By Moin Qazi
Dec 22, 2016
Social service is an offspring of compassion and love, and
is sustained gracefully when it is not rooted in self-advertisement.
When once asked to express in one word the guiding principle
of happy life, Confucius replied, “It is altruism.” And what is altruism in its
essence? It is a total orientation away from selfishness and towards the good
of others, to the sharing of joys and sorrows of the whole world. The other
becomes the justification for my being on this earth. Albert Schweitzer who
worked for the sick and infirm in African jungles put it this way: “I am life
wishing to live in the midst of the lives, which also wish to live.”
Great thinkers have emphasised the “S” factor — “S” for
service, i.e., service to society. Einstein maintained that it is a higher
destiny to serve than to rule. In the words of Marcus Aurelius, “We are made
for cooperation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper
and lower teeth. To act against one another then is contrary to Nature.”
If our world has to become a beautiful and peaceful place,
we have to get rid of the “me generation” that pervades the society, that
presides over office tables and that infests our universities too.
The marvellous thing about humanitarian service is that once
the unhappy person feels that somebody cares about him he is often able to
begin caring more about others. Love liberates love: it is as direct and
miraculous as that.
Deep in our hearts, most of us yearn for our lives to be
useful, and hope that we can wipe a few tears from the sobbing eyes of our unfortunate
brethren. Smiling faces are the greatest reward, and in reality, are greater
than any reward can be.
You can have all the wealth and the health in the world, but
unless you do something for the poor you can never achieve real happiness.
If one concentrates on selfless service to others and makes
it a one-point mission this duty can become a deity and keep our heart and mind
clean and spotless. In whatever station of life we are placed, we can do this.
The nature of service is that we do it because it is right
to us. If we do it without the expectation of a reward, we feel happy. It
rejuvenates our hearts. Working for the poor gives us inner strength.
Our faith in God and human beings is shown in small acts of
kindness, brotherhood or sisterhood and familiarity in our day-to-day lives.
We don’t have to go out and look for an opportunity to do
this duty. It stands before us all the time, and we need only to do very well
the work that we have been given. If we are mothers, we should be great
mothers; if we are civil servants, we should serve people with great energy,
honesty and courtesy. William Penn has rightly said: “I expect to pass through
this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do let me do it now, let
me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
is a well-known banker, author and Islamic researcher.