and treatment towards others and the activities I occupy myself with.
If there is one thing to hopefully be taken from this reflection, is that intentions are renewed with a commitment to make one good action (small or big) a consistent one. A couple of examples to perhaps help:
- 5 verses of the Quran to be recited daily
- Some or all voluntary/ nafl prayers (2 rakaats before Fajr, 4 rakaats before Duhr and 2 after it, 2 rakaats after maghrib, 2 rakaats after Isha)
- fasting on Mondays and Thursdays or fasting 3 days a month (13th, 14th and 15th of each lunar month)
- Morning and Evening supplications (adkaar)
- Reciting Ayat ul Kursi after each prayer
- Consciously smiling at each person you meet
- When one is speaking to you, turning all the way around to face them directly
- Watering a plant
May we consciously implement good actions into our lives that we begin to embody the values we strive towards attaining. Ameen.