By Pervez Saleem
“Sometimes we are fooled by appearances. In my opinion, we should never be sorry if we later discover that we were mistaken while doing a good deed. The need to help should be our first reaction and offering help should be the genuine manifestation of being a good human as our parents taught us to be. Sometimes, we may discover we helped the wrong person, but that should not be a reason to stop helping other people in need, even though we were fooled previously. If you want to do good there are opportunities everywhere. Don’t let the fools spoil your good heart.”
“We may be comfortably living in our apartments or houses. We may not be getting affected by hunger during this time of despair. But there are so many people out there who may not have eaten a proper meal in the last few days. The turmoil caused by the COVID 19 pandemic is playing havoc in the lives of millions of people from all around the world. We are all in this together. We all can do our bit. Let’s feed the hungry and help the less fortunate among us. Together we can make this world a better place.”
Naveed Masih is a true and positive face of humanity on the streets of Lahore, Pakistan.
As Muslims in Pakistan celebrated the Eid al-Adha festival, Naveed Masih set out in his rickshaw looking for homeless people sheltered under a bridge of the Lahore Metro bus service. “The Bible says help each other,” reads a banner depicting a Bible emblazoned on the rear of the Christian’s rickshaw. At the Anarkali station, he found Abdul Aziz, a rag picker, sleeping on the footpath with a worn-out plastic sack serving as a blanket. Naveed handed him new clothes and a hygiene kit while a team member who is a professional barber took over, shaving his head and trimming his beard. “It’s a service for Allah,” Masih told Aziz as he helped him take a quick bath on the roadside, pouring water from a jerry can. This went on for some 30 minutes before Aziz was handed a packet of Pakistan’s popular biryani.
This is the first time in years I was treated like a human
Aziz thanked Naveed and his friends for the new clothes and clean look. “This is the first time in years I was treated like a human. My brothers took over my property. I can do any kind of manual labor,” he told UCA News. Naveed Masih and his three friends have been taking care of the homeless including drug addicts and the mentally challenged found living on the streets of Lahore since 2019.
Ironically, it was a personal tragedy that set this Pakistani Christian on his humanitarian mission. In 2014, Naveed was refused an ambulance to carry the body of his deceased father from a government hospital. “I requested the medical superintendent of Lahore Services Hospital several times. The ambulance was standing right in front of my eyes. I was told that it is reserved for protocol. Not for people like me,” he recalled. He later hired the Edhi Foundation’s ambulance service, available across Pakistan and known for being more efficient than state-run services. Abdul Sattar Edhi, the Muslim man behind this initiative, was honored by bishops as the “Pakistani Good Samaritan” in church services across the country after his death in 2016. He has helped more than 40 people, most of them elderly, so far and has been featured on news and web channels.
I have dedicated Sundays and Fridays for the footpath mission. Both are sacred for Christians and Muslims. However, faith is incomplete without social work.
Naveed Masih said he decided to follow in the footsteps of the famous philanthropist. “Humanity is the greatest religion. People should be honored while they are still alive,” he said. In 2017, he bought a rickshaw and started offering free transport to those who could not afford to rent it. He would drive his rickshaw for six hours in the evening after finishing his morning shift as a sanitary worker. “I have dedicated Sundays and Fridays for the footpath mission. Both are sacred for Christians and Muslims. However, faith is incomplete without social work,” said the 33-year-old father of two, who attends a home-based Pentecostal church. He also has plans to help street dwellers run small businesses.
That’s beauty of giving back and helping. You don’t need to be a multi-millionaire to make a difference. All you need is a true desire to make life better for others and the will to follow it through. Go out into the world and do good until there is too much good in the world. The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving. Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness. At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished… it’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.
Naveed Masih is a inspiration to all of us. Let’s pray for him that God Almighty gives him more courage, dedication and resources to help poor, needy and homeless in Pakistan.