A man with two lives

A lovely sunny day in the New York City where the smiles shine on people’s faces as they walk towards their workplace. Moving forward in action while following a dream in their hearts, every person has got a plan and a wish to achieve something. In this city, lives a rich man named Fares Mahmoud. He is a multi-millionaire who is well known for not taking interest and fighting corporations against it.

A man who has everything has a big secret. Under the blue sky light, he is a successful businessman and during the weekends he works at a small construction site.

It all started one day, when his Lamborghini broke down on a highway. Fares decided to walk outside for a while until it was fixed. While he was walking alongside the Brooklyn Bridge, he saw a small girl in a hijab crying. He goes up to her and asks her, “Is everything okay? Why are you crying?”…

The little girl says, “I am lost. I can’t find my mother anywhere. I don’t know what to do!”

Fares asks her if he can help her find her mom. The little girl agrees and asks him if he can take her home. Fares calls for a cab and takes the little girl to her house. On the way, Fares seems to be fascinated by the way the little girl talked, her sweet and kind nature. He finds out her name is Summayya. Her father works at a construction site in Manhattan. Summayya tells him all about her father, his work and the problems their community has been facing. She says, “I know you are a rich man. You wouldn’t know about our problems until you are among us. This ummah needs a lot of help. We are poor but we are happy Alhamdulillah. The other day, my father’s friend got sick and he is in the hospital. The bills are too high for him to pay. Now he has to work extra hard to make up for it. Every person here has a problem and Insha’Allah Allah will help us”. Summayya smiles at Fares. Fares feels touched with Summayya’s words and drops her off to her house. Her mother thanks him and Fares goes home.

It was that day, that one little girl changed Fares forever. He was a person who would only think about his business.

After coming home inside his mansion, he thinks about Summayya all day.

He makes wudhu and takes the Qur’an that has been on the shelf from a long time.

He recites Surah Baqarah in which he reads:

“(Charity is) for the poor who are confined in the way of Allah, they cannot travel in the land, the ignorant person considers them to be free of want because of (their) abstaining (from begging), you can recognize them from their marks, they do not beg from people, being troublesome by demanding frequently; and whatever you spend of good, then Allah is certainly the Knower of it.” (2:273)

Tears come from Fares’s eyes. He goes to a masjid by walking and prays there.  He sees all the Muslim brothers and how close they are to one another. He decides to work during weekends among the poor and help them out secretly without them knowing who he is.

He gets a job at a construction site in Manhattan. The owner of the place is the only one who knows Mr. Fares and wonders why he would ask for a small job at his construction site. The construction site was known to be full of Muslim men who worked there. They were all united. They would pray together and eat together in the sunnah way. 

Fares joins them and becomes good friends with them. Fares would dress like them and eat alongside with them. They share their problems with him and he helps them out secretly.

A few months passed by, Fares’s brother Hisham noticed many changes in him. One night, he throws a party at his house and invites Fares to dinner over the weekend. Although Fares gets tired from all day’s hard-work he had done at the construction site, he gets dressed in a suit that has a beautiful brown and black herringbone weave with a slight shine. He puts on his Black Hat and heads off to the party. When Fares comes to the party, Hisham begins to suspect about him. Fares looked very tired although everyone in the company knows that Fares never works on weekends. He wonders if he had started a new corporation without telling him or something must have gone wrong. He asks Fares about his fatigue. Fares replies in a calm manner, “I have been very busy”. Hisham remains silent.

The next day was a Sunday, Fares wakes up from his sleep and gets ready to start his work. When he goes to his car, he finds his brother in there already waiting on him. Fares gets surprised to see his brother waiting on him. Fares doesn’t say anything and smiles at Hisham. They both go to the mall and spend some time together.

A few weeks pass by and Fares does his usual work. One weekend, Hisham decides to follow Fares and finds out all about his secret. When Fares finds out, he got disappointed with him. He tells him he wants to please Allah without anyone knowing about him.

Fares controls his anger and remains calm at his brother. They both sit down together and he explains him everything.

Fares also reminds his brother what Allah Subhanahu Wa Taa’ala has commanded in the Qur’an about suspicion.

“O’ you believe! Avoid suspicion as much [as possible]: for suspicion in some cases is a sin…” (Qur’an 49:12)

Hisham apologizes to Fares and gives him his word that he will never reveal his secret. Upon hearing this, Fares thanks him. The next weekend, Hisham joins Fares. Later on, they begin to help the Muslim community and spend most of their wealth in charity.

Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:

“Whoever relieves a believer of some of the distress of this world, Allah will relieve him of some of the distress of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever comes to the aid of one who is going through hardship, Allah will come to his aid in this world and the next.” (Muslim, 17/21)

Charity brings lots of happiness to our hearts. It feels great to see others happy and to be able to help them Alhamdulillah. It erases our sins and it’s an act of worship. In this story, a man named Fares goes out to help the poor in a way no one finds out his identity. He gives charity in secret without show off. He lives among the poor to understand their problems and helping them in every way he can. People get so busy in their luxuries and comfort that they forget what it is like to be in someone else’s place. One can’t feel the pain until they are willing to share it with the other person.

When one fails to do good when one is able to do so carries the threat of losing the blessings of Almighty Allah,

“Never does Allah bless a servant with abundant bounty, then some needs of the people are brought to his attention and he feels annoyed and reluctant to help them, but that blessing will be exposed to the threat of loss.” (Tabaraani)

O Allah, embellish us with the decoration of faith and grant that we may be rightly guided as well as be a source of guidance to others. Ameen

Story submitted by Ishrat Ali