In a hadeeth of our beloved Nabi Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam he is reported to have said:
“Perhaps you are granted Divine assistance and sustenance on account of (your aid) the weak (poor) amongst you.”
The hadeeth above speaks of divine assistance and sustenance that contains barakaah that no one can do without in their lives. No matter who we are or what we may own this need is indispensable at any given point in time. And then it also provides one of the many avenues whereby this can be secured.
The real life story below depicts the emulation of this hadeeth in a beautiful way.
A man was just getting ready to leave his office and he remembered that his wife had asked him to bring 1KG of Bananas. When He stepped out, he saw an ill-kempt old lady across the road. She was selling fresh bananas on the street. The man used to buy his bananas from a grocery shop a few blocks away from his office but since he was in hurry to reach home today, he thought about buying them from across the road only.
He went to the old lady and asked her the price. She quoted R7 per 1KG. He told, “But the store where I usually buy from gives them for R5 per 1KG, can you not give me for the same price?” The Old Lady told, “No Sir, I cannot afford to match that price. I can sell them to you at R6 per 1KG. That’s the best I can afford to give you for.” The man somewhat agitated told her, “Never mind”. He left in his car towards the usual grocery shop.
He went inside and picked up a good bunch of bananas. He went to the cashier to pay for them but he was surprised when the cashier told him that the price per 1KG was R10. He told the cashier, “I have been buying bananas from here for some years now and this is a steep price increase, can’t you offer me a better deal for being a loyal customer?” The Manager overheard him and came there. He said, “Sorry Sir but our prices are fixed, we do not bargain.” The man felt a little bad with that flat attitude. He thought for a second and put the bananas back. He went back to the old lady. She recognized him instantly and told him, “Sir, I can’t match that price, I won’t be able to earn any profit.”
The man told her, “Don’t worry about the price, I will pay you R10 Per KG! Now, give me 2KG.” The Old Lady got very happy, she packed 2KGs of Bananas and said, “I can’t take R10 but I will take R7 per KG. I appreciate your kindness.” She also told him, “My Husband used to own a small fruit shop but he got very sick. We have no child or any relatives who could support us. We had to sell his shop to cover his medical bills but he could not survive.” Tears were flowing from her eyes. She said, “But now to support myself I am trying to sell what I can afford to buy and sell, so I can survive for what’s left of my life.”
The man told her, “Do not worry, You are doing good and from tomorrow on, I will only buy bananas from you.” He pulled out his wallet and gave her R100 extra and said, “Take this, and bring more different fruits to sell tomorrow, consider this an advance payment for fruits I will be buying from you. You can earn more if you have more choices of fruits to sell.” The Old Lady thanked him.
Later, He recommended many of his colleagues to buy fruits from the lady which they did. And with the support from the man and many other buyers, she made a better living.
Often, we choose to do our monthly shopping at the malls and shopping centres because of the convenience, varieties and other perks afforded by these. Here however the price we see is the price we pay. The thought of even bargaining or haggling does not cross our minds.
Now from an Islamic point of view this is totally fine as we all have choices as to where we choose to shop and people who run businesses have their liabilities too. However, we need to spare a moment and ask ourselves that why we have no courage to haggle or bargain for prices while shopping at big shops but when it comes to the street vendors and those ‘small’ shops we go full steam ahead in trying to get the best price. Don’t they too also have liabilities even though not as big as the mall stores? Don’t they also need to live and make a living? Keeping the above hadeeth in mind should propel us to change our attitudes towards supporting the street vendors that we see all around us. Whilst in the malls and shopping centres our needs would be fulfilled and that too in a convenient and safe way, supporting the street vendors has the promises of Allah Ta’ala’s aid and assistance! This happens to be one of the many avenues of attaining Barakah in our lives!
In the elaborate and spacious shopping centres and malls we will find everything under one roof but all this will be in terms of worldly gain. In the street ‘shop’ we might just find Allah Ta’ala.
The weak and poor around us can be either looked at as ‘liabilities’ around us or ‘assets’! The hadeeth above tells us that they are sure assets which we need to hold on to.
Today more than before we need Allah Ta’ala’s constant aid in our lives. The hadeeth above is clear-cut. Amongst the poor and needy we will find this! The next time we are confronted by a needy hand in whatever way, bearing in mind this hadeeth should allow us to lend that helping hand more easily.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us all the taufeeq of realising that our Jannah could well lie in reaching out to the poor and needy in our lives. As long as we continue to be of assistance to those in need, Allah Ta’ala will be constantly at our aid an assistance in this world. That rewards that will await us in the hereafter are far greater. Can we now get a better deal than this?