5 Dollars | Diary entry

“Is Allah SWT teaching me something that I have not yet figured out”


by Zakaria Mohammad – exclusive for

As I walk down the stairs of an old Melbourne Parking Lot Building at 8:30 am, ruminating about my meeting, uttering the words I am going to use, the order I am going to put it in, the list of attendees, the aggregation of energy to fulfill my task pending and with every stride I smell the city air, digesting the atmosphere of this beautiful Friday Melbourne morning, to step outside into my world that is so close to me, it is like family. Whilst in this moment I walk out of the Parking Lot to only look up and find yet another event repeat itself, over and over again in the past three days.

Day One – The Old Man

Busy Wednesday finished just after 5 pm. Got out of the 50 odd storey building to look for a place to pray Maghrib. As a matter of fact, the city masjid was 3 blocks away, so I made the executive decision to walk as the alternative was too much of a hassle (not to mention the extra calories I can burn, lets call this Return On Investment). The city masjid is beautifully located on Jeffcott St with an amazing atmosphere, especially after the renovations but try to go there for Taraweeh during Ramadan, one word “awe-inspiring”.

After Maghrib on my way out of the masjid, I caught a glimpse of an old man, standing inside and asking for charity from oncoming worshippers leaving the masjid. This old man was dressed in white traditional clothes, a bit wrinkled, looked like an Afghan and reminded me of a familiar face from my childhood. Anyway, I take out my wallet and what do I find. Nothing. Nada. Niente. Not even a cent! In this world of paperless transactions I to am a contributor of such a movement. Why? Here is a perfectly situated occurrence when and where paperback currency is needed but my wallet is high almighty dry. What am I doing wrong? I quickly came to the realization why all the worshippers were passing him as well, it is because they were most likely in the same predicament. I felt like a fool. I felt so angry. All the way to the car the thoughts of this event did not exit my mind. I was picturing the man blaming me for not helping him. The effectuation of this situation provoked my creative thoughts to reach as far as the place he resides in and the food he eats. Even pictured his families reaction upon his return. But most of all I felt anger. Angry enough to cry. I was not angry at the occurrence of what just conspired before my eyes and my physical being but the anger was directed to myself. Moreover my anger rose with every block I walked due to the fact that I could not locate a single ATM. What happened to them all? Did they vanish out of existence?

Day 2 – The Homeless Sleeper

Thursday night, I went out for dinner/meeting in the city, again. It seems my life are the cities of Australia, but I would not have it any other way. After dinner concluded I excused myself as I had to get home to read to my daughters before they go to sleep. A habit that should exist in every parent.

Walking back to the car park I saw a man sleeping with no blanket to cover him, just a thin sheet on the concrete floor supporting him as a mattress and his goodies around him. These events only happen in the movies so why is it happening to me in reality? Is Allah SWT teaching me something that I have not yet figured out. Yesterday’s event and now this however my sub-conscience somehow blocked it out. The lights and the glitters of this world are so overwhelming that we neglect to open our eyes to see what is right in front of us in reality. We now work with a 10, 20 and 30 year plan but fail to realize that the unpredictability of life might mean that those plans may not come to actuality. The factor of life is the variable that can not be determined.

Again, scouring through my wallet, my pockets, my bags and nothing. Deja Vu. Not even a cent. 2 Days in a row. No ATMS so maybe I can help this guy out, maybe buy a coffee. Nothing. And how do I pay for my parking, with a credit card that’s how. I arrived home home to find that my daughters are gone to sleep but they left a message on my bedside “Daddy, please kiss us when you get home”. I love those notes. Made me smile and I felt like all the work I am doing for them is worth it. So I go do as per the note and I put the note in a special draw (the draw needs another diary entry). I hop into my son’s bed as he wanted to talk and I started to tell him about my recent events. He turns around and tells me “Dad, why don’t you just carry money in your wallet all the time. It doesn’t have to be much, just enough so it does not make your wallet bulky.” A 9 year old kid is telling me what to do. Subhan Allah, is this a lesson for me which is coming from my son? I asked “How old are you?” with a quick “Sure baby, I will do that inshallah.” Tucked him into his bed and turned in for the night.

Day 3 – Back to where it all started

This morning I asked my wife if she had any money on her and she said I have 5 dollars but she needs it. I asked her to take whatever amount from the bank but give me this 5 dollars because recently I have been needing cash on the run. She did not understand what I was saying and I did not explain so we just carried on. She gave me the 5 dollars and we were on our way. School runs, lunches, dressing the kids, you name it we got it.

OK, back to today. So I get out of the Car Park and I am confronted with the same event that happen last night and the night before. But in a different form.

This time it is a lady sleeping outside the Parking Lot. WHAT! 3 Days in a row. How bad are we getting? This event with this lady brings me back to reality yet I am the one this message is calling out too. As I walk pass I’m still turning my head and looking and looking and looking. My feelings take over me, as to say look at it and do something about it. Yet I’m a man who is walking into a business appointment doing something big felt so small. Emotions ran wild, I make a U-turn and head back going against the peoples direction, felt like Neo from Matrix, a thousand thoughts crossed my mind whilst heading back, what will she use the money for, why are you doing this, you don’t have enough money, you have not had breakfast yet, what about your morning coffee but none of those thoughts could stop me from what I wanted to do. I went to the lady who was sleeping outside the parking lot and gave her 5 dollars. The same 5 dollars that my wife gave me, the same thing that my son advised me on, the same aspect of my life repeating on a third day to ensure that I don’t lose the opportunity to be successful.

All this so I can feel more ashamed, so I can be grounded, so I can be reminded, so I can be humiliated, so I can be pride free and so I can hear this message at the end from my son.

Allah SWT is always teaching us something, it is how open we are to be taught these lessons and sometimes these lessons can come from the one who is learning from you. Talking to him made things so much sense. Allah has given our kids so much common sense that we just bypass them and their advise at times but if we really look and listen they make total sense, yet our pressures of the world and people distract us from it.

And for that lady, what could that 5 dollars do for her, I am not sure but that was all the money I had in my wallet. When I handed it to her it took me a second to notice what she was wearing, the blanket she had on to sleep with, the food that she had, 4 pieces of bread looked like it was pecked by birds beak. The water bottle just sitting there and a little warmer for her to keep warm. It reminded me of a song back in the day called “Penny Lady”.

What are we doing to help people in our country? What are these lesson that I am learning from Allah SWT? We consider people overseas without realizing that there are people in this country and state that are homeless and on the streets. The past three days has grounded me and if it has taught me anything it has taught me this:-

“We are busy with our lifestyle concentrating on the next big thing and earning more money that are transferred from our cards, and there is nothing wrong with it however carry some money, and give it to the people who need it the most, just open your eyes and do not pass them whether good or bad, and you never know, it might be just enough for us to pass into Jannah”

We need to start helping the homeless and the needy in our country, in Australia, as well.

And most important of advise of all is don’t be ashamed if the most important advise did not come from your mentor, your parents, your grand parents, your ‘idol’ or your boss but it came from a little child.


Article is copyrighted @ 2014 by


Categories: Advice, Zakaria Mohammad

Tagged as: ,