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Monday, June 06, 2005

EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF GIVING

The more freely we give, the more we will have. When we stop giving, we stop receiving. If we have clenched fists, we cannot receive. The moment we open our fists and give. We are also able to receive. This is how the laws of the universe and nature work. In essence, the concepts of rich and poor describe not how much or how little we have, but rather how much or how little we give of ourselves.

There are many ways to give – we can give our time, thoughts, wealth, and guidance. Similarly, there are many levels of giving. Some give because they want recognition or medals or some form of return; it is better to give even with an ulterior motive than not give at all. However, the highest form of giving is selfless and unconditional. Unconditional giving is when we give without any thought of reward, return, or recognition. It is far different from the bartering concept of giving – you scratch my back and I scratch yours – that exists in the material world today.

The best symbol of unconditional giving is that of a flower which gives its perfume, to every passerby. Even when you crush a flower, it still leaves its perfume behind.

There is a Sufi story about a poor starving man who approached a saint and asked him, “What is my destiny?” The saint replied that he did not know the answer but that he would pray to find out. The next day, the saint told the poor man that there was only a bag of rice in his destiny. The man pleaded with the saint to request God to give him his bag of rice as soon as possible as he was starving to death. The saint prayed for his request. The next morning, when the poor man woke up, he found a bag of rice sitting outside his doorstep. Thanking his luck, he cooked the whole bag of rice and called his neighbor and friend to share the rice with him. By duck, the rice was finished.

The next morning, the poor man found two bags of rice outside his doorstep. He continued his ritual by cooking all the rice and inviting more friends and neighbors, and together they ate the rice. By duck, the rice was finished. The next morning, when he woke up, he found three bags of rice at his doorstep. When the saint asked God why the poor man was getting so many bags of rice instead of the one he had predicted. God told him that, because of the poor man’s generosity in his poverty, he had changed and recreated his destiny.

Seven steps to Lasting Happiness

Azim Jamal

The men and women who give charity and make a good loan to Allah will have it increased for them and they will have a generous reward. (57:18)

Give from what We have provided for you before death comes to one of you and he says, ‘My Lord, if only you would give me a little more time so that I can give charity and be one of the righteous!’ (63:10)

(Al-Quran)

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