Having a ‘Heart of Charity’ is part of the development of the Muslim identity. As such, we may find ourselves actively seeking out opportunities to have a positive impact in our communities and respective environments. However, saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity can begin to have a negative toll on our physical and mental health and well-being. If we dedicate too much of our lives to helping others, we may not be in a position to help our own families and ourselves.

If you ever travel on an airplane, the safety lesson before take-off directs passengers to, in the event of an emergency, put an oxygen mask on ourselves FIRST before helping others – if not, we may lose consciousness and not be able to help anyone. This analogy can be applied to a life of charity as well: if we don’t take care of ourselves FIRST then we won’t be in a position to help others at all. So, we should never feel bad about saying ‘no’ when we need to.

The key? Having a balanced approach to helping others and this balance is not always 50/50. Rather, a person may dedicate 60% of their time to themselves, 25% to their families and 15% to friends and the community or any variations thereof.