Archive for April, 2009

The Homeless Man and I

Posted in Uncategorized on April 2, 2009 by Usman

I hope everyone is in the best of health and in the state of increasing Iman. This is a reflection of an event that took place this past Sunday.

I work at at a hotel as a front desk representative and I see some very interesting people. The hotel is elegant and business people and upper class families come to stay. As the guests were coming in and out of the hotel a homeless man walked in. As you know hotels are very particular about outward presence, and amoung upper class people with expensive suits and dresses on a homeless man gives a bad impression of the hotel. He was an old man wearing an oversized jacket covered in dirt. He was obvioulsy disheviled with a scruffy beard and unkept hair. I could smell the awful stench coming from him from a mile away. As he approached me my co worker and I exchanged an uneasy glance, he only asked for a cup of coffee. I was about to say we do not have any coffee when my co worker told him where it was. His old age and weakness from probably not eating in days caused him to almost limp towards the coffee area. After he went I became busy working and checking people in. After ten minutes I saw him sitting in the lobby staring into nothing at all with a cup of coffee on the table. He looked so tired and it seemed if he was savoring the moment he had in a clean comfortable place. Hotels are like homes, mabye he was thinking of a time when he had a home. Mabye he had a loving wife or a loving mother who took care of him when he was a child. I asked my manager what we should do about him. After all he could have had drugs in his pocket or even a weapon. Mabye the kids might get scared and complain to their parents and they would complain about the homeless man. My manager told me to ask him to leave and I said I couldnt do it, I said I felt to guilty asking him. My co worker volunteered, she brought him some cookies and kindly asked him to leave. He probably understood that a posh upper class hotel would never let a man like him stay. He just nodded, and took his cookies and left. He exited the first set of automatic doors and then stopped in front of the second set of doors. He moved to the side to let others in. I leaned over to see what he was doing and why he had not left when I noticed it was raining heavily outside. He was just eating his cookie and waiting for the rain to subside. My heart shattered as I stood in the smell that he left in the hotel. After two minutes he left. My co worker and I felt horrible. Here was a man who was not good enough to be inside a bulding for more than 15 minutes. It was after a long time my heart actually broke.

I began to think what would the Prophet Muhammad (saw) do in that situation. Would he also kick out a homeless man looking for comfort and food. No, he would never have done that!  He taught us to take people  in and be merciful to them. He told us to feed the hungry and reminded us of how noble that was in the sight of Allah.  Our beloved Messenger would have prefered the man’s needs over his own. I thought about all of this and could not help but to ask Allah for forgiveness  and to thank him, truly thank from my heart for all the blessing I have. We always say “Alhumdulilah” but we never mean it, that day I meant it. And when I said it from my heart tears welled up in my eyes. I really felt that I had submitted myself to Allah in that moment and I tasted the sweetness of Iman.

These series of events really opened my eyes to how we treat the downtrodden of our communtiy, and the state we are in spiritually. Feeding the hungry and being kind and merciful to them is immensly rewarded by Allah. Thus, next time we see a person in need lets be kind and meciful to them with the intention of pleasing Allah. I pray that Allah allows us all to taste from the sweetness of faith and forgives our shortcomings and enters us all in paradise, amen. The heart needs to beat…and so we stay alive. Wasalaam