For the past few days we are experiencing extreme weather conditions. Bitter cold. snow with more snow expected in the next few days.
Some of us are having fun and some of us are complaining about the poor travel conditions and the state of our roads, rail and air disruptions.
We are all very anxious to get to our destinations ie home as quickly as possible. Away from the the bitter cold, the wet and the darkness.
How many of us though, have spared a thought for those who haven’t got a warm house to go to?
People who have not got a home of their own. People sleeping in cold and desolate street benches, under bridges and archways, shop doorways, and so on.
We are sometimes quick to dismiss their predicament as something caused by their own fault. This can be sometimes the case but not always…
Possible reasons for their condition could be one of many:
Unavailability of employment opportunities.
Poverty, caused by many factors including unemployment and underemployment.
Lack of affordable healthcare.
War or armed conflict.
Mental disorder, where mental health services are unavailable or difficult to access.
Disability, especially where disability services are nonexistent or poor performing.
Lack of affordable housing
Relationship breakdown, particularly in relation to young people and their parents.
Prison release and re-entry into society.
Natural disaster, including but not limited to earthquakes and hurricanes.
Forced eviction – In many countries, people lose their homes by government order to make way for newer upscale high rise buildings, roadways, and other governmental needs. The compensation may be minimal, in which case the former occupants cannot find appropriate new housing and become homeless.
In this weather a homeless person does not only face the usual problems of
Reduced access to health care and dental services.
Limited access to education.
Increased risk of suffering from violence and abuse.
General rejection or discrimination from other people.
Loss of usual relationships with the mainstream
Not being seen as suitable for employment.
Reduced access to banking services
Reduced access to communications technology
but the very real danger of hypothermia and possible death.
So next time you come across a homeless person, especially in these severe weather conditions, please do not hurry to pass by but try to stop and find out if you can help in any small or big way within your capabilities.
Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace andblessings be upon him) said,
“There is no person who does not have the obligation of (doing) charity every day that the sun rises.”
Whereupon he was asked, “O Messenger of Allah, from where would we get something to give in charity (so often)?” To which he (peace and blessings be upon him) replied,
“Indeed the gates to goodness are many: glorifying God, praising Him, magnifying Him, saying ‘There is no god but Allah,’ enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong, removing (any source of) harm from the road, making the deaf hear (and understand), guiding the blind, showing the seeker his need, striving as far as your two legs could carry you and with deep concern to give succor to him who asks, carrying with the strength of your arms (the burdens of) the weak. All these are (acts of) charity.” And he added, “And your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, your removing of stones, thorns, and bones from people’s paths is charity, and your guiding a man gone astray in the world is charity for you.”