1. To my daughters

bimbe mie

Children must know that money is not only useful just to buy things.

In any amount that is given to us, there is a share that is for the poor.

A person who has some money is responsible to give away a little of it to someone who needs it. Certainly, it should not be the other way around, where the poor gives to the rich and gets poorer while the rich get richer.

The most beautiful thing in being wealthy is not to be able to buy whatever one wishes for but rather to be able to give away some money in order to alleviate the difficulties of someone who is in need.

You should be careful and try not to swallow up the share of the poor because if someone will be hungry somewhere in the world, it might be because you ate it.

A Sufi saint had separated himself from men and started living in a desert. One day he came across a prosperous garden set amongst arid land and sand dunes. There was no well and no spring that provided water for the field of wheat and for the vegetables, and he marveled because as we all know, without water nothing grows in the desert. While this thought was going through his mind, a cloud passed over the garden and he heard a thundering voice saying: “Stop here and pour your water over this garden!” and it started to rain on the garden until every plant and every inch of land had drank to its full.

The Sufi saint marveled and decided to wait for the owner of the garden so that he could know the explanation of this miraculous event. When the farmer came he interrogated him and said “My brother, I heard a thundering voice ordering to a cloud to water your garden, what is the reason for this miracle, are you a hidden saint, a friend of God?”

The farmer invited him in the garden, and offered him food and mint tea under the shades, then answered his question: “I am certainly not a saint and neither a humble disciple of a noble master, but I divide all my crop into three parts. The first one I keep for my family, the second one I keep to emanate the new crop and the third one I give to the orphans, to the needy, to those of them who ask and to those of them who do not ask. When my garden needs watering an angel orders the clouds to stop and pour rain over it.”

Children should know that when they will be able to earn money, if they make a pact with God for a third of their earning, or for a fifth, or for any small quantity that they find easy to give away to the poor and needy, they will become like the hand of God on earth that consoles the destitute, rejoices the hungry and warms up the homeless.

And if one day you should be poor yourself, there will always be someone to help you and there will always be someone more needy than yourself that you will be able to help. But when you have really nothing to give away, then give a smile.
The truth is that there is enough to eat for everyone on earth, and if someone is hungry somewhere in the world it is because someone else somewhere has eaten his share.

composizione3

So, when Aladdin and I have build a shop to sell our perfumes on internet, complete with street indications for the people to find it, with wide parking for many visitors and with all the shelves arrayed and full with a good cashier at the exit that accepts credit card, we sold so many perfumes that the box containing the share of the poor became heavy.

Then happened the earthquake in Kashmir that destroyed so many homes and killed so many people. It was then that we understood that this money had been given to us for these people and we decided to go and to spend it in order to help them in the best possible way.

So, I called Fatima’s grand dad (Daud Shah) by telephone, and told him that I wanted to come to Islamabad to help the homeless people of Kashmir and he replied: “Please come and be my guest, I shall do my best to help you”.

Afterwards I telephoned Princess Tehzib and she told me: “Abdussalaam come please, there is an immense need, the hospitals are full of wounded and sick people, and my family helps everyday in curing the people who are in the hospital”.

Then I thought to also bring some perfumes to help the sick and I selected Anti-Sharks and Bocciolino for skin problems, pepper mint, ginger and pine for cold sicknesses, Lavender which is good for everything and rose to offer to my old friends (Fatima’s grand dad, Princess Tehzib, the daughter of the Sheikh of Bahawalpur and others) when I met them again.

Bajee Nasseem, the wife of Fatima’s grand dad asked me to also bring some perfumes for her to use for aromatherapy in her beauty saloon, and told me: “bring whatever you like, you will have no problem with our customs, someone will take you through”.
So I also took essences of Grapefruit, Ylang Ylang and Chamomilla in order to make luminous the face of Islamabad ladies.

The plane left Roma and landed in Lahore before proceeding towards Islamabad. When we all got off the plane there was a policeman who was waiting for me with a signboard in his hands written “Mr. Abdu Salam”. He asked me my passport and he made me pass ahead of everyone. Then the chief of customs arrived and he invited me to offer Fajr prayers in his office. After I was done with prayers, he got tea and biscuits served for me, and also arranged for my suitcase.

Then they accompanied me to the plane for Islamabad. When I arrived there, I met Fatima’s grandfather (retired colonel Daud Shah) at the airport and I told him “you are retired but I see that you still command”. He laughed and told me “this car (Pajero) is at your disposal with its driver Riaz”.

So, I went on the Pajero with Riaz to buy all the clothes that I would need to stay here because my suitcase was so full of perfumes that I did not bring any dress except the one I was wearing.

driver

After getting dressed in the manner I like, we went to visit the refugee camp of the Kashmiri people in Islamabad. The camp is very big, there are more than 10 000 tents in it and it is divided in many quarters like a city.

tende campo

Each quarter of 300 to 400 tents is organized by one of the many organizations that have come there to help the people after the earthquake. There is “Muslim Aid” of brother Yussuf Islam and “Islamic Relief” where brother Ciccarello works in Italy. There are organizations from all over the Muslim world and also from Europe. In each quarter there is a playing area for children, a kinder garden tent, a medical tent with doctors, a mosque tent, a community center tent for meeting and watching television, a tent where women and children learn the use of sewing machines and several other tents where there are all the necessary things for cooking meals.

We went to visit the camp of Yussuf Islam and a student working for free as a volunteer helper showed us around and explained the situation to us.

bimbe sarte

All the people living in the mountains were invited to come to Islamabad to spend the winter, here where there is no snow and the weather is less cold. They have food in abundance and warm blankets to protect them from the winter nights. There is no heating in the tents but now winter is at the end here and would soon also be in the Kashmiri mountains. In fact, as soon as the next month arrives, all the people will go back to their own place where temporary shelters are right now being mounted for them. When they will be back there, the Pakistani government and the relief agencies will provide them with all the materials they need to build new houses and some money for daily living. The government has been very generous and has given money to all the wounded and to all the families who had someone killed.

I have understood that there is no need for me in Islamabad because everyone was taken care of and had sufficient food, clothing, medicine, and a tent.

I shall have to have to travel to Muzaffarabad in order to find those who need help the most. This brought me back to remember the old times of my youth 13 years ago when the Green Brothers realized the Tepee Green Project to bring blankets to the refugees from Indian Kashmir, with the help of Princess Tehzib and her friends.

 

 

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