Give a Little Something Back

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.

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5 Responses to Give a Little Something Back

  1. Hey salaams!

    Awesome post! and totally agree with you!

    There is a masjid which is not too far from us, it is essentially built into a row of shops. Now it started off as renting a shop space, and using rugs and bedsheets as mussalahs. One day a local businessman came for Jum’ah and asked the imam after namaaz why the state like so, why not atleast a carpet, to which the imam replied that raising funds is difficult, people are not opening up as we thought they would.

    That businessman not only BOUGHT that shop, but also the shops either side of the one being rented for namaaz. Moreover, he did it within two months of his visit. That small shop space prayer area now occupies the space of 5 shops, and extended upstairs and further at the back mashallah.

    One must admire the courage of that local business man, and he didnt take a penny from anyone! The masjid belongs to a trust, and all that man did was invest firstly his time, and then his earning, savings whatever into the masjid.

    This was about 7 years ago, and I haven’t seen generosity of the likes since!

  2. Lisa says:

    I think alot of us (for sure me) take more than they give. How many times at your masjid or Islamic school do you meet a sister whose children are going for free to that school, while everyone else makes up for it?

    We have so many people in the Ummah who don’t give as much, and the ones who do are often wealthy lawyers, engineers, and doctors. This post made me want to pitch in more.

    I think law is a WONDERFUL profession for a Muslim. Especially on issues of hate crimes, also custody law, and immigration. It is the PERFECT profession for you sweetie and I do sincerely hope you go forward with it. Come to the Univ. Of Texas at Austin! We have a great pre-law fraternity called Beta Alpha Rho! Love you so much!

  3. Cookie Monster, Wa’Alaykumus Salaam 🙂 Now, that is a beautifully inspiring story. There is hope for us, yet, alhamdulillah!

    Lisa, today you may be taking more than you think you’re giving, but a day will come when inshaAllah you’ll be giving more than you ever took. Without people to take, what would be the point of giving? So, that is not something to feel bad for.

    I might just look into UTAustin. If I can drag my brother with me, then I’ll look into options around the country. Right now, I’m hoping for something close to home, because I’m fortunate to live in a state with some awesome schools. The only problem is earning a high enough LSAT score to make it into one of them! Thank you for your encouragement, Lisa…it really does mean a lot to me…love you, sis, for the sake of Allah and for all that you are {hugs}

  4. realistic bird says:

    Salaam,

    Thought provoking post sis 🙂

    Well there are more than a billion Muslims and there are Millions who are educated at least and look at our conditions, no not many are doing enough and I don’t exempt myself.

    I guess I’m cynical I don’t think it is appropriate to for the charity to ask that of the man.

    Jazaki Allah khier

    • Wa’alaykum salaam 🙂 I don’t think many of us can exempt our ourselves, unfortunately. And, honestly, I’m still quite peeved with that charity…it was quite shocking!

      Wa iyaaki!

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