Human Solidarity Day: Empowering Others Through Faith

by Helmy Sa'at

In 365 days, how many days do we dedicate ourselves to the betterment of other human beings through charity work? With the pandemic, the opportunities to immerse ourselves and families in charity work would drastically diminish in the face of health and safety considerations. Yet, that should not stop us as we find alternative ways.

In essence, the spirit of giving and sharing is geared towards cultivating social justice such as combating and alleviating the suffering of those trapped in poverty. The key to empowering ourselves and others is faith. Faith anchored through the lens of Islam in motivating ourselves to do good deeds. However, it is also about harbouring faith which reflects our absolute confidence in the belief that our contributions would spark changes, not only in our local communities, but the world for the betterment of mankind collectively. As we navigate the many challenging waves in the vast ocean of life experiences, we should always keep in mind of ways to help others along the way.

Solidifying Solidarity

The very basic conception and idea of solidarity is rooted in the building blocks of the United Nations (UN). Subsequently, solidarity has been identified as a fundamentally indispensable value in the Millennium Declaration which is juxtaposed in a period of heightened globalisation in the digital age that widens the gap of inequality in many measures. According to the UN, International Human Solidarity Day is:

  • a day to celebrate our unity in diversity;
  • a day to remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements;
  • a day to raise public awareness of the importance of solidarity;
  • a day to encourage debate on the ways to promote solidarity for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals including poverty eradication;
  • a day of action to encourage new initiatives for poverty eradication.

Thus, in cultivating partly the spirit of sharing for combating poverty, the UN has proclaimed 20 December as International Human Solidarity Day.

Beyond The Umbrella Of The Global Ummah

What is our role as part of the global ummah? We share this planet and as part of humanity we share the duty and responsibility in the global cooperation with the goal of lifting people out of poverty, hunger and disease.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

‏ “‏ كُلُّ سُلاَمَى عَلَيْهِ صَدَقَةٌ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ، يُعِينُ الرَّجُلَ فِي دَابَّتِهِ يُحَامِلُهُ عَلَيْهَا أَوْ يَرْفَعُ عَلَيْهَا مَتَاعَهُ صَدَقَةٌ، وَالْكَلِمَةُ الطَّيِّبَةُ، وَكُلُّ خَطْوَةٍ يَمْشِيهَا إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ صَدَقَةٌ، وَدَلُّ الطَّرِيقِ صَدَقَةٌ ‏”‏‏.‏

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Charity is obligatory everyday on every joint of a human being. If one helps a person in matters concerning his riding animal by helping him to ride it or by lifting his luggage on to it, all this will be regarded charity. A good word, and every step one takes to offer the compulsory Congregational prayer, is regarded as charity; and guiding somebody on the road is regarded as charity.

[Sahih al-Bukhari 2891]

A small act of charity goes a long way. No amount or effort is to be trivialised when we could and should be actively seeking out ways to help, not only our brothers and sisters in Islam, but also those outside the umbrella of Islam. When we work together despite differences in background, such as religious faith, we are building bridges of understanding and fostering harmony.

It Starts With Me!

There is no right or wrong way to start. Just get the ball rolling in the first place.

Do you know that we are in control of our acts of charity? It seems fairly commonsensical, yet worth articulating it out loud every now and then; and especially today! Start local, in your backyard. Seek out local charities which are in need of volunteers to organise or raise funds, for instance. Our faith could very well be the springboard to action. However, never let it be a crutch, or a fear factor in shaping our actions.

لَن تَنَالُوا۟ ٱلْبِرَّ حَتَّىٰ تُنفِقُوا۟ مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ ۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا۟ مِن شَىْءٍ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِهِۦ عَلِيمٌ

You will never achieve righteousness until you donate some of what you cherish. And whatever you give is certainly well known to Allah.

[Surah Ali ‘Imran 3:92]

As we celebrate Human Solidarity Day, remember that we can make a difference in the lives of those close to us and our community as a start. Just as important, take this opportunity to teach our children and youths that every act of charity is a significant step in making the world a better place to live and thrive collectively akin to the poetic expression: Little drops of water make a mighty ocean.