There was a time not a very long ago that I found myself penniless.
Well not literally.
Let's just say that I was terribly broke. My financial situation was so at stake that I had to cut my meals and I survived on only plain water and oatmeal biscuits each day. Although at the time I earned quite a lot as a student, I just could not explain where most of my money went. At the end of the day, all I knew was that my savings were almost empty, if it wasn't for the withdrawal limit set by the banks.
I wasn't very much a shopper at that time. In fact, I hardly shop at all. Therefore it puzzled me greatly about where my money have gone. All I knew was that I always told myself that I was always out of cash every time I spent some of it.
Seeking a solution to it, I started to look around for some pro and semi-pro financial advisors. I met three of them, and two of them even started with balancing my ledgers and everything just to track my expenses, while the other came out with a financial and budget planning to ensure that by the end of the month I will still have some savings left.
But the effort still didn't amuse me much. I still thought that I was going to run out of cash at the end of the day. I still thought that the amount left at the end of the day was not enough for me; in fact it was a critical scarcity that it scared the shit out of me whenever I thought of it right before I went to sleep every night. It seemed that I needed a lot more, and the amount I made was never going to support me healthily. Too many things to buy, too little cash to spend.
All of these worrying stopped once I met an old man last September.
He was indeed a mysterious, strange old man. I still remember the day I met him; it was some time in the middle of one rainy night, where I was at the local 7-Eleven outlet here in Tronoh to buy some cigarette and coffee to occupy my sleepless night (I was seriously losing a lot of sleep that time). He was standing at one of the shoplot's pillar, dressed in a clean, long white robe and a white turban - a local dress usually worn for praying, which was odd because the time was already past 12am and hardly nobody prays at that time except for additional, optional prayers that are usually done individually.
In his hand was this cool-looking, long, black walking stick.
He approached me, who was at the time staring far into the rain and was about to light a cigarette, and asked me for a stick of cigarette and a lighter. Oh what the hell, I said. It's just a cigarette anyway, so I gave him with much respect. We lighted our cigarette and stared into the pitch darkness, not a word was spoken.
I finished my cigarette soon after and killed the flaming butt. Just right before I left, he tapped on my shoulder, causing me to turn around and looking at him.
"Young man," he said. "Thank you for the cigarette. This is what you just did with some of your belongings today, and it is a good thing."
"In this world," he continued, " there are many people who are needy. Therefore don't forget to help these people regardless of their religion, beliefs and culture. Help them, and you shall be helped."
He finished smoking and pat on my shoulder one more time.
"Now, go back."
I nodded to him and turned around to walk to my car. When I unlocked and entered the car, he was no longer at where I left him just now. In fact, he was nowhere to be found at all.
I had a fever for two days straight following the incident.
* * *
Although he made me almost shit in my pants, I did follow his advice.
Every month after that, I donated a few portion of my income to those who need it. I gave the appropriate portion to each of them, and I just left, no more thinking about it. I fed the cats I found around the campus compounds whenever I had the food. I kept a pot of small, odd-looking plant at my window, and I still have it right in front of me now.
And the cats I fed were sleeping outside after quite a meal I gave them just now.
And slowly, my income just got sufficiently enough each month. In fact, I no longer run out of cash, and I do not even need to call my mom for financial support like I used to. Even more magical, no matter how much I spend my saving, it just doesn't seem to decrease much at all. My worries disappeared and I just couldn't help but to sleep so soundly each night. Suddenly, I have enough money for everything.
* * *
"The best charity is to satisfy a hungry person," said Prophet Muhammad SAW. He also said, "no wealth (of a servant of Allah) is decreased because of charity."Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 2247.
Whoever that old man was, God bless you.