Thursday, September 29, 2011

To Smile is Charity

It’s funny how little things in life tend to make a difference, or maybe it’s just me?

See, there’s this Robot (Traffic Light) in Johannesburg that has a smiley face on it. Unlike all the other’s which just show you a blank circle when the light changes, this one has a smiley face. So when it turns green, a smiley face happily tells you that you can go.

It’s a little thing, I know, and many people might just drive by without even giving it a second thought, but for me, this traffic light is a reminder, an echo of life.

Isn’t it nice when someone smiles at you, amidst all the people that just walk by, blank expressions on their faces? That person who actually smiles tends to stand out. It should ideally be the other way around, but this is not an ideal world, unfortunately!

The Blessed Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him) taught us that even to smile at someone is charity. There is indeed such wisdom which lies behind this seemingly small teaching!

Imagine if someone is having a really bad day, going through whatever problems it may be, and you take the time to smile at her, wouldn’t that gesture make a huge difference in that person’s life, creating some sort of hope. I know that for me it’s really nice when a fellow sister smiles at me, and it’s true that when you are negative, the negative energy that you transmit can easily be picked up by others around you.

I’ll share a little story here, my own personal experience. There’s a parking attendant who stands outside a bank I often go to, helping people to find a parking spot. I always greet him, since you tend to become familiar with people you see often. When he became a Muslim he began to greet even more enthusiastically as we now shared a common faith, and he could use the greeting of peace (As salaamu alaykum). One day I was lost in thought as I got out of the car and I didn’t pay much attention to him. The poor man picked up on that immediately, and he said to me; “sister, are you angry at me, how come you didn’t greet today?” (or something to this effect) I honestly felt so bad, but it reaffirmed the fact that negativity breeds negativity, and vice versa.

See, it’s the little things in life that make a difference. Although we may think it only makes a small difference , we don’t know that it may in fact make a huge difference in someone else’s life. So we should try to smile more often,(as a good friend of mine always reminds us, to smile is charity but that doesn’t mean that women should go around smiling with the men we see, they may get the wrong idea, if you know what I mean). But, yes , by all means we should smile with our fellow sisters, and brothers should smile with fellow brothers, and for those sisters who wear niqab and cover their faces, there’s no excuse, a friendly greeting is never too difficult. Remember that we should greet those that we know and those that we do not know. This is another beautiful teaching of our Beloved Prophet (PBUH).

So let’s try to practise on these small but very significant teachings, and let us remember that it doesn’t take much to be charitable.

Image from here:


  1. ma'shaAllah! Very nice post :D

    And what a cute idea of the robot traffic light having smiles :D

    I'm smiling at ya, now :D

  2. Little Auntie

    Thanks! It is a good idea, really lifts your mood, and can even be therapeutic, especially when traffic is terrible.

    Spread the smiles, it's contagious;-)

    Stay well sister.

  3. :)

    They should do that in Dubai when everyone's in a bad mood because they've been stuck in traffic for hours

  4. Zarina, our minds might have been on the same level yesterday! How lovely it is to have a smiley traffic light!
    I agree a smile can change everything. And it makes people so beautiful, like they are shining from the inside!
    And it is easy we can all do it!

    Thanks for another lovely post Zarina. Have a blessed day and a wonderful week-end.

  5. jnana- Yes, I'm sure that this would be a nice idea to calm people down, maybe that's why they've decided to try it in Johannesburg, traffic is crazy here and the incidents of road rage are even crazier.

    Marie- A smile is indeed like light from the iniside, this is such a lovely way of putting it.

    Stay blessed and keep smiling;-)

  6. "If you haven't any charity in your heart you have the worst kind of heart trouble" to cure it
    Help people, let's unite for one good cause, be a volunteer"save live"!