Ali Banat, an Australian Muslim millionaire who considered himself famous for being “endowed with cancer” and, in turn, gifted his wealth to the less fortunate, died on May 29, 2018. He was 32 years old.
Banat, a millionaire businessman in Sydney, was first diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in 2015. Upon receiving this terrible news, his doctors said he could only hope to live for a few more months, not even a year. God, however, had other plans.
Banat went on to live another three years. In that time he changed his life, a change he credited to God for blessing him with cancer, opening his eyes to the true meaning of life. He was given the opportunity to live his last days to please God and to serve others, instead of being obsessed with lush life and selfishness.
Once consumed with spending and exhibiting his wealth – Banat boasted extravagant cars, expensive jewelry and high-quality fashion items – he was inspired to donate all his considerable wealth and said that his aim was to leave his worldly life without material possessions.
With an uncertain future ahead of him and inspiration from God to do great works of charity while he still had the chance, Banat dedicated what was left of his life to the service of others. He established the Muslims Around the World Project as a vehicle for his and others’ philanthropic giving. He focused his mission on giving Africa, in particular Togo, West Africa, traveling to meet the needy and helping to build mosques, a medical center, villages and a school for hundreds of orphans.
Serving and helping orphans in need is especially beneficial to Muslims, particularly for the benefit they will gain in the afterlife. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“I AND THE ONE WHO CARES FOR AN ORPHAN WILL BE SO IN PARADISE”, SHOWING HIS MIDDLE FINGER AND INDICATOR AND SEPARATING THEM. [SAHIH BUKHARI]
This saying, or Hadith, of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ demonstrates how important it is for Muslims to be kind and to care for orphans, showing that, if they do, they will be close to him in heaven. But it was not just good works in his life that Banat aspired to. He encouraged others to join him in his charitable works, so that they too could benefit from his good deeds in this life and in the afterlife.
Ali Banat, after only seven months of life by doctors in 2015, he launched the charity project “Muslims around the world” to help the less fortunate in Africa.
Ali Banat, after just seven months of life by doctors in 2015, launched the charity project “Muslims around the world” to help the less fortunate in Africa.
Before his death, Banat said:
“DURING YOUR LIFE, TRY TO HAVE A GOAL, A PLAN, A PROJECT FOR WHICH YOU WORK. EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT DOING IT PERSONALLY AND ARE FINANCING OTHER PEOPLE’S PROJECTS, JUST DO SOMETHING. ”
In encouraging others to follow his lessons, Banat was living the example of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, who said:
“The rewards of good deeds that will reach a believer after his death are: Knowledge that he taught and spread; a righteous child that he leaves behind; a copy of the Qur’an he leaves behind as a legacy; a mosque he built; a house he built for travelers; a channel he dug; or charity that he gave during his life when he was in good health. These actions will reach you after your death ”[Ibn Majah].
This kind of lasting reward is unique to Islam and indicates God’s great mercy to those who submit to Him. Inspired and encouraged by Banat’s legacy, Muslims around the world have taken advantage of this merciful gift from God by making their own contributions to the Banat’s MATW project. In fact, more than $ 1 million Australian dollars have been donated to the cause, ensuring that your donors will be blessed with the rewards of your charitable donations, even after they die.
The last years of Banat and the lasting legacy are unquestionably inspiring. It serves as an example of God’s beautiful mercy and how even an interrupted life can be a life well spent if used in worshiping God and serving others.