Monday, 3 September 2007

Great Scottish Run, Philanthropy, Social Justice

Thought for the Day - BBC Radio Scotland – Monday 3rd September 2007
Amanullah De Sondy

The Great Scottish 10K and half marathon run attracted over 20,000 participants yesterday in Glasgow. I was one of those running the half marathon for the third year in a row. The feeling of excitement and nervousness was there on everyone’s faces and the smiles and cheering of those who lined the streets was a welcome show of support. Runners were competing for all sorts of good causes, I lost count at the number of charities that were being supported, Cancer Research, Oxfam, WaterAid, Islamic Relief are just a few of the worthy causes.

As I ran through the great sights and streets of Glasgow I felt this warm feeling of unity and comradery between my fellow runners and supporters. It made me think how the Great Scottish Run could offer us a wider message. That great things can be achieved when we act together. If there was a way of harnessing all that determination and energy think how we could alleviate some of the biggest problems we are faced with today, poverty, global warming and social injustice, just to name a few. These are concerns that we all have, regardless of race, gender or religion.

The three great monotheistic religions have clear ideas on giving. Whether it be the concept of Zakat in Islam, Tsedaka in Judaism, Caritas in Christianity or just plain old love and generosity we all have something to motivate us to work together on these issues. Maybe its time to put words into action. In the Qur’an, God commands the believers to pray to Him but interestingly this command is most often associated with Zakat, the giving of a compulsory charity to those least well off. For me this indicates that mere beliefs and convictions are not good enough in the eyes of God. A well known saying of the Prophet Muhammad springs to mind in which he says, "Indeed, an ignorant man who is generous is dearer to God than a worshipper who is miserly."

Maybe if we acted together to overcome these global problems the race will be longer but the rewards will be greater.

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