I was going to work today when an accident happened along Maryland axis at the Independent tunnel. A danfo and a truck collided, let me spare you the horrendous details. It was a really upsetting incident made all the worse by the reaction of the public. When we should have offered these people support and compassion, we demonstrated ignorance and intolerance. A crowd gathered around the tunnel and passersby took to twitter and social media to share images of the people in the accident. Captions complained about the traffic and online news sites live reported the incident. From the crowd, someone cursed the truck driver.
For me that was such an eye-opening moment. Here are people who needed our help and instead of helping we are updating our social media profiles.
However, I Learned 4 things today.
1. We live in the most connected time there has ever been. We must now connect. We must open up. We must help people. When we help people and stop watching and instead start participating then we will gain an understanding of people and in turn an understanding of society. And when we fully understand society change will not only be possible, it will be inevitable. .
“Surely God enjoins justice, kindness and the doing of good, to kith and kin; and He forbids all that is shameful, indecent, evil, rebellious and oppressive (Quran 16:90)
2. Smiling, being kind, and staying positive when interacting with others. This leads to mercifulness and forgiveness, which are attributes which God loves in human beings. Prophetic traditions mention that smiling is an act of charity and removing obstacles from the road is a sign of faith; others encourage people to spread good news and exchange gifts as a way of increasing love between people.
3. Lending a helping hand to those in need. Once Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was asked, “What actions are most excellent?” He answered, “To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured.”
4. Limiting social media posting. I understand the importance of sharing information on the social channels But a line needs to be drawn and it is our responsibility to understand the limits and act with accountability. It not everytime you should update your social media news feed with trending events. Sometimes it pays to keep mute.
However, I whole heartedly believe, and I have seen, that a better, more tolerant, more accepting world can only be possible if we firstly understand the people who inhabit it.
Zaynab Tyty Quadri