Let’s think back to a prominent story of 2018. The story of brother Ali Banat. A young Australian businessman, living a lavish lifestyle who turned to philanthropy after his diagnosis of cancer.
He was told he had only seven months left, being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, but was blessed with another 3 year. In this time, he focussed on redistributing his wealth and helping the less fortunate.
He went on to set up ‘Muslims Around The World’, a charity aimed at “providing financial assistance and outreach to those in need”. His projects were aimed at helping people in a number of countries including Togo, Ghana, and Burkina Faso.
The MATW project is still running today- helping less fortunate Muslims all around the globe.
To make sure that his organisation, MATW, was run in good hands, Ali visited various countries in Africa himself and worked hard to find sponsors, to see that 100% of the donations would go into the project and not be divided with administrative fees.
With the money collected, MATW aimed at building villages for over 200 widows, a mosque, a school that would house 600 orphans, a mini-hospital/medical centre, as well as businesses to support the local community.
Ali was faced with the challenge of cancer, but was able to use it as a gift, to open his eyes to the blessing of life, making the most of the time he had left by dedicating it to the wellbeing of others. MashaAllah!
For Banat, his cancer was his blessing because it brought him closer to Allah and his mankind. May God, indeed, give him better than what he prayed for, for himself and others.
“So during your life brothers and sisters just try to have a goal, try to have a plan that you work towards. Even if it’s not you personally funding it, and you are funding someone else’s projects just do something because Wallah you are going to need it on the Day of Judgement,” he said.
The world learned many things from his story, 5 of which are listed below:
- Life is a gift of trial: Many of us do not realise the value of our lives, the air we breathe without oxygen mask and agility to walk on our feet. These are taken for granted and little thanks do we give. To brother Ali, cancer was a gift because Allah gave him a chance to change and repent. He devoted the rest of his life in the service of Allah and the benefit of humanity. We should see life as a precious gift and make best use of it. While we still breathe, we still have the chance to right our wrongs.
- Embrace a positive lifestyle amidst the negativity: When the news reached him of having cancer, he never blamed Allah saying why me. He accepted his fate with a positive psyche— a gift from Allah, which it truly was. With all the pains, Ali would still travel to Africa to spend time with orphan kids. He built wells to provide portable water to poverty stricken communities. He said those deeds brought joy to his heart as he sees the kids with smile on their faces. There was nothing happier to him than that.
- The pursuit of of this world will not earn you a share of the hereafter: The wealth we strive to hoard will be of no good to man save for the one which is spent in the cause of Allah. This beloved brother was a successful business man. He sold his business investments and gave up his flamboyant lifestyle in pursuit of the hereafter. He got rid of his cars, jewelries and clothes in charity to the needy. In his words: “I wanna leave this world without anything”. How much do we keep pursuing this world, yet it remains a fading shadow which we will never meet.
- Prepare for meeting your Lord anytime: Aisha reported, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever would love to meet Allah, then Allah would love to meet him. Whoever would hate to meet Allah, then Allah would hate to meet him.” This great brother was prepared for his meeting with his Lord. He would sometimes visit the graveyard to remind himself he will soon be coming to the land of the dead. He denounced all of his luxurious life in trade for Allah’s pleasure and mercy. The question that comes to mind is: if death comes to one of us now, how prepared are we for the reckoning?
- Establish a legacy that will live after you: Before his death, Mr. Banat was blessed with the opportunity to leave the world as a better place. He’s been able to put a smile on millions of faces and has inspired many of us to do the same. His charity project has raised over 1.2 million USD with supports received globally. Muslims Around the World aims to build a village which will be home to over 200 widows. A mosque has already been put in place for the local community and a school to house 600 orphans. In view is a mini medical center and business establishments to support the local residents. You can also join this goodwill legacy by donating here. What legacy are you working on leaving when you’re gone?