“I have been working here for 13 years, brother” he answered when I asked how long he has been in Qatar. “I am coming from Bangladesh”. Then, story flows from what his job is, his work routine, to his accommodation and food conditions.
I rarely give a ride to a stranger, due to potential liability should there be – God forbids - accident happen, but one Saturday noon after attending Train Shutdown activities, I gave a ride to this Bangladeshi man from Ras Laffan to Al Khor. It turned out that this man is working as a cleaner in a mosque in one of the companies in Ras Laffan.
“My work routine is from Sunday to Thursday, until 3.30pm. Then on Saturday until 12noon. Friday I am off” explained him in broken English. The cleaning service company provides him with an accommodation in Al Khor Industrial Area, and food for dinner. “But the dinner is not good”. “At work I sometimes have my lunch at canteen. But only after 2pm, after lunch time for employees is over. It is actually prohibited to have a lunch at canteen. Mudhir (read: boss) gives me this”. Okay, so he gets leftover from canteen, I am trying to digest his explanation.
“My salary, sir, is only 850 riyals. Never increased since 13 years ago. “
What! I was stunned. Really stunned.
I dropped him at safe road side near Industrial Area. My driving time back to Doha then was filled with afterthought. Life is really hard. This man is hailing from as far as Bangladesh only for meagre salary and hard life. I must appreciate his endeavor.
I oftenly give an example to my kids about the unfortunate people, such as low-income workers. Not for looking them down but as a reflection, a lesson of life to be always grateful, always be kind-hearted, charitable. I frequently emphasize to my kids how education and generally competencies can make a difference, and that I can’t tolerate them like to being ignorant to school or study.
What seems to be a simple ride was giving me valuable lesson of life.
Some Islamic quotes:
“What actions are most excellent? 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.” (Bukhari)
“When you see a person who has been given more than you in money and beauty, look to those, who have been given less.” (Muslim)
“Whoever is kind, Allah will be kind to him; therefore be kind to man on the earth. He Who is in heaven will show mercy on you.”(Abu Daud: Tirmidhi)
“Allah does not look at your appearance or your possessions; but He looks at your heart and your deeds.” (Abu Huraira: Muslim)
“The perfect Muslim is not a perfect Muslim, who eats till he is full and leaves his neighbors hungry.” (Ibn Abbas: Baihaqi)