“...And had Allah so willed, He would have made you a single community, but He wanted to test you in what He has given you, so compete with one another in doing good deeds…” (Qur’an, 5:48)
After reading an English translation of the Qur’an, I felt compelled to fill my time doing as many good deeds as I could, which is what pushed me to actively seek out volunteer opportunities within the Manchester area. The Qur’an encourages individuals to do many good deeds, in order to seek Allah’s (God's) pleasure.
What I've learned:
Since joining the “Soup and Smiles” team, I have learned to see beyond some of the negative stereotypes that exist about the homeless community. Every individual has their own story as to how they have come to be in the situation they are in and most often it is not in line with what the public may believe.
Marcus*, a service user, left home as a teenager after enduring years of abuse at his father’s hands. With no fixed abode, he became familiar with the wrong crowd and was eventually introduced to the dark and destructive world of drugs. His story is one that illustrates the sad reality that homelessness can, contrary to what some may believe, cause substance abuse issues rather than be a result of them.
Another service user, George*, told me of how he had once had a business, a family of his own and a home. Tragically, his only child passed away one night and George discovered him the following morning, lying in his bed lifeless, when attempting to wake him up for school. George was, understandably, struck with grief and things spiralled downwards from there; his marriage broke down, his business collapsed and eventually, he found himself without a home, after a zero-hour contract left him with unstable work and inconsistent working hours.
Having had the opportunity to engage with the homeless community, I have learned that homelessness is not necessarily the result of an individual’s 'bad’ choices in life. Many end up homeless due to circumstances beyond their control - circumstances the vast majority of us have never had to face.
I have also learned that, in addition to being victims of their circumstances, homeless individuals are also often victims of society's unfair prejudices.
Alhamdulillah (praise be to God), I feel privileged that Allah (God) has given me the opportunity to earn good deeds through the “Soup and Smiles” project. In sha Allah (God willing), my participation in this project will somewhat, help me towards filling up my scales for the next life and to make a positive impact in this one.
“And the weighing on that day (Day of Resurrection) will be the true (weighing). So as for those whose scale (of good deeds) will be heavy, they will be the successful (by entering Paradise).” (Qur’an 7:8)
May Allah (God) purify the intentions of all of us within The Myriad Foundation, accept our efforts and improve the circumstances of the homeless community, here in Manchester and elsewhere. Ameen.
*Names have been changed