Sunday, January 23, 2011

✿The Generous Vegetable Seller✿

May this note find you in the best of health and iman.

Dear friends,
how's summer going? mine is good so far, Alhamdulillah. So...... lightofhonour is back in action :) nothing much to say, but last December i found an article which i think, quite interesting to be shared with my dearest.

This extraordinary woman thinks nothing of living a life devoid of luxuries in order to help those less fortunate than her :)

Chen Shu-Chu was born in 1950. She lost her mother after completing her primary school education. Her mother was admitted to a hospital due to difficulties in labour and the family had to pay an insurance of $160 before medical attention could be granted . Chen saw her father asking their neighbours for money but it was too late to save her mother. The eldest daughter in the family, Chen had to grow up overnight. She gave up her studies and dedicated her life to helping at the vegetable stall. When she was 18, her younger brother fell sick and the illness dragged on for over a year, gradually depleting the family savings. Doctor suggested the family send her brother to Taiwan National University Hospital, but they couldn't afford the fees. Huang Shun-Zhong a teacher at Ren-ai Primary School, started a donation drive.Unfortunately, her brother couldn't be saved. 

After experiencing the kindness bestowed upon her family, Chen made up her mind to help the poor once she was able. When her father passed away 17 years ago, Chen a devoted Buddhist, generously donated $32,140 to Fo Guang Shan Monastery.  In 2000 she donated NT$1 million to her alma mater, Ren-ai Primary School, to set up  an "emergency Relief Fund" to help poor children obtain financial help. 

Assisting in the setting up and maintenance of the fund is Li Guo rong, who teaches Chen's nephew. In 2001, Li had a plan to build a library for the school and estimated the cost to be between NT$4 million and NT$5 million. When he approached Chen, in the hope that she might contribute NT$50 000, Li was shocked when Chen said she would fund the entire project. While the school  was sceptical, Chen was determined. May 2005, the two-storey library was completed and named "Chen Shu-Chu Library" in honour of the "Vegetable Market heroine" alumnus. 

Chen ability to donate such large sums of money has led many to ask, How can a mere vegetable seller earn so much?

Chen said, "spend only what you need and u'll be able to save up a lot of money!"Chen leads a very simple life without any luxuries. Neither does she have any desire for material gains nor any form of enjoyment. Work she says, is her enjoyment. She added, "my philosophy in life is simple : if doing something makes you worried, then it must be a wrong thing. If it makes you happy, then you must have done the right thing. What other say is not important" 

credit to Esther Liang

Izzah's point 

"if doing something makes you worried, then it must be a wrong thing. If it makes you happy, then you must have done the right thing"

Based on Hadith 27,

Al-Nawwas bin Sam'an, radiyallahu 'anhu, reported that the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, said:

"Righteousness is good character, and sin is that which wavers in your heart and which you do not want people to know about."
According to Wabisah bin Ma'bad, radiyallahu 'anhu, who said:

I came to the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, and he said: "You have come to ask about righteousness ?" " Yes," I answered. He said: "Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels tranquil and the heart feels tranquil, and sin is what creates restlessness in the soul and moves to and fro in the breast, even though people give you their opinion (in your favour) and continue to do so."
[A good hadith transmitted from the Musnads of the two Imams, Ahmad bin Hanbal and Al-Darimi]

Allah has created us with a pure innate or natural disposition that is called fitra, as mentioned in other hadiths. This means to love the truth and the good and to hate falsehood and evil. Consequently, good believers with pure fitra should never confuse truth with falsehood.

The second hadith guides us to consult our heart regarding doubtful matters. If the heart is in tranquility, that implies that it is righteousness. If the heart is not tranquil, one should abstain from carrying out such an act or doubtful matter. However, it should be noted that fitra is subject to corruption and can be spoiled due to the influence of bad environment - a person may start to like and appreciate what is bad or evil and dislike truth and goodness. Here, the heart is diseased or even dead. Such a person cannot use his heart as a measure to judge what is good and bad because the fitra is already corrupted.

As conclusion,the two hadiths reveal a significant aspect of Islam that is an internal controlling and guiding system that is established as a result of several factors:

  1. The pure fitra (natural disposition). Allah created everybody with a pure fitra and not just Muslims. The Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, mentions many factors in the environment that play an influential role in subjecting the fitra to corruption.
  2. The realization of tauhid. This means practicing all the essentials of tauhid like loving Allah, seeking His Help as the only refuge, depending on Him (tawakal), asking for His Mercy, and many other essentials associated with the idea of tauhid.
  3. Adhering to shari'ah instructions.
  4. Seeking knowledge.
  5. Tazkirah and tarbiyah - that is the purification of the soul and the heart of the Muslim.

Much love,
light-of-honour (Nurul Izzah)
salsabila 2010