The other day I passed by my University and noticed a blood drive taking place. I have seen blood drives before, ads and signs asking people to give. They became so frequent and like any other advertisement, I would just walk by.
But that day I was curious. I turned around and decided to walk behind the curtains and peak inside. I saw several people lying down, needles in their arm, their fists clenched, and a bag that would fill up with about a liter of their streaming precious blood.
Some of the donors looked tired yet there was something about them that seemed peaceful and I felt it from where I stood. I asked one of the volunteers about the duration of the procedure and she said 15 minutes. This meant that after 15 minutes, they are done giving blood and have possibly saved up to 3 lives.
I stood there and pondered upon the idea of how one could give away some of their blood to save others. How it is physically possible for us to sacrifice something that is part of us, flowing and circulating into our bloodstream, feeding every single cell and organ in our body, without harming it in any way. It is our source of life and what we need in order to function, to live, and to survive. Yet, people like me and you are giving part of it away, even multiple times during their lifetime.
I realized how Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) does indeed give us plenty because He is the Most Generous and that we actually do not need all of our blood in order for us to function, to live and to survive. It’s true that after some has been given away, soon our body replaces what has been taken.
So why do we have more blood than we actually need?
He also gives us many gifts such as money, shelter, food, water, clothing, time, and health. And the same way some of us are able to donate a portion of our blood without risking our health, we can also give some of our money, our time, our clothes, and our food without affecting our ability to function.
We tend to take things for granted and assume that everyone has what we have. But in reality, for someone who is involved in a car accident or is suffering from an illness or battling cancer, that one liter of blood can mean their life.
Similarly, that extra clothing in our closet that we hardly wear, the food that is stacked in our fridge that rots by the end of the week, and our time that we spend vegetating in front of the television set – these could be things that someone else is in desperate need of.
The answer to my question became clear in my mind. Allah (swt) is the Most Generous and is teaching us the importance of giving. “And spend [in the way of Allah ] from what We have provided you,”(Qur’an 63:10)
He has blessed each one of us in many ways with something that we can offer. It may even just be a helping hand for an elderly woman crossing the street carrying heavy groceries.
I am reminded that everything that we have is not actually from our “hard work” or “good luck”. Everything is from Allah (swt): “To Him belongs what is in the heavens and on earth and all between them, and all beneath the soil,” (Qur’an 20:6). When we live by this mindset, we come to realize that we are only tools, a means used by Allah (swt) to help others.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) said: “God has ninety-nine names, one hundred minus one. The one who enumerates them enters Paradise,” (Abu Huraira). Allah (swt) gives us, in our small way, an understanding of Him through His Revealed Names and we can exemplify these qualities and attributes in our daily lives. By donating blood, money, time, services, or goods, Allah (swt) provides us with the opportunity to experience a hint of His beauty through generosity and kindness.
Since Allah (swt) is the Most Generous, the source of all Generosity, how else can we find our way towards that source, towards Allah (swt) where He is, to Paradise except through actions that exemplify His beauty and Revealed attributes?
Even more beautiful is knowing that all that is with Allah (swt) is never lost. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ tells us, “You will never give up a thing for the sake of Allah (swt), but that Allah will replace it for you with something that is better for you than it,” (Ahmad). So, When we give blood, Allah (swt) sustains us with a replacement and recent studies show that donating blood is as good for your health as it is good for the receiver. So then what are we losing when we give?
On my way out from the blood drive, I asked a woman resting and drinking her juice how she felt after giving blood. She said, “I bled to help someone else, someone I’ll never meet but someone whose life may be saved in part because of me. And this makes me happy.”
This woman may not be Muslim. She may not even realize the power of her generosity; but, she showed me something, that somehow, we are irresistibly drawn towards Allah’s attributes, without even knowing it. When we do them, we feel good. It is an act that is loved by Allah (swt), an act that takes us closer to our original nature, to our Home, nearer to our Lord, to the Source of it all. Allahu Akbar. (God is the Greatest.)
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