If you were told you only had months to live, you’d probably think about spending your time with family, perhaps visiting a country you’ve always wanted to go to, or ticking things off a bucket list.
In 2015, Ali Banat, a millionaire from Sydney, Australia, was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors predicted he only had seven months to live.
Banat survived more than two years longer than expected, and spent that time raising money for charity.
We all get one chance in this life and when allah decides to take our soul there is no coming back. We spend more then half our lives in the bathroom and sleeping and the other half at work and waiting in traffic. We have forgotten to atleast leave something for our hereafter build a water well plant a tree donate a quran smile its also a charity anything for the sake of allah so maybe just maybe the day allah wakes us up on the day of judgement we will have something to look forward to that will help us because our family our friends and all the time we waisted in this life will only be a witness against us on the day of judgment why are we so blind why are we so asleep the worse the state of tbe muslims get around the world the more we seem yo sleep love you all for the sake of allah salam
In the years before his diagnosis, Banat lived a lifestyle which matched his wealth, surrounding himself with fast cars, expensive clothing and material possessions, but once he found out he was ill, he realised it was an opportunity for change, Indy100 reports.
After finding out he had cancer, Banat immediately sold his business and travelled to Togo, Africa, a country where more than half of the population live below the poverty line.
Moved by his journey and what he saw in the country, Banat, who is Muslim, decided to use his money to build a Masjid (a place of religious worship) as well as a school for local children.
Ali then established a project called Muslims Around The World (MATW), a non-profit organisation who provide financial assistance and outreach to underprivileged Muslims.
The project’s GoFundMe page reads:
What started as a personal project has turned into a long term vision to bring joy to the smiles of children all over the world.
Muslims Around the World aims to build a village which will be home to over 200 widows, a masjid for the local community and a school to house 600 orphans. A mini hospital/medical centre and businesses to support the local community are also going to be established.
You can watch an interview with Banat, produced by OnePath Network, here:
Speaking in the film, Banat said:
I have been gifted Alhamdulillah by Allah, with cancer throughout my body and I have changed my whole life to helping people.
When asked why he would call the cancer a gift, he says:
It’s a gift because Allah has given me a chance to change.
Banat goes on to describe how his diagnosis has changed his life and opened his eyes, saying ‘everything in life, even the smallest gift, like breathing fresh air’ means more to him now.
When Banat found out he had cancer, his decision was quick and effective. He’d built a life running a successful business, which allowed him to spend money on lavish items such as $60,000 bracelets, countless Louis Vuitton shoes, watches and cars.
I got rid of my cars, I got rid of my watches. Even my clothes, I took them with me overseas and I gave them to a lot of people up there.
I wanted to try to leave this world without anything.
Banat sadly passed away earlier this week, and tributes have been pouring in ever since, with many donating to his charity, which has now raised over $1.2 million.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 8pm).
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.