Seeking Financial Assistance from Others

Morning Landscape

I remember before I entered university three years ago, my mother and I had to shuffle to and fro from one organization to another just to seek financial help for my entrance fees.

We would travel across the country, knocking the doors of officials, furnishing our case and trying to get something, anything, just so we could raise the money before we meet the deadline.

“Even an interest free loan is great, sir.”

“I just need some money to accept this application.”

“Any amount will do… please.”

Some people think that seeking financial aid from others is essentially taking the easy way out – the lazy way out – but after what I had to go through, I think that in contrary, it is the hardest decision for anyone to take.

Asking money from others effectively kills your ego. It lowers your dignity, debases your self-worth, and risks putting you in the hands of people or organizations who think that your asking makes them better than you. You subject yourself to a lifetime debt of gratitude, and the hands that feed you in return expect your loyalty to them.

Any person in the right mind would do anything but ask for help from others if given a choice.

In that process of seeking financial aid, my mother and I were grilled from A to Z about our financial health. We had to furnish all our documents from bank accounts, bills, even the death certificate of my brother.

We had to open our doors to well-meaning officials who wanted to check where we live. And because we live in a five-room flat, they write off our names saying that we are not eligible. What they don’t see is that even after 18 years of staying here, we have yet to finish paying for it. The fact that we don’t have enough cash to downgrade to a smaller home too escapes them. Or that the good-looking sofa has never been changed, stitched countless times, or that the electronics, even furniture, around the house are hand-me-downs from relatives.

And by the end of the week, despite the many promises of aid, none of the nature we needed came.

I remember my mother’s pained look. She was indignant and defensive, “It’s fine if they don’t want to help. Allah will provide other means.”

I knew how she felt. All the begging makes you feel like shit after a while. It is a feeling hard to swallow.

And you will never understand it unless you have been through a similar experience.

That was why when I received an e-mail from a breast cancer patient seeking help to pay for her treatments and chemotherapy, a portion of her e-mail resonated with me,

“What was humbling about this whole experience was that I had to raise funds for it because my insurance doesn’t cover me for treatment in America. I tell you something, I have done fundraising for other causes and other people before numerous times, but to do it for myself, man, it was so hard.

There were people who said they would help, and didn’t. I had people grill me about why did I choose to get my treatment in America since it’s so expensive. I’ve had people ignore my emails for help. It has been humbling to a great degree.

There are people who have said they’ll help, but didn’t. I’ve sent out over 70 emails, and received less than 10 replies. But I suppose there is a lesson behind this and I am trying my best to be gracious and not angry…”

There is something wrong with the system, with ourselves, if we have to further step on a downtrodden person. Like I mentioned earlier, to ask help from another already requires a person to humble himself to such a level he never knew possible. Why do we have to pounce on him at his weakest, exposing all his faults and accusing him of this and that?

Why can’t we just help for the sake of Allah, out of love for one another?

I remember a story of a religious man who donated money to a drunkard, a prostitute and a rich man, just because they asked for his assistance. People accused him of being stupid for trusting these people, that his money would just be used for bad deeds.

The religious man swatted all the accusations away, simply replying that his intention was to help them, and what they did with the money was between them and Allah. “It could be that my money will help them out of the predicament they are in, and help them to turn to Allah,” he explained.

True enough, it did.

I think the world will be a much better place if we could help others in need without making them feel worse than they already do. Isn’t Islam about preserving the dignity of our fellow Muslims?

“O you who have believed, do not invalidate your charities with reminders or injury as does one who spends his wealth [only] to be seen by the people and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day. His example is like that of a [large] smooth stone upon which is dust and is hit by a downpour that leaves it bare. They are unable [to keep] anything of what they have earned. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.” [Qur’an 2:264]

P/s. I am helping to collect donations for the sister with breast cancer. She needs to raise RM5,000 by this Saturday 15th June 2013 before her treatment can commence. Please e-mail me at [email protected] if you want to read her letter of appeal. Else, please send the contributions to POSB Savings 175-46630-4, and inform me once you’ve sent it over. Thanks everyone :)

P/s. The fund raising drive is now closed! We raised SGD 3,755 , alhamdulillah! Jazakumullah khayr to all who contributed in any way!

Fadhilah Wahid
My name is Nur Fadhilah Wahid. I am a seeker of knowledge, a Muslimah in progress, and a writer. I believe in the magic that can happen when like-hearted and like-minded individuals come together :)

12 thoughts on “Seeking Financial Assistance from Others”

    1. Salaam Dramamama!! You’re still here! There! Here! (You know what I mean).

      MasyaAllah, jazakillah khayr for helping to reach the goal in one move haha.. May Allah place you and your family in His mercy and love. (I miss reading about your children!)

      1. Ameen! Pls send my salam to the sister who’s going through Allah’s test. May she remain patient and steadfast.

        My kids are teenagers now! Alhamdulillah everyone is well :) I hope you too are well. Take care my dear.

      2. haha, they must be seeing I remember we used to follow each other’s web sites when *I* would still consider myself a teenager. I’m doing well alhamdulillah, Allah has blessed me with much opportunities :)

        Do you happen to write anywhere still?

      3. I don’t anymore. Although the husband thinks I have a couple of great ideas for some short stories to be published. We’ll see, the writing process is far too tedious for someone with too many lazy bones like me!

    1. I know right!!! I still follow some bloggers who have now transitioned to other social media sites like instagram, but blogging is much better. There was a time when we had blog outings etc, but now everyone seems to be too busy to write.

      Maybe we can start again with me and you. And somehow rope Ameera in :P Know any others?

  1. I am going through exactly the same experience right now while trying to get financial aid for my studies! :) If you don’t mind me asking, could you let me know which organizations you have tried asking for financial aid? I’d also appreciate any other recommendations or advice! JazakAllah khair. :)

    1. Haha it wouldn’t be nice to say which organizations I tried out since I didn’t quite paint a good picture about them.

      But I would recommend you to try applying through http://lbkm.org.sg/bursary-scholarship/lbkm-scholarships/.

      Postgraduate scholarships applications are open in July/August :) I’ve received some help from them twice (the bursaries), the application process is simple and their personnel are really nice.

      That being said, the bulk of my tuition fees and daily expenses are paid for by a generous individual I met online barely three years ago. We started exchanging e-mails and the topic of my tuition fees came about. The next thing I know, alhamdulillah my finances are sorted out.

      Alhamdulillah Allah is generous and sends help through those He love. I would advice to network a lot with the right crowd and to make lots of du’a.

      Additionally, I see you’ve made a gofundme page. You’re specializing in psychology, you have been published before and you write islamic articles as well. Why not write a short e-book on islam and psychology, and distribute it online for free to your facebook friends etc.

      Promote your gofundme page through your e-book by either mentioning it at the end, or create Part 2 of the E-book which is only available for people who donate a certain amount? ;)

      Just some suggestions!

  2. “And you will never understand it unless you have been through a similar experience.”
    Indeed, only those who have had similar experience will “somehow” understand.

    May Allah look at the challenged servant of His, with His Eye of Mercy. Ameen.

    Allahu Hafiz :)

    1. Ameen to your du’a, Ustaz!

      My lecturers say the same about religious knowledge or experiences as well. You can read a million books about it, but if you never put it in practice, you will never understand that knowledge or experience. Jazakallah khayr for reminding me of this :)

      In lieu of rule #10 in my “cheat list” for dean’s list, please make du’a for me Ustaz! My iman goes up and down like a roller coaster; I miss feeling close to Allah :(

      Salaams,
      Fadhilah

  3. Salam sis.. i stumble upon ur write up while searching for help group on the net..
    Yes its true, u will only know the exact feeling when u go thru it.. and gng around asking for help is no easy thing to do.. i am in this situation now.. it is so bad to the extend my iman has also gone roller coaster.. the thought of being at the bottom of spore river also came across to me at times..
    One stupid mistake i made n my life n family gone down the drain.. juz dun knw how long more i can keep my marriage intct.. getting a loan to start over is all i need but it most times i feel.like Allah has abandoned me n left me to rot.. i just dont know wat else to do or who else can help.. sigh

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