Random acts of kindness by Muslim faithful too often ignored

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A young boy sets up a mawkib stall (free tea and snacks) on the way to Karbala to serve the visitors of Imam Husain. (Twitter)
A young boy sets up a mawkib stall (free tea and snacks) on the way to Karbala to serve the visitors of Imam Husain. (Twitter)

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2014 — This week, after a young Muslim man in a Saudi hospital tweeted that he had been paralyzed and was sad at the lack of visitors, hundreds of locals lined his hallways with gifts and promises to pay for his medical care. The episode, and many others, offsets the constant deluge of negative focus directed at the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims.

Supporters point out that stories such as these rarely gain popular attention. The Islamic faith teaches charity and charitable acts should be anonymous. The media, of course, prefers to broadcast stories of tragedy, hate and intolerance.

Thousands of visitors line the hallways to visit a paralyzed young Muslim in Saudi Arabia (Twitter)
Hundreds of visitors line the hallways to visit a paralyzed young Muslim in Saudi Arabia (Twitter)

The young man is only identified by his first name, Ibrahim, and his original tweet, translated into English reads:

“My name is Ibrahim, and I am hospitalized at King Khalid Hospital. I had a car accident which left me paralyzed and I have no one to visit me. My father and my brothers have ignored me all this time. I also have another wish. I wish someone could help me get treated for a bone marrow transplant in Germany.”

A Saudi man donates pizza while visiting paralyzed youngster Ibrahim (Twitter)
A Saudi man donates pizza while visiting paralyzed youngster Ibrahim (Twitter)

The post went viral, and the hashtag #visitibrahim became a trending topics on Twitter.


Amongst this visitors were numerous first responders, businessmen, and youngsters. In the famous custom of Arab hospitality, some visitors literally spoon fed Ibrahim sweets and candies.

Many were wearing the traditional thobe and headgear common to Saudi culture, serving as the Middle Eastern equivalent of a suit and tie.


READ ALSO: Muslims express outrage over Boko Haram kidnappings


In December, the Shiite scholar Sheikh Mohammed al-Hilli posted the picture of a young child offering free tea and snacks to pilgrims performing the annual Najaf to Karbala walk in the country of Iraq, commemorating the religious sacrifice of Imam Husain, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson.

It is common for residents in the region to host strangers, offering food, lodging, and other accommodations, entirely for free, during the annual walk.

A few weeks ago, on a public bus in Sydney, after witnessing a homeless individual without shoes, a Muslim man donated his own, opting to walk home barefoot.

An anonymous Muslim man donated his shoes to a homeless man on a public bus, and walked home barefoot.  Shocked, the bus driver posted photos of the incident. (Facebook)
An anonymous Muslim man donated his shoes to a homeless man on a public bus, and walked home barefoot. Shocked, the bus driver posted photos of the incident. (Facebook)

According to Canadian newspaper The National Post, “The ‘random act of kindness’ took place on the 341 bus route in Surrey, B.C. and was witnessed by an off-duty bus driver who took photos of the incident, which were later posted on Facebook… The man was on his way home from a nearby mosque when he made his kind intervention. He asked not to be identified for his generous deed because the Islamic faith teaches that charitable acts should be anonymous.”

A writer from The Guardian wrote an editorial publically thanking the Muslim men, including a foreign based Imam, for helping her to escape an abusive marriage.

She wrote of her experience “It was the men, the wonderful gentle, kind Muslim men in my life who finally made me admit that enough was enough… I owe them my sanity and wellbeing.”


READ ALSO: Boko Haram: #Hashtags and tiptoe diplomacy will not save the girls


On Reddit, users recently posted a photo of a refrigerator installed on a street corner, continuously stocked with food to be utilized by homeless families and children. This act of charity is an ongoing initiative in the Saudi Arabian city of Hail.

The food is stocked by local residents, with no one individual being the sole donor – instead, it is a community initiative.

Residents are often encouraged to stock the fridge with leftovers, to increase the practicability of the program and food supplies for the homeless.

Children stock a fridge on a street corner, with free food for homeless people. (Twitter)
Children stock a fridge on a street corner, with free food for homeless people. (Twitter)

Redditors from various Muslim countries, such as Morocco, Qatar, and Turkey, responded with stories of similar charity food storage lockers in their home countries.

In March, 5th graders from the Peace Terrace Academy in California started an initiative to help local orphans, raising more than $1,000 through an initiative with the GiveLight Foundation.

The Academy, a Muslim private school,  mission is:

“We inspire our students to become active, dedicated, ethical, and informed leaders.”

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Rahat Husain
Rahat Husain has been working as a columnist since 2013 when he joined the Communities. With an interest in America and Islam, Rahat is a prolific writer on contemporary and international issues. In addition to writing for the Communities, Rahat Husain is an Attorney based in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. He is the Director of Legal and Policy Affairs at UMAA Advocacy. For the past six years, Mr. Husain has worked with Congressmen, Senators, federal agencies, think tanks, NGOs, policy institutes, and academic experts to advocate on behalf of Shia Muslim issues, both political and humanitarian. UMAA hosts one of the largest gatherings of Shia Ithna Asheri Muslims in North America at its annual convention.
  • Ali Tehrani

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful stories. It is far too rare (actually almost never the case) that these stories are highlighted in the news. Please continue to raise public awareness of the generous and kind nature of the vast majority of Muslims throughout the world.

  • HadEnoughHate

    So good to hear something positive and not pure hatred and ignorance being spewed!

  • Susan

    It is a nice story…but all the kindnesses appear to be directed towards other Muslims, and not other people in general. I don’t see a mention of any Christians or Jews who were recipients of this kindess.

    • Tasneam

      How about the Muslim Americans who have raised over $100,000 during Ramadan for the eight black churches in the south after they were burned down by white supremacists, but I wouldn’t have expected you to hear about it since it wasn’t all over news stations. We don’t just help muslims we try to help anyone in need that we can.

      • Tasneam

        This was more recently as well, I noted the date you posted this after replying.

  • AntoninusPius

    It is not only acts of kindness by Muslims are ignored. Christians are in the same category also. For example one day I was looking on YouTube for a social justice activist and christian pastor Jim Rigby. He is truly an amazing man. I urge everyone to check out his blog. Well his videos get on average 50-200 views, most that I found is 871, while when Pat Robertson, self proclaimed christian pastor says something bigoted or dumb, like when he claimed that earthquake in Haiti was caused by Haitians making deal with devil to drive out the French, that video gets anywhere from 100000 to 500000 views. Ugh how disgusting! Another one is when pastor Stone in tenesse welcomed Muslims into his parish because Muslims have nowhere to pray, papers in US ignored the story too, while they were reporting on Terry Jones burning Koran (even though he had at most only 50 followers and his parish was struggling). I guess bad stuff or dumb stuff is more newsworthy!