I boarded a flight a few hours ago and an older Pakistani woman (wearing hijab) boarded but couldn’t speak English or find her seat, and she had difficulty walking.
A Caucasian man in seat 1B (of First Class) stood up and gave her his seat and went all the way back to seat 17A where she was assigned.
After landing, I waited for him to deplane and asked him why he did that and what he thought of minorities in times like this (because she visibly stood out), and he responded:
“I didn’t care about her background. I saw an old woman who looked like she could use a break, and it was a short flight anyway so I didn’t mind sitting in the back.”
I mentioned that it’s the norm to be compassionate to one another as human beings but unfortunately it’s become a noble gesture in times like this where hate crimes are on the rise and the political climate has taken a dark turn in recent months.
He agreed and then said, “I didn’t want to tell anyone (on the plane) that I’m a strict white conservative (because he had helped someone who was visibly a minority), but if that were my mother, I’d hope someone else would do the same for her.”
I thanked him for his compassionate gesture and we parted ways.
It does not matter what race you are, what religion you follow, what colour your skin is, what language you speak, what culture you practise, what size you are, how young or old you are. If you have a good, kind heart, you will help another human being as much as you can. Let’s find opportunities to do good unto others.
As Muslims, we should be even more kind than the man in the above story. Let’s assist our non-Muslim neighbours, friends and even strangers if we see that they need our help. And don’t forget to smile! Allah will reward you well, insha Allah.
May Allah bless all the non-Muslims who assist Muslims around the world. May Allah guide them to embracing Islam someday. Ameen.
The man who helped the old lady (in the story) showed us that he had a lot of compassion for the old and needy, regardless of their religious background.
His last statement is key to understanding a lot of human behavior. Emotional intelligence and empathy go a long way in building bridges and shattering stereotypes. Unfortunately, many people rush to judgment, cult behavior, and mistreatment due to ignorance of “the other.”
Sometimes, all it takes for growth is one moment of sincere reflection, placing yourself in the shoes of others, trying to understand what they stand for and believe in, and defending them against discrimination and injustice.
Societal harmony and global peace can never be established if justice is missing, and justice can never be established if all good people are only advocates in silence.
Edited from a Facebook post by Sheikh Suleiman Hani; 9/6/2017