"Hollywood has Batman, Superman, The Hulk, and Spiderman. Pakistan has Edhi."
By Usman Gulfaraz - September 1, 2010
What has inspired me to write about Edhi? He certainly doesn't need any more press validating his incredible efforts or work done. He already has safely locked away the hearts of some 170 million people. But yesterday I was brought to my knees by an action I witnessed that, for lack of any other descriptive word, I can only describe as 'Edhi'.
I was in a market in Karachi buying some movies. As I turned to leave for my car, I was fully ready and in anticipation of the small army of beggars I would confront before actually reaching my car. The well trained and relatively well meaning average person already has a few small notes ready in pocket to quickly disperse so as to satisfy some of the beggars, yet be quick enough to plot for a speedy getaway. I too was ready.
As I made my way, a few kids and some adults quickly made their way towards me. I took out three 20 rupee bills and handed them to the three that looked most dressed for the part. 60 rupees and a satisfied conscience later, I reached my car, and quickly got into it. Of course, I still had to wait for a friend who was still in the store. While waiting, a young man no older than 18 years came to my window. He spoke through the raised window with just a loud enough voice that I could make out what he was saying. It started off relatively standard. He told me that he isn't a beggar, but that he is genuinely very hungry and hasn't eaten anything all day. He went on to say that he does get daily wages for work he does on a construction site, and that today had just been a bad day for him of no work, and hence no money. He was good. Very good. I was sold. In fact, I was more then sold. I was suddenly very sad. I concluded that I had to help him however I could. The irony is, I am the farthest thing from being a ‘good’ man. This is no reverse psychology. I am truly, incredibly average. I went into my pocket, however, to take out some change, and the only thing I had left was a 500 rupee note. By anyone's measure, that is a lot of money to give to any beggar. As I mentioned, I’m not a noble man, and I don't pretend to make a habit of it. I guess he was just good enough at the moment, and I was weak enough at the moment to give the whole 500 to him. His eyes practically popped out of his sockets when he saw the note, and in excitement, he accepted it and showered the usual blessings on me. He went away to the little hotel right next to where we were. I could see him get a bun kebab sandwich and a drink that must have together cost about 85 rupees.
While I was waiting for my friend, I saw him walk to the next store, where outside there was a collection stand for Edhi. You have already anticipated what I'm going to say. That young hungry man put the remaining money he had into Edhi's drop box for the Flood Relief fund. I couldn't believe what I saw. I quickly got out of the car and called the young man over to me.
I asked him why he just did what he did. I also told him that I had given him that money because he himself was poor and he didn't need to do that. He told me, burger and drink in hand, that his countrymen were under water, and that the only man that could help them was Edhi. He said his hunger was now satisfied, and that he was confident of having paid work the next day, and so he was ok. He went on to say that he was a dumb and helpless person, who couldn't help anyone even if he knew how, but that Edhi would find a way. He smiled at me, chomped on his burger, and walked away.
I was destroyed. I can't remember the last time I felt the way I did. I just sat back in my car.
My friend came back, got in the car, looked at me, put on some music, and we drove away. I didn't mention what I just saw. It was pointless. It was just the moment in itself and it didn't need rewinding.
As I left the market, I couldn't get Edhi out of my mind. What level of reliable kindness does it take for an incredibly poor and hungry soul to give away his lion’s share of money and put it into the care of a man he's never met? More importantly, how powerful a name does one have to have, in a country where names are easily trampled on, that an unprotected drop box miles away from Edhi himself satisfied this young man's trust enough to blindly drop that money into it. Such is the power of this thin, fragile, 80 year old man who lives with his equally kind hearted wife in one tiny room of one of his charity centers. With a body that can hardly move a small table, this man has moved an entire nation. I would thank Edhi for all that he has done if thanking him was enough. I would recommend the Nobel prize for Edhi if that could sum it up. I would do this if I could. I would do that if I could. In truth however, none of it would matter to him. None whatsoever. And that is what makes him so great.
What is Edhi Foundation?
Edhi foundation is the most trusted name in Pakistan when it comes to relief work within distressed areas in Pakistan and the rest of the world.Edhi foundation is a NON Profit organization that has been in the business of providing social services like medical care, emergency services, air ambulances, burial services, mental habitats, old homes, child welfare services, abused women safe houses and training facilities for the disadvantaged..Edhi's founder is Abdul Sattar Edhi who established the first clinic in 1951.
This poor man gave away all he had for those in need; an example of Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu). How many are willing to be Umar (radhiallahu anhu) and donate half of what they have.