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Muslim Aid Blog

New Year's Resolutions: A Different Perspective

With every New Year comes the opportunity of a fresh start, a new beginning - transformations to be made; resolutions to be kept; poor habits to be changed.

Some of the most popular resolutions for New Year include losing weight, saving money or ticking things off personal bucket lists. Many of us use this opportunity as a time of reflection to realise what we aren’t doing enough of and should be doing more of. So, this year, instead of looking at things from a singular perspective, why not look at the bigger picture and vow to do something for someone else this time, instead? Maybe you can choose to volunteer your time for a good cause or do something towards helping the homeless – whether this is through provisions for everyday life or helping them get off the streets.

Across the world and even closer to home on our very own doorstep, there are many millions of people struggling to survive the blisteringly cold winter months. They are without homes and without sufficient food, water or warm clothing will be suffering as the winter months draw in.

A huge number of those living rough include the elderly and children; many of these are vulnerable due to age and circumstance and sadly, a large number of these may not make it through the worst of these winter nights.

Life Goals

From the comfort of our own cosy living rooms, fully equipped with fireplaces, central heating, hot water bottles, blankets and all the other luxuries we often tend to overlook, it is hard to believe that so many are struggling without even the bare necessities, just around the corner from us or further afield.

Doing something good for others earns many benefits such as self-fulfilment and contentment whilst reaping countless rewards at the same time. We all find ourselves looking for ways that could simplify processes in life in an attempt to make things more convenient; yet what we often fail to see is that perhaps we already have far more than what we need in comparison to many millions out there who don’t even have what they need to survive.

Why We Need your Help

There are many people all over the world that will be suffering this winter. Whether they are in the towns and cities close by or further afield, our helping the homeless Warm Hearts campaign is there to help them through. Help us distribute essential, life-saving fuel, hygiene kids and food packs to those who need it most.

So this New Year, instead of vowing to improve your own life for the better, why not make a promise to change someone else’s? Donate to Muslim Aid’s Warm Hearts Winter Campaign and join us in our bid to helping the homeless make it through the winter to see in the New Year.

  • 6 Sep 2018 update What Is Life Like For The Rohingya Left Behind In Myanmar?

    One year on from the Rohingya crisis, Kawsar Zaman visits Myanmar to witness life for the Rohingya children left behind. 

    This Saturday 25 August marks 1 year on from the start of the mass exodus of the Rohingya people who fled violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, across the border to Bangladesh. The refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, now home to more than 900,000 people, have been constantly in the international news. However, there are still half a million Rohingya people remaining in camp-like situations in Kachin, Kayan, Shan and Rakhine states. So, what is life like for the Rohingya left behind? 

    Kawsar Zaman, a lawyer in the City of London and a Trustee for the charity Muslim Aid, has just returned from Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, Myanmar. Kawsar grew up in a council home, in the East End of London. As the youngest of seven siblings, he was the first in his family to go to university, ending up graduating from LSE, Oxford and Harvard Law School. Following his recent visit, Kawsar gives us an insight into life for Rohingya children still inside Myanmar.

    I have just returned from Myanmar on a visit to camps which are home to displaced Rohingya people in Rakhine State, Myanmar – a people described by the United Nations as “most persecuted minority in the world”. Since the outbreak of communal violence in 2012, over a million of the Rohingya community have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh with a 200,000 remaining in Rakhine State; confined to makeshift camps they have called home for six years.

    It was my first visit to the heart of a crisis and I walked along improvised streets beaten by the monsoon rain and lined with tents. For me, the most harrowing experience of all was the sight of children walking bare feet, without any clothes, looking for something to do. And yet, these are children who should be at school. This conflict was not the making or the result of their doing but they now suffer the fate of no access to education and in turn, the prospect of a life in a vicious circle of poverty. 

    I met Abdullah in a camp we visited. He was only 10 years old; but looked much older, perhaps brought on by the stresses and strain of living in the camp. His father had passed away and he was left alone with his younger sibling to support his mother. He had no education and was not in school. However, Abdullah told me he wanted to be a doctor when he grew up.  

    I grew up in disadvantage – in a council home, in the East End of London. As the youngest of seven siblings, I was the first in my family to go to university. I ended up graduating from LSE, Oxford and Harvard Law School. Today, as a lawyer practicing in the City of London, as a governor at a secondary state comprehensive school in Bethnal Green and a trustee of Toynbee Hall, I know the power of schooling to transform lives. Education is the greatest liberating force of our generation.  

    According to data published by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 263 million children and youth worldwide are missing out on the chance to go to school, with conflict being a major barrier to education.  Globally, 35% of all out-of-school children of primary age (22 million), 25% of all out-of-school adolescents of lower secondary age (15 million), and 18% of all out-of-school youth of upper secondary age live in conflict-affected areas (26 million).

    I became a trustee of Muslim Aid UK nine months ago. At 28, I believe I am the youngest trustee of any major British INGO. I live a fairly comfortable life as a lawyer so it was an opportunity I felt I had to take up -  to give back to others and share my own experiences having grown up in disadvantage. The power and opportunity to be part of a team operating in 30 countries across the world is incredible - but most importantly for me, driven by a strong sense of faith based giving, I’m proud to be part of Muslim Aid UK which supports all peoples irrespective of ones’ race, religion, colour, or creed.  

    Muslim Aid is one of only a handful of international aid agencies operating on the ground in Myanmar. It has built a hospital, provided shelter to 720 people, trained people in livelihood skills from helping them set up their own businesses – including masonry and handicraft – with a particular focus on helping vulnerable women. 

    A key focus for Muslim Aid Myanmar is on education with a vision to improve access and equality for both girls and boys in 300 learning centres and in seven temporary learning schools they have constructed, benefiting 3,250 children. Prior to these projects, most children were completely illiterate. Now many of them have school uniform, made by girls trained to sew at a Muslim Aid project, and access to toilets, showers and water when they go to school.   

    As I reflect on my visit, I cannot help but struggle with the thought of how our lives are such lotteries. Where we are born will dictate our lives and our life chances – irrespective of how hardworking or intelligent we may be. Born as a Rohingya child in Rakhine State, Myanmar in the centre of a conflict there is little prospect of you leaving a refugee camp let alone go to school. Born in London – and, you have the prospect of a good education and the opportunities to thrive at will. Globally, we have a duty to do more to eradicate child poverty and give every child the chance to go to school; for education is the greatest liberating force of our generation. It is quite frankly, the very least we can do.

    What Is Life Like For The Rohingya Left Behind In Myanmar?
    • What Is Life Like For The Rohingya Left Behind In Myanmar?
  • 31 Jul 2018 update The Importance of Qurbani

    As a parent, it is a lifelong duty to ensure your family is resilient and united. The leadership role that you play is important to teach and help children understand significant values of life.

    Qurbani is a very important time to educate your children about in order to raise their awareness of the act of giving. Sacrificing livestock has substantial meaning in Islam as the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim is what marks the very reason we sacrifice during Qurbani.

    muslim-qurbani
    • muslim-qurbani
    • The Importance of Qurbani
  • 23 Jul 2018 update Important Hajj Dates 2018

    If you are embarking on the Hajj pilgrimage this year, it is likely you already have all your travel documents in order and know when you will be arriving in Mecca. However, we thought it would be a good idea to provide a list of important dates in order to give an insight into how the Hajj pilgrimage generally plays out over the months.

    For some people the Hajj pilgrimage starts months before it ‘technically' does. Since around 3 million pilgrims undertake this pilgrimage every year, there is a conscious need to moderate the flow of Haji's in and out of the country. For that the country adapts a ‘first come, first serve' principle. The first batch to arrive is also the first one to leave after Eid ul Adha. With that in mind, below is a dated outline of how Hajj will unfold this year. We'd like to mention that these dates have been provided by the Ministry of Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

    Hajj
    9th Dhul-Hijjah 1436 (approximately Sunday, August 19th 2018)

  • 23 Jul 2018 update Frequently Asked Questions - UK

    UK Qurbani

      • Q: Is the meat Halal?

    Yes, the meat is approved by the Halaal Monitoring Committee (HMC)

      • Q: Which animal will be used for the Qurbani?

    Sheep/mutton weighing approx 17/18kg.

      • Q: When will the meat be delivered?

    Delivery will be made to the donor and beneficiary either on 3rd or 4th September 2017.

      • Q: Is the delivery charge included?

    Yes, delivery is included in the price of £150

      • Q: How is it packed and kept fresh?

    Delivery will be placed in a strong cool-box which prevents the meat from spoiling and protects it from any knocks. Independent tests have shown that the unique travel packs keep your order chilled during transit between 24 and 48 hours.

    • Q: Who are the recipients of the 1/3 of the meat given through UK Qurbani?

    Our clients are credible local partners and organisations who work with the most poorest and vulnerable people in the UK. Our beneficiaries are people from single parent families on a low income, the homeless, individuals or families who have  applied for Zakat due to financial hardships and people who have been referred to access local food banks.

      • Q: Will I receive two thirds of the meat?

    Yes, the donor will receive 2/3rds of the meat and 1/3rd will be send to a poor, needy or homeless beneficiary in the UK.

     
    • Q: What is the green colour mark on the meat?

    HMC use a green alcohol free meat marking ink which sometimes stains the meat, it is totally safe and doesn’t change the quality of the meat in anyway.

    Read more about the Programme

  • 23 Jul 2018 update Hajj Facts

    Hajj is no doubt an amazing spiritual journey that every Muslim aspires to embark on. There is an enormous amount of information associated with Hajj; most is critical to ensure that Hajj is performed not only in the best intentions but also in the correct manner. With that being said there is a ton of information related to Hajj including important Hajj facts that all Muslims should be aware of. Here we will outline a few very important details for our readers in order to get them further acquainted with this immensely important and complex ritual.

    • There are 5 pillars of Islam. Hajj is the 5th.
    • Performing Hajj is compulsory on every Muslim at least once in their life time.
    • Hajj occurs on the 8th to 12th of Dhul Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar
    • Muslims who have performed Hajj are called Hajjis. Some even add the title in front of their name to denote their accomplishment.
    • During Hajj, men are required to dress in Ehraam which is basically two pieces of white sheets they wrap themselves up with. Women are required to dress normal stay in Hijab.
    • Pilgrims stay at Mount Arafat then move to Muzdalfah and Mina where they perform the stoning ritual at the Jamaraat.
    • Mount Arafat is where Prophet Muhammad PBUH delivered his final sermon in which he preached on how men should treat women; that all Muslims are brothers and should stay united.
    • Jamaraat are three walls located in close vicinity to each other that donate the exact spot where the devil, in human form, tried to mislead Prophet Ibrahim against following Allah's instructions. Prophet Ibrahim rebuked him by throwing stones at him and he went away.
    • Millions of Muslims today follow in the same ritual and stone the 3 walls at the Jamaraat.
    • After the stoning ritual, Muslims perform Udhiya, also known as Qurbani in which they sacrifice a goat, sheep, cow or camel. The meat is distributed to the poor and the needy as well as neighbours and relatives. Many people donate their Qurbani to the poor.
    • Pilgrims perform the Tawaf Al-Wida after Hajj before heading home. Tawaf-al-Wida entails walking around the Holy Kabaa inside Masjid Al-Haram in circle 7 times.
    • Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) performed Umrah 4 times and Hajj once
    • Over 3 million pilgrims performed Hajj last year. This number is expected to grow even further this year.

    The above mentioned Hajj facts outline some of the most noteworthy and important aspects of the pilgrimage. May Allah SWT give all Muslims the opportunity to perform Hajj and all those who are embarking on Hajj this year have a safe stay and swift journey home.