Yesterday, I was cruising through the blogosphere, catching up with the 1.3 million posts I missed out on over the last month (no, really, 1.3 million is just a conservative estimate!) and I came across a post by the always interesting Muslim Wife that had me thinking all through iftaar. The post was of interest to me because a) I’m seriously considering going to law school and b) the post is titled “Advice to All the Pre-Law/Law School/Lawyers.” So, naturally, I sat up and took proper notice. I got to the part where she wrote,
Everyone was a “Pre-Law” major (though there techincally isn’t such a major) and everyone talked a big game of “helping the Muslims”, starting the change “from within” and so on and so forth.
I can count off 6 Muslimahs (and don’t get me started on the brothas) that entered Law School and came out the other end worse for it. Oh wait, make that 8 – two more popped into my head. No one is “helping the Muslims” like the claimed, no one is making any such changes from within.
(You really should read the whole post to get the gist of it all). I’m not going to go into whether or not anyone should study law or not (that’s a discussion for another day), but I am going to talk about those who practice all kinds of professions and happen to be Muslim. About a month ago, one of our friends decided to give a lot of money in charity to a Big Islamic Charity. MashaAllah walhamdulillah, may Allah open all our hearts to such levels of generosity and more, ameen! Anyhow, upon giving his check, the Charity asked for a few thousand more dollars, to cover the cost of “processing the check and other expenses to run the charity.”
When I first heard the story, I tried to see it from the charity’s point of view. After all, they do have operating expenses like rent, lawyers’ salaries, accountants’ salaries, etc. And then I got to thinking…why are the professionals in our community (and we have very many professionals, mashaAllah) not giving their services to the various Islamic charities for free? Why are the property and building owners in our community (and we have many of those in every major city of the States, as well, mashaAllah) not giving office space for free? Why do the charities even have operating expenses? Every professional does a certain amount of charitable (or rather, pro bono) work. Donating such time will mean that the money that ordinary people give will be able to go a longer distance. Or is the “operating expenses” line a convenient ruse by which to get more money? I realize that is a diabolically suspicious thought on my part…but I really do wonder. Because the shock of a man donating a generous amount and then being asked to be more generous is just crazy enough to put such thoughts into my head.
Are Muslim professionals doing enough for community? You know, it’s not the grand and showy gestures that count the most when it comes to giving. It’s all the little insignificant ways we can give without any recognition that might actually go the furthest way in realizing the dreams we may have once had for our lofty diplomas*.
*For the record, I have no lofty dreams planned for the day I might have a law degree. Yet.