Abdul Sattar Edhi - What Do All Religions Have In Common?
By Asif Valiji, Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International
Many of us were raised to be part of a religion or became aware of religion as we were growing up through the people around us. Whether you are personally religious or not you cannot deny that we are all mostly surrounded by many people with differing religious perspectives that are self-evident, diverse and very unique to each faith.
However, the one thing that unites all religions is that they are created for people. For human beings to use in their lives. It may seem like a simple and obvious point but with the recent publicity around the Islamic State and countless incidents in history there is a tendency to focus on differences and labels rather than seeing what unites us, and this is where true legends set themselves apart. They never take their attention off people and serving their needs.
Years ago I watched a video about a Pakistani philanthropist who started the largest welfare organisation in Pakistan. Winner of 3 peace prizes and civil decorations, Mr Abdul Sattar Edhi died of kidney failure on the 8th July at the age of 88 in a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. But his country and the world will not forget him.
Described as a “legendary figure” by Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai, Mr Edhi was a lover of the poor and needy people of Pakistan, regardless of religion. He was committed to serving their needs and making a valuable difference to them. He was also a devout Muslim man firmly rooted in his belief. He set an example for millions of Muslims across the world as he used his faith to become closer to people. One of his most famous sayings was...
“My religion is humanitarianism, which is the basis of every religion in the world.”
He turned his words into actions and currently his foundation runs the world's largest ambulance service with 1,500 ambulances running on a 24-hour basis. They are invaluable in areas where the state is unable to provide care. Once, when asked why he would let his ambulances pick up Christians and Hindus he said...
“Because the ambulance is more Muslim than you.”
Mr Edhi’s words and actions put his love for people before class, religion, colour and many other forms of differentiation. His legendary ability to see common human needs in his fellow countrymen such as kindness, compassion, humility and care will leave a beautiful legacy for us all to follow. A legacy based on virtues which, ironically, are consistent across many major religions and faiths.
These virtues carried him forward to his very last breath, as his dying words were...
“Care for and look after the poor people of my country”
Our thoughts and blessings are with his family at this difficult time.
Here's a further look at his life from Vice News...
Share your tributes to a true legend below...
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