Articles » haytham al azzouni

Articles » haytham al azzouni

Articles » haytham al azzouni

Writings of Ottawa MAC Youth WorkersFri, 15 Jul 2011 13:57:13 +0000enhourly1Building Bridges, 03 Dec 2009 04:17:55 +0000MAC Youth Haytham Al Azzouni

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him said, “In every creature there is a reward.” [Sahih Muslim & Sahih Al Bukhari]

Islam is truly a religion of mercy and compassion. One of the benefits of fasting is for Muslims to prove their humility. Our hearts sincerely warm up to the poor when we feel what they feel on a consistent basis. We are reminded of the poor through Zakah, Sadaqa (general charity) and fasting. We are reminded of human equality through Hajj and group prayers. The Prophet peace be upon him had mentioned a story where an act of kindness alone was enough to grant an individual eternal bliss in Paradise. Muslims are truly blessed to have a religion that instills the values of mercy, compassion and empathy into their lives through many different practices.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also said “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself” [Sahih Al Bukhari]. We are all sons and daughters of Adam peace be upon him and we all have duties towards each other regardless of our differences. It is, therefore, inexcusable to have a neighbour in need neglected. Indeed, the highest form of gratitude for our blessings is sharing those blessings with others.

On June 21, 2009, a group of 22 Muslims came together to serve and feed the homeless. By the will of Allah, the Muslim Association of Canada was able to collaborate with the Shepherds of Good Hope and run the annual soup kitchen event. The volunteers and the soup kitchen’s staff were expected to prepare food for approximately 400 people. Heba Rushdan, the head of MAC Give at the time, had reflected nicely on the event, saying, “It was like a family day, all of us as brothers and sisters are washing dishes, preparing salads, sandwiches and big meals for other people. I felt that all of us are one hand just working for Allah’s sake, just waiting for His reward and just wishing to serve more and more”.

The supervisor, Raymond Tremblay – lovingly referred to as Santa -, was very appreciative of the enthusiasm that the volunteers brought to the kitchen. At the volunteer lunch break, we all sat down and listened to a story Santa wanted to share. The story was about two brothers who lived on adjoining farms. One day a misunderstanding between the two brothers eventually grew into a major conflict and the exchange of bitter words. The younger brother decided to take a bulldozer to the river resulting in the creation of a creek separating both farms. Then one random day a carpenter came to the older brother’s door looking for work. The older brother asked the carpenter to build a wall around his land so he wouldn’t have to see his brother’s farm or face anymore. The carpenter said he understood the problem and had promised the farmer a job that would please him. By the end of the day, the farmer went to the creek and was shocked to find a bridge instead of a wall. Both brothers walked towards each other and met in the middle of the bridge feeling that their conflict should come to an end.

Yusuf Islam once said, “There are three types of people: Those building Bridges, those bent on destroying them and those waiting to cross“.[1]

By the will of Allah, the soup kitchen volunteers have built a bridge with their kindness, commitment and sincerity. They have showed that the most powerful method to promote Islam is to simply set a good example -no fancy packaging is necessary. The reality is honest implementation of Islamic teachings can lead to major positive changes in Muslims’ relations with each other as well as with non-Muslims. Islam is a social religion that is heavily based on good character and strong relationships with society. I urge everyone who reads this to take the initiative and save our society by promoting unity and kindness. I would also like to thank the volunteers for giving the most precious Sadaqa a person could give: your time and a smiling face. May Allah reward you all for your efforts.

Written by Haytham Al Azzouni. He is a recent graduate from an Electrical Engineering program at Carleton University. Haytham is also a member of the MAC Give Ottawa committee that had organized the soup kitchen event.