Tuesday, 22 December 2015

HIJAB 'N' THE CITY: TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE

HIJAB 'N' THE CITY: TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE

Sunday, 20 December 2015

TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE

Life has taught me a lesson or two. It  has saved me from myself. It has seen me stupid. It has seen me na├»ve. It has probed me to think mercilessly and lately it has seen me wiser.  Lately I am thinking in two dimension. Putting things into perspective and the truth is no one has ever been more wrong or right but ourselves. You will see what you allow yourself to see. You will be what you allow yourself to be. Even if you were so wrong where everybody else could easily see (krik krik) but  if Allah didn’t grant the privilege for you to see and right the wrongs, you could only  be who you allowed  yourself to be.  A jerk ! Got it? (Never mind  if you don’t understand what I am saying)

What is giving?  To give? To sadaqah? To part with what you own? To share? To handover? To commit?  To part with?  To cause or allow someone to have something.  All the synonyms of giving that you can find through Mr Google,  ahh my good friend (who never shouted Stupid ! Itu pun tak tau ke? Eheh?)




This is what my faith taught me because I know my blog is read by non Muslims too (I know about some bogus Quran translations that have been circulated to tarnish the image of Islam which claimed that the muslims are trained to be terrorists)  - seriously? Oh Please! The least you could do is to consult Mr Google, you are not that stupid are you?

Sadaqah (voluntary charity) is a virtuous deed in Islam.   In fact, it is considered as a proof of one’s eeman (faith).  The Prophet (s.a.w) sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said in the following authentic hadeeth:
  Abu Malik al-Ashari (r.a.) (radhi Allahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w)  said:  “Cleanliness is half of faith.  Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) fills the scale. SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah) and Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) fill up what is between the heavens and the earth.  Prayer is a light. Charity is proof (of one’s faith).   Endurance is a brightness and the Qur‘an is a proof on your behalf or against you. All men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves.”  (Muslim, 432)

BUT.
Sadaqah does not just mean to give because you have extras. Especially so - not because you have plenty of money (why so? Because then,  only the rich can give - which is not normally the case)

Sadaqah is not restricted to giving part of your wealth or material possessions or any special deed of righteousness.  Islam considers all good deeds as sadaqah that increase our eeman:

 Abu Musa narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.s.)  said, “Every Muslim has to give in sadaqah (charity).” The people asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w)! If someone has nothing to give, what will he do?” He said, “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked, “If he cannot do even that?” He replied, “Then he should help the needy who appeal for help.” Then the people asked, “If he cannot do that?” He replied, “Then he should perform all that is good and keep away from all that is evil and this will be regarded as charitable deeds.” (Bukhari Vol.  2, Hadith 524)

 The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: “To smile in the company of your brother is charity.  To command to do good deeds and to prevent others from doing evil is charity.  To guide a person in a place where he can not get  astray is charity.  To remove troublesome things like thorns and bones from the road is charity.  To pour water from your jug into the jug of your brother is charity.  To guide a person with defective vision is charity for you.” (Bukhari)



Don’t you see? Kindness is a form of charity too. It counts! To live with good values. It is charity ! Perhaps the best one that is! Do not be trapped into thinking that Allah’s promise that 1 (one) sadaqah in the form of money will be multiplied to 10 times of  the value of money you  have given  away .

In fact, Insyaallah, Allah may reward you in  the other aspects of your life too (not just  money) :
Good health, good friends who will guide you to Jannah, wisdom, intelligence, love and more love, positive energies, talents you don’t think you possessed before,  unexpected windfall etc etc to name a few. (So money shouldnt be the only thing you consider as the reward you should be getting.

In fact you may claim to be righteous and felt smug because you gave lotsa money to charity and dressed long and covered so visible to differentiate yourself as the most pious one (but that’s what you want -  for your deeds to be visible for others to see )  - unfortunately, that  doesn’t make you be to be  the best sadaqah giver, ever !  And only Allah will be the judged of your intention .Wallahuaklam.

Just before  I picked up Reach Out Malaysia from pieces in 2011, I was robbed off from  most of my possession. I lost a business, a car,  a house, my dignity.  I got cheated, stepped on etc etc. So much so I promised myself this. If I want to give away my possessions  I might as well do it so willingly to those people who deserved it. Not to crooks, liars, cheaters and of course bank loans (errrr ).

And that was how Reach Out Malaysia the 2nd generation was born. From kindness. Not money.   Allah the all knowing has allowed it to happen. For I am only his slave. He owns everything and will take whatever he feels like taking and will give whatever he feels like giving.


Disclaimer : I am not an Islamic scholar but rather I am practicing a common sense which is to be kind is the way to be ….

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

REACH OUT MALAYSIA AND ME




Feexa Nicoll with volunteers  during one of the many midnight runs to feed the homeless on the street of Kuala Lumpur
So many questions that people have of me pertaining to Reach Out Malaysia !  If they know me personally, bole tanya la takde masalah….yang tak kenal pulak buat andaian.  Macam-macam cerita la itu ini but it didn’t bother me because people being people – at the end of the day.  people who loved to assume, would end up looking like an idiot (sorry not able to tone this word down, an idiot is an idiot or orang Melayu panggil bodoh sombong tahap dewata …) so there!  Have coffee with me and asked what you want to know. 

First thing first, me and Pete do not do this full time.   We have a  life apart from Reach Out Malaysia . Reach Out is a part of our lives. I am not the emotional kind to write on  FB status with tears in my eyes of the stories that I have heard or experienced with the street people. Nor will I   exaggerate things to have a more  sympathetic vote  to collect more  fund or popularity. I say things as they are. Straight to the point. Needing to get the job done. Detached is the word. I consider myself like a doctor.  Emotion aside and used it only when necessary.  (Sound like a Gestapo pulak) . But I am not in this because I am answering ‘the calling’ kunun but because of the realization that somebody needs to do it and some things need to be done. Rarely do I talked about it to give a sensational stories unless I was being asked personally to give a talk or something (even then I declined many times)  because of a job or a family commitment.

So much so it is not for the public to know and to own. I would make it sensational in my private moments while sharing it with good friends or my students(in my yoga class). Much to your surprise, I am not doing this as a favor to the homeless people but rather as  a favor to myself . To remind me that I have a responsibility to carry, to remind me to count my blessings, to remind me that regardless how  bad or how hard our lives are, there are worse things that have happened to others.  So if  ever wonder  why  I hardly whined nor cried  and errr  emotionless even, it is because I do it privately in a limited time. I did what I could. If I couldn’t, I moved on.  Redha dengan ketetapannya. Bila sudah berusaha , bertawakkal . If tak kesampaian, tak mengapa mungkin masanya belum tiba….

We are just like any other volunteers, me and Pete donating our expertise to contribute to this NGO . My overused method is infecting others with kindness, everybody is encouraged to do what they could. The smallest deeds count too. Very rarely money is involved unless it has been determined for it to be used to buy food or goods for the homeless. Otherwise no one would get paid or claimed on the things they have done. It is a simple concept. One that doesn’t need a business plan nor a long forecast. One that doesn’t need a group of staff to get things done.

The truth is, we are doing Allah’s work. A simple concept of Tawakkal that everything would only materialized with his commands or with his will (dengan kehendaknya dan keizinannya). Rezeki fakir miskin pun telah ditetapkan olehnya, kita hanyalah penyebabnya.  I am just lucky to be the middle person in between his will and his subjects. You really thought  this could be planned, seriously? You really thought we would know where the rezeki (in this context, food and goodies) would come from - day in and day out for 8 years for the thousands of homeless we served ?? There were many times I didn’t know but one thing I knew for sure, he has  made it possible. The food would  be directed to us without fail Insyaallah. And if it so happened, it wasn’t to be,  so be it.  Then ‘Redha’ took place. Simple.

What do you want to see? Me dramatizing things  as the unsung heroin and crying while telling the stories of the unfortunate ones for you to be sympathetic?  No you would  only be disappointed. Pete and me have gone through the ups and downs of life. We have struggled, we have balanced and they were many times, we felt like giving it all up because of the pressure we needed to carry. While it is so easy for people to say or to bitch about things, no one in their  right mind would carry the  unnecessary responsibilities for us . (Because then they will lose the right to point out when things go wrong) . Easier said than done.
So  you may not have the privilege  to hear the complete story on the things the things that  I have done for Reach Out because I do not have to report to anyone. My conscience is to  Allah. After all, I did it for all his mercies  that he has shown to me throughout my imperfect life. I owe it to him for being born to the life I have  now (and then) -  (Not that it is the best one but nevertheless it is still a life that  I should be thankful fo, r rather than wasting my energy  wanting more)

So nope, my husband Pete does not do this full time. He has a job.  We did this after our working hours. Reach Out has got  not much money in our bank account pun.  We have to use most or  all the money to buy food or whatever necessary for the homeless.  Our  Run Leaders are not paid as well. They too raised food in their own circle of friends and people who support the good things they do.

We don’t own Reach Out. It belongs to the homeless people of  the streets of KL and Klang. We are not owned by the Government or Corporations. We are on our own. We just do it. Because we can.

Operating every day, 365, Reach Out volunteers walk the streets of Malaysia seeking out those who need assistance to make it through another day. 

Feexa Nicoll
Co Founder of Reach Out Malaysia

Footnote : REACH OUT MALAYSIA – AN NGO BASED IN MALAYSIA ( We are operated mainly by the words of mouth and from a private FB Group account)

“ASSISTING THOSE IN NEED SINCE 2008”.

“To implement programmes to deliver relief from hunger, pain, or abuse, dealing with not only the symptoms but the causes of such, through physical On Street Programmes, Awareness Campaigns, Educational Programmes, and relationships with other likeminded organizations, to provide nurture and training to the urban and rural poor and those that are in fear or in need, regardless of race, gender, religion, or culture”.

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