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UPDATE (5) | Action Alert! Fundraising Appeal for Pakistan Floods

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Update (5) Al Maghrib & Islamic Relief Fundraiser

Updated on Friday, 27th August, 2010
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQBmywF7LX4[/youtube]

Update(4) Send relief packs to Pakistan free of charge!

Friday, 27th Aug, 2010:

One of the countless Pakistani citizens who’re working day and night for the flood relief efforts is Fakhre-Alam, a young celebrity known well in the nation. Previously, he’d spearheaded a prolonged and effective relief campaign for the earthquake victims in 2005. Now, he joins Pakistan’s national airline, PIA, to bring focused and effective relief for the millions who’re awaiting help.

This video has been made especially for people residing abroad, who want to help with the relief campaign on the ground. PIA, the national carrier, has declared it will ship to Pakistan free of cost any donations that people abroad want to send for the flood victims. Watch the video to learn more:

The List:

  1. Get a box (from PIA? Or otherwise?) 12 x 15 x 15
  2. A white sheet
  3. Two 1.5 liters mineral water (not more, not less)
  4. 12 packs of any juices WITH straw
  5. Box of salty biscuit
  6. Two boxes of sweet biscuits (1 big, 1 small)
  7. Box of chocolates
  8. Milk carton (1-1.5 liters) expiration not soon
  9. Potato chips bag
  10. Soap bars (2-4)
  11. Box of dates
  12. ORS (dehydration-prevention supplement- pedialyte)
  13. Disposable cups

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCNomdB6V0U[/youtube]

Update (3) Donate Sleeping bags via Zakat.org

The Zakat Foundation is collecting sleeping bags, amongst other relief activities, to donate for Pakistan:

Dear Brother/Sister:

As Salamu Alaikum and Ramadan Mubarak!

As you all know, massive floods have hit Pakistan. It is the worst flood in Pakistan’s history.
More than 20 million people and 62,000 square miles of area(1/5 of the country) have been
affected. More than 1,500 people are dead.

Zakat Foundation (zakat.org), a Chicago based relief organization, has been helping victims of the Pakistan flood from day one by distributing necessary items like food, clothing, tents, etc.

Currently, we have launched a sleeping bag drive for Pakistan flood victims. We will be
collecting sleeping bags in different sites and storing it at a warehouse in PA. Once the container is filled, we will ship it to Zakat Foundation’s relief center located in Pakistan. Our
representatives will then distribute the sleeping bags to the victims.

We invite you and your organization to take part in this Sleeping Bag Drive in the following
way:

• Announce to your community to bring sleeping bags in good condition to your center.
• Make an arrangement to either mail or bring it to the warehouse in PA by September 10,
2010.

The sooner we get the container filled, the sooner we can ship it, the sooner our brothers and
sisters get the sleeping bags.

If you need further information, please call me at 708-466-3369 or email murat@zakat.org or muratusa@gmail.com.

May Allah reward you and your community for your efforts.

Murat Kose,
East Coast Director
Zakat Foundation of America

Update (2): Another target crossed (Alhumdulillah!)

That’s right and that’s why we’ve updated our thermometer! In fact, to show you how awesome you guys have been with your donations, you can now see two thermometers – one showing what we’ve achieved and the other indicating ongoing donations. Alhumdulillah. JazakumAllah khayran katheera! May Allah accept it from all of you. Ameen. :D If you know people who may be able to contribute, go ahead and share away! :D

Update (1): Goal set for $10,000

Alhumdolillah, it’s testament to the generosity of our readers, their friends and relatives – Muslims brothers and sisters around the world – that we are now touching the initial target of $5000. Current pledges stand at $4806 and that too within just over twelve hours of launching the appeal. May Allah accept it from all of you and recompense you in the best manner, both in this world and the next! Ameen.

Overawed by the show of support and solidarity with the flood victims, we’ve now set the goal at $10,000 final, Insha’Allah. Whatever is achieved, it is the Mercy of Allah(swt). May Allah(swt) accept it from us and from you. Ameen!

Pakistan floods fundraising appeal:

By Muslim Matters author based in Pakistan, Ameera Khan

Ramadan has begun and many of us have only just begun to experience hunger pangs as we fast during the day. However, as I write this, there are millions across my country who are facing real starvation. The ongoing floods that have wrecked havoc on our peoples’ lives, possessions, property and, indeed, their future have plunged them into severe poverty and despair. The
scale of the disaster has just begun to become clear but there are already fears of another wave of floods, as the monsoon season continues. The UN has given a harrowing estimate of the damage: it is worse than the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake – all put together! Subhan-Allah, can we even imagine how terrible that must be?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwvdByJQW7w[/youtube]

It is clear that, given the widespread nature of the disaster and the lives and livelihood it has turned up side down, the flood survivors will need massive support. From generous, common citizens in Pakistan to foreign aid agencies and the Government’s relief efforts… all are working together to save lives, prevent death and disease, and eventually rehabilitate people. To sustain their work, your donations will no doubt go a long way. Alhumdolillah for the month of Ramadan that Allah(swt) has blessed us with – we have the opportunity to give our Zakat and generous Sadaqah for the sake of tremendous reward from Allah(swt), Insha’Allah.

It was related on the authority of Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whosoever relieves from a believer some grief pertaining to this world, Allah will relieve from him some grief pertaining to the Hereafter. (Narrated in Saheeh Muslim)

Action Alert! $5000 initial target | Organizations and Charities you can donate to:

Muslim Matters has set an initial baseline target of generating $5000 (now changed to $10,000… see update below now going beyond $10000!) for the relief efforts. To be able to keep a track on the donation pouring in, we kindly ask you to leave a comment below, mentioning the amount you have donated by virtue of this fundraising appeal.On the last fundraising appeal for a different cause, Muslim Matters’ readers generated more than $20,000 Alhumdolillah. Let’s take the bar higher this time, Insha’Allah. May Allah reward you without measure! Ameen.

Here is a brief list of just some of the organizations working on the ground to distribute food, clothing, medicines and provide shelter to the victims of the flood.

Islamic Relief  USA (Pls click on IR banner above; if you don’t see one, click here)

Zakat Foundation (Pakistan appeal)

Islamic Relief  UK

Edhi Foundation

Helping Hands (ICNA)

Pakistan Red Crescent Society
(PRCS has offices in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta and Muzaffarabad.)

AlKhair Foundation UK
(has put together Flood Aid Shelter Boxes)

United Nations
(to donate $10 text SWAT to 50555 to send money to the United Nations)

Reflections on the Pakistan floods:

By Muslim Matters author, Hena Zuberi.

I watch in horror, the beautiful Swat Valley, a treasure of unparalleled natural beauty broken by the very same nature. Bahrain, Kalam, Madyan, Mingora, vacation spots from a childhood past, beaten, drowned by the 20-foot waves in the River Swat. The terrible force of Allah(swt)’s water destroying everything in sight, crumbling homes and bridges, made out of cement and bricks. The monsoon season is in swing and, as it continues to rain, every river from the north down to the southern part of Pakistan will swell and inundate its surroundings. So far 13.8 million people are affected by disease and displacement, entire villages (650,000 homes) destroyed.  The United Nations is calling this a worse disaster than the tsunami, the 2005 earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake… all put together! These are not just statistics; these are people, our brothers and sisters.

Rain can be a mercy or a test from Allah(swt)  – they are surrounded by water yet they do not have a drop to drink. Inna lillahi wa innaa ilayhi raji’oon. Truly to Allah do we belong and to Him we shall return!

We hear so much bad news, courtesy of 24-hour news channels, that our hearts have become hard. We say a quick dua or shed a few tears and sometimes send in some money. As I sit here in my brother-in-law’s luxury condo overlooking the serene Potomac River in Washington D.C., do I even deserve to comment on these people’s suffering?  To be there and actually deliver bread and tents or shelter a family, to risk my life to rescue a human in the land of my birth, would I be worthy then? I want to be there, yet I feel so inadequate.

Besides clutching our own brood of kids, showing them pictures of the tragedy helpless children are suffering a few days before the merciful month of Ramadan, so they can learn to look beyond their own wants, what else can we do? As we get ready to fast, we can remember these people have not eaten for days. As we take our babies to the doctors, lets remember the water borne diseases their babies may suffer. As we stock up our freezers from the Halal store and our overstuffed pantries from Costco, lets remember the true spirit of Ramadan and give as much as we can.  Maybe this is Allah’s way of reminding us that we are NOT giving enough in Sadaqah.

Give to fill his empty pots

In a Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A man has sinned enough if he neglects to feed those in need.” (Related by Muslim and Abu Dawud)

Ya Rabbi, the advent of your blessed month is here, please remove the sufferings of our Pakistani brothers and sisters. O Allah, nothing is beyond your power. O Allah, send upon them helpful, wholesome and healthy rain, beneficial not harmful rain. Ameen!

Ameera is a final-year medical student and blogger based in Karachi, Pakistan. Having been born and raised in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, her approach towards her Deen has always been rooted in a basic understanding from authentic sources, which was further polished during a three-year weekend course at Al Huda Institute. Her interests, though, seem to know no bounds and range from a passion for the culinary arts and travelling, as well as following current affairs and global happenings. She feels being able to be part of MuslimMatters is one of the major blessings of Allah(swt) upon her, for it has given her a chance to learn and grow. She also maintains her personal blog at http://duskanddawn.wordpress.com.

125 Comments

125 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    August 13, 2010 at 12:42 AM

    $250 to Islamic Relief USA

    • Avatar

      Ameera

      August 13, 2010 at 2:15 AM

      JazaakAllah khayr! :)

  2. Avatar

    Sayf

    August 13, 2010 at 12:47 AM

    SubhanAllah! May Allah protect and forgive those in need and soften the hearts of those who have.

    I would like to help but I don’t have a credit card. Is there any way I could use paypal or some sort of bank transfer? I was surprised Islamic Relief didn’t have a system like that in place.

    • Avatar

      Hena

      August 13, 2010 at 1:58 AM

      Salaams,
      You can use your online bill pay and set up Islamic Relief as a payee- just put in Pakistan Flood Relief in the memo.

      Islamic Relief
      6131 Orangethorpe Ave
      Ste 450
      Buena Park, CA 90620

      • Avatar

        Sayf

        August 13, 2010 at 11:44 AM

        Walaikum Salaam,

        Jazakallah khair for the help, but the payee doesn’t show up after searching “Islamic Relief” or “Islam” or “Relief” – I’m with a RBC Canada (no US payees?). Is there any way around this?

        • Avatar

          Hena

          August 13, 2010 at 12:04 PM

          FOR CANADA Please call Brother Omair at Islamic Relief Canada, 905-540-4722- They can accept your check on the phone or do a direct deposit with the information on the check. They can set up online bill pay for you too.

          They are in the process of setting up a pay pal account.
          88 Forsyth Ave
          Hamilton, ON L8S 4E4
          1-877-370-IRCA (4722)
          info@islamicreliefcanada.org

          • Avatar

            Sayf

            August 16, 2010 at 3:13 PM

            Jazak’Allah khair for the help,

            $50 to Islamic Relief Canada.

      • Avatar

        maysa

        August 13, 2010 at 11:53 AM

        Asslamu 3leikum Sr. Hena,

        Jazaki Allah for your efforts and your superior writing skills. Where did you get this address??

        The one on the site is:

        P.O. Box 22250
        Alexandria, VA 22304

        I went on the site to get the phone number because my bank requires me to put in a phone number when I add a new biller. That is where I found the above address.

        Can you please confirm before I send in the money.

        Jazaki Allah 5eiran once again.

        maysa hammoud

        • Amad

          Amad

          August 13, 2010 at 11:56 AM

          http://www.islamicreliefusa.org/contact-us

          Mailing Address

          P.O. Box 22250
          Alexandria, VA 22304

          Sr. Hena gave a regional office address.

        • Avatar

          Hena

          August 13, 2010 at 12:25 PM

          Walaikummasalam,

          Thank you for your comment-Alhamdulillah- all good is from Allah SWT. May Allah give us tawfeeq to use our abilities to serve Him.

          You guys are right- that is the main address. I gave the one my family uses, some banks do not send to P. O. boxes- That address is for the West Coast office.

          May Allah reward you many fold- pls let us know how much so it can be added to the meter.

    • Avatar

      Amad

      August 13, 2010 at 4:44 AM

      i think you know my email address?
      you can paypal it to me and i can send the dough in…
      just let the amount be known so it can be added to our meter.

  3. Avatar

    Sadaf Farooqi

    August 13, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    The major chunk of my zakah is going for the flood affectees this year, insha’Allah.

    $350 through local organizations.

    Those of you sending in your zakah for the flood victims, please do it here publicly, as Allah says in the Quran:

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنفَقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً يَرْجُونَ تِجَارَةً لَّن تَبُورَ

    Those who recite the Book of Allah, establish regular Prayer, and spend (in Charity) out of what We have provided for them, secretly and openly, hope for a transaction that will never fail.” Surah Fatir [35:29]

    Insha’Allah, your announcement will encourage others to spend too.

    May Allah accept our charity and relieve our brothers and sisters from the destructive aftereffects of this disaster.

  4. Avatar

    anon

    August 13, 2010 at 1:14 AM

    jazzakallah khair
    i will match $1000 of donations after this comment.

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 13, 2010 at 5:25 AM

      JazaakAllah! May Allah reward you without measure. Ameen. :)

  5. Avatar

    Ameera

    August 13, 2010 at 2:36 AM

    JazaakAllah khayr for the lightning response… it has been about 2.5 hours since the post went up and the donations have started pouring in! :) Alhumdolillah! I encourage more people to post their contributions online.

  6. Avatar

    Ali

    August 13, 2010 at 3:47 AM

    Salaam Hena,

    You are a phenomenal writer!! I really enjoyed this article!! Keep it up Hena!!

  7. Avatar

    Hena

    August 13, 2010 at 3:48 AM

    To Islamic Relief

    $ 273 from MYSCV- Muslim Youth of Santa Clarita Valley

    $ 225 from the students of Road to Jannah Summer School. They chose to donate the money instead of a having an end of year party at Chuck E Cheese

    • Avatar

      Ameera

      August 13, 2010 at 4:02 AM

      Mashaa’Allah… this is just awesome and inspiring. JazaakAllah khayran katheera to them both! We’ll now be updating our donations thermometer to reflect all these beautiful donations. :)

  8. Avatar

    Ameera Khan

    August 13, 2010 at 4:40 AM

    Impact map of the floods… http://bit.ly/9NhvhM
    The Huffington Post described the floods in its headline as putting “one-fifth of Pakistan under water”. SubhaanAllah. Help is needed.

  9. Avatar

    Youssef Chouhoud

    August 13, 2010 at 4:43 AM

    $100 to Islamic Relief

    Saw pictures, but that comment by UN on the scope of this disaster is absolutely astonishing. May Allah ease the pain and hunger of all those affected and grant them sabr during this calamity. Ameen.

  10. Avatar

    Bilal

    August 13, 2010 at 5:36 AM

    $250 Islamic Relief

    • Avatar

      amad

      August 13, 2010 at 5:48 AM

      mashallah,
      that’s $2296 now (with matching)

      still 150 left in matching… i.e. you can double your barakah!

  11. Avatar

    Donation

    August 13, 2010 at 8:48 AM

    $150 to Islamic Relief.

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 13, 2010 at 8:56 AM

      JazaakAllah khayr!! :D That makes $150 + $150 matched by anon above = $300

      The total now stands at $2596 and just within 9 hours. Alhumdolillah. May Allah reward each one of the contributors without measure! Ameen.

  12. Avatar

    Brother

    August 13, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    $100 – and giving the juma’ah Khutbah today about the topic.

  13. Avatar

    S

    August 13, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    $100 to Islamic Relief USA

  14. Avatar

    Mohammad Sabah

    August 13, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    $500 to Islamic Relief USA

  15. Avatar

    SZ

    August 13, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    $250 through Islamic Relief USA.

    On a side note, Hillside Islamic Center in New York has decided to cancel Iftar/ dinner sponsorship and use the sponsorship for relief in Pakistan.

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 13, 2010 at 1:28 PM

      SubhanAllah! May Allah reward them all without measure! Ameen.

  16. Amad

    Amad

    August 13, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    jazakumAllahkhair… $3546 now, awesome!

    Sr. Ameera, the thermometer needs major updating, may Allah reward you.

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 13, 2010 at 11:12 AM

      Will gladly do so! :D And as we approach $5000, which will Insha’Allah be very, very soon, I hope to raise the target amount too! :D

      My heart goes out to the generosity of our Ummah, represented by MM readers who’re contributing here… may Allah reward you all without measure and admit you to Jannah! Ameen.

  17. Avatar

    Shariq

    August 13, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    Insha’Allah I’ll be at the Islamic Center in ABQ, New Mexico to make an appeal for Orphans and for our brother’s and sister’s affected by the floods in Pakistan for Islamic Relief.

    If anyone of you will be in ABQ for taraweeah tonight, I’ll see you then insha’Allah!

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 13, 2010 at 1:27 PM

      JazaakAllah, brother, spreading the word is excellent!

  18. Avatar

    Justin

    August 13, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    May Allah rescue them and forgive those of us who able to do nothing.

  19. Avatar

    anonymous

    August 13, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    $50 to Islamic Relief USA

  20. Avatar

    anonymous

    August 13, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    $10. I’m sorry I am a student. I wish I could give more, but inshAllah slowly I will.

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 13, 2010 at 1:25 PM

      JazaakAllah khayran katheera! Why should you feel sorry? SubhanAllah, when you give while you yourself have little to spare, it has a high rank with Allah, Insha’Allah. :) You can also help by telling others about this and thus get a share in the reward. :)

  21. Avatar

    Imran

    August 13, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    $300 to Islamic Relief

  22. Avatar

    Ameera Khan

    August 13, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    We’re now at $4306!! Alhumdolillah! :D

  23. Avatar

    UmmAnon

    August 13, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    $500 donated to IRW

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 13, 2010 at 1:55 PM

      Jazaakillah khayr, UmmAnon! :) We’re now at $4806… each contributor has a share in making it possible… may Allah accept it from all of you! Ameen.

  24. Avatar

    Anonymous

    August 13, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    $350 from my end! But that was before the drive, so I don’t know if that counts.

    • Amad

      Amad

      August 13, 2010 at 5:23 PM

      Lets count it and that gets over $5k mashallah!
      $5156 to be exact!
      Let’s keep going. Remember, today is not only Ramadan but also the day of Jumuah. Multiply your ajr many fold while assisting in a cause that is unbelievably important!

  25. Avatar

    Abu Maryam

    August 14, 2010 at 1:44 AM

    Those who are donating and/or not in a situation to donate, please make du’a for ‘one of the parts of our body’, for our brothers and sisters in Pakistan. These are the brothers and sisters, who have been suffered by the flood, by the air crash, by the corrupt leaders and by the dirty international politics. I make du’a for our beloved brothers/sisters during breakfast, during qiyam-al-layl, and whenever i’m in sujood. May Allah give them tawfique to be patient, to strengthen their ‘Iman so that they can instil taqwa from all of these.

  26. Avatar

    mnm87

    August 14, 2010 at 2:23 AM

    Donated to Islamic Relief USA – $200

    Here is a hadith about the reward of charitable acts during Ramadan:

    “The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) addressed his companions on the last day of Sha`ban, saying, “Oh people! A great month has come over you; a blessed month; a month in which is a night better than a thousand months; month in which Allah has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night. Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time. It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is Heaven. It is the month of charity, and a month in which a believer’s sustenance is increased. Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast, shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the Fire of Hell, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without his reward being diminished at all.” [Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah]

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 14, 2010 at 2:41 AM

      JazaakAllah for the donation and for sharing the Hadith! :)

      Alhumdolillah, we’re now at $5356!

  27. Avatar

    Muhammad

    August 14, 2010 at 4:39 AM

    Funds are a little tight due to unemployment, but it’s worse for our brothers and sisters in Pakistan. So $50 donated to Islamic Relief USA.

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 14, 2010 at 5:33 AM

      That is exactly how it is for many of us, brother. JazaakAllah! May Allah accept it from you. Better update the thermometer again… gladly! :)

  28. Avatar

    Mohamad

    August 14, 2010 at 6:51 AM

    200 CAD to Islamic Relief UK , may Allah swt help our brethren in Pakistan.

    Does it really matter if I used the UK website to donate from Canada???

  29. Avatar

    Ameera Khan

    August 14, 2010 at 7:01 AM

    • Avatar

      Maha

      August 14, 2010 at 6:23 PM

      nice! even Islamic Relief’s up there. Represent!

  30. Avatar

    The Muslim Orange

    August 14, 2010 at 10:19 AM

    $50 US dollars to islamic relief

  31. Avatar

    wisconsin

    August 14, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    $50 to IR

  32. Avatar

    Maria

    August 14, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    $330 through Islamic Relief (USA)

    • Avatar

      Ameera

      August 14, 2010 at 12:23 PM

      Jazaakillah Maria! :D

  33. Avatar

    Ameera Khan

    August 14, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    The donations thermometer has been updated – $5836 Alhumdolillah. JazaakAllah khayr, everyone! :) These funds will go a long way Insha’Allah. I personally know people who’re sweating it out and taking relief goods into the affected areas so this means a lot!

  34. Avatar

    Faisal

    August 14, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    $50 to Islamic Relief (Canada)

    Ya Ar-Rahman, Ya Ar-Razzak, ease the sufferings of my brothers and sisters affected by this tragedy and give them food and shelter.

  35. Avatar

    Maha

    August 14, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    $170 to Islamic Relief, alhumdulillah.

  36. Avatar

    Sum

    August 14, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    $10 to Islamic Relief USA

  37. Avatar

    Ameera Khan

    August 14, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    JazaakAllah guys! We’ve just cross 6K Alhumdolillah! :D

  38. Avatar

    mystrugglewithin

    August 14, 2010 at 10:44 PM

    $1000 to a local organization back home; I highly appreciate the efforts of MuslimMatters.. feeling more united than ever before :) Jazakallah Khayrun

  39. Avatar

    Umme Abdullah

    August 15, 2010 at 12:02 AM

    assalamoaleikum sister ameera!
    its amazing how well motivated the readers are,mashAllah- may Allah keep the ummah united and
    have mercy on our country -Pakistan.

    $100 donated to Islamic Relief USA , via google.

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 15, 2010 at 3:06 AM

      Walaikumussalam!

      Jazaakillah sister! It really is so heart-warming to see such support and selflessness within the Ummah. Wherever help is needed, whether it be Pakistan or any other country, it’s amazing to see people come together for a common cause, Alhumdolillah. :)

  40. Avatar

    SH

    August 15, 2010 at 12:32 AM

    inshallah $425 —(my zakat for this year) to islamic relief for the flood victims. May Allah SWT ease their suffering.

    JAK MM for doing this.

  41. Amad

    Amad

    August 15, 2010 at 2:50 AM

    jazakumAllahkhair, we are at $7591, over 75% to our target.
    Comeon brothers & sisters, is there a better opportunity than this to give your zakah or sadaqa? Consider the situation of some here who don’t have a job or are students or in other hardships, but are opening up their heart for the one of the worst disasters of the decade!

    May Allah bless all those who have donated, and who will donate and those who cannot but are making du’a.

    P.S. Pls be sure to mention your donation, even as anonymous, to make sure we account for it in our fundraiser and to encourage others.

  42. Avatar

    Ameera Khan

    August 15, 2010 at 2:56 AM

    JazaakAllah!! :D Time for a *major* update of the thermometer, Alhumdolillah! May Allah reward all of you immensely! Ameen.

  43. Avatar

    Sister in Islam

    August 15, 2010 at 3:05 AM

    $100.00 to Islamic Relief Emergency Funds for Pakistan – via your web banner.

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 15, 2010 at 3:08 AM

      Super! I just updated the thermometer and now I’ll have to do it again – GLADLY. :D Jazaakillah!

  44. Avatar

    anonymous

    August 15, 2010 at 4:56 AM

    update ur thermo please to 15k :-)
    $2500 to islamic relief within a week inshaAllah

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 15, 2010 at 5:13 AM

      That is just awesome! JazaakAllah khayr! We’d decided to keep the target 10K but you and all those who’ve contributed, have just taken the bar higher! :D

      May Allah reward you all tremendously! Ameen.

  45. Avatar

    abez

    August 15, 2010 at 7:18 AM

    250 USD to The Shelter, Dubai UAE!

    The Shelter is collecting food, clothing, tents, and medicines to sent to the Pakistani Flood Victims. So far two containers have been filled but our aim is to fill 4 containers before we send this next week to Pakistan.

    The Shelter is open until midnight everyday to collect goods. Pick up or drop-off of items is available, call or sms on (+971) 0559531454 before doing so.

    http://www.shelter.ae/newdesign/dubai.html#Home

    • Avatar

      Hena

      August 16, 2010 at 2:53 AM

      Jazakillah Khair for this link- i will forward it to my Dubai people

  46. Avatar

    nk

    August 15, 2010 at 8:16 AM

    You can add Helping Hand for Relief and Development of ICNA to the list of charities available in the US for donations https://www.helpinghandonline.org/donate.aspx?proid=75

    $500 to Helping Hand alhumdulillah

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 15, 2010 at 10:55 AM

      JazaakAllah. I’ll add this Insha’Allah.

  47. Avatar

    Ameera Khan

    August 15, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    JazaakAllah khayr! :D We’re not at $10,941 Alhumdulillah!! :D

  48. Avatar

    Ameera Khan

    August 15, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    $150 from my family. Comes here late but I was waiting for the donation to take effect before writing. :)

  49. Avatar

    Ameera Khan

    August 15, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    $11091 Alhumdolillah! :)

  50. Avatar

    Sisters Wafa and Shifa

    August 15, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    $250 via web banner

    Jazakallah MM for this good work!

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 15, 2010 at 12:44 PM

      Jazaakillah, sisters, for supporting our work by responding so generously! :)

  51. Avatar

    Ameera Khan

    August 15, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    $11,341 Alhumdolillah! :D

  52. Avatar

    Muhammad

    August 15, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    $150 more to Zakat foundation

  53. Avatar

    Hamzaa

    August 16, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    I want to know Should I pay using these organizations Zakat Foundation, Islamic Relief UK, Edhi Foundation,
    Helping Hands (ICNA), Pakistan Red Crescent Society or directly to Muslimmatters.org?

    And How is this Donation meter working? :S

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 16, 2010 at 1:26 PM

      Good question! :) This post is more about *encouraging* people to donate money. So, you can donate it wherever you like, whether the organizations we have listed (these are well known and reliable) or any others you see fit that are not listed here. When you’ve intended to donate an amount, let us know so here, so we can know what MM readers are contributing Insha’Allah.

      The donation meter is updated *manually* by me, based on readers’ comments. :)

      • Avatar

        Hamzaa

        August 17, 2010 at 12:28 AM

        Ok Sister good Idea :) Can I put this article on my blog?

        • Avatar

          Ameera Khan

          August 17, 2010 at 1:46 AM

          Yes, please do! :D And JazaakAllah for it!

  54. Avatar

    Sofia

    August 16, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    Assalamu’aleykum

    $200 to Islamic Relief Canada.

    JazakaAllahu khayr MM for this excellent effort!

  55. Avatar

    mystrugglewithin

    August 16, 2010 at 11:50 PM

    In the masjid, they told us today about a sister who donated all her jewelry for the cause.. Allahuakbar!

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 17, 2010 at 1:48 AM

      That is awesome, indeed. :O Masha’Allah, may Allah accept it from her! Ameen.

  56. Avatar

    Aabid

    August 17, 2010 at 12:06 AM

    Islamic Relief USA $115

  57. Avatar

    Anonymous

    August 17, 2010 at 4:52 AM

    $30 islamic relief

    May Allah soften our hearts

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      August 17, 2010 at 8:55 AM

      Ameen and Jazaakillah! Time to update the thermometer… :)

  58. Avatar

    Mirissa

    August 17, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    Donated $50, wish we could do more!

  59. Avatar

    Muslim

    August 17, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    $100 to Islamic Relief USA

  60. Avatar

    Anon

    August 18, 2010 at 3:33 AM

    $ 600 to Hands together

  61. Avatar

    Ameera Khan

    August 18, 2010 at 6:32 AM

    Mirissa, Anon, Muslim… JazaakAllah khayr! These donations will go a long way and may Allah recompense you in the best way! Ameen.

    Updating the thermometer now…

    • Amad

      Amad

      August 18, 2010 at 11:31 AM

      what’s the total now :) ?

  62. Avatar

    murat

    August 18, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    As Salamu Alaikum,

    Zakat Foundation has another option for donation from your cell phone.

    You can donate $10 or more by sending text message ZAKATUS to 50555

    murat

  63. Avatar

    Samee+Tasmia

    August 18, 2010 at 11:16 PM

    $150 to helpinghandonline.org
    $150 to zakat.org

    $250 to IslamicReliefUSA
    Dollar for Dollar program

    “In an effort to increase the amount of funds raised, an anonymous organization has agreed to match dollar for dollar ever fund raised over the next week! They will give up to 50k if we can come up with the rest to give a total of 100k. Together this goal is very attainable!!!

    InshAllah your reward will be doubled for every dollar you donate as Sadaqah or Zakaat. In addition to the multiple rewards of Ramadan, …this is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.

    All proceeds will be given to Islamic Relief. Please email Br Waleed Gabr at waleed@islamicreliefusa.org with your pledge amount and mention it’s for the Dollar for Dollar match program.”

    • Avatar

      Ameera

      August 19, 2010 at 1:48 AM

      JazaakAllah! :) From what I understand, the dollar-for-dollar matching is for Islamic Relief to avail, through the anonymous organization?

  64. Avatar

    Howdy

    August 20, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    $100 Islamic Relief USA

  65. Pingback: Sunday Open Thread | 22-8-10 | Ramadan Resolutions, Donations for Pakistan Floods | MuslimMatters.org

  66. Avatar

    Sameera

    August 22, 2010 at 11:24 PM

    $200 to Helping Hands

  67. Avatar

    kids from California

    August 23, 2010 at 2:42 AM

    $100 Nawal Khan
    $100 Samran Khan
    $100 Ateeb Khan
    $50 Zobia From their savings

    $ 200 to Hands together from Sister Ruby

  68. Pingback: Pakistan Floods Fundraising Drive « Then which of your Lord's favors will you deny

  69. Avatar

    Muslim Stranger

    August 25, 2010 at 3:38 AM

    UPDATED – ALHUDA INTERNATIONAL FLOOD RELIEF EFFORTS AUG, 2010 (With New Videos)

    http://www.download.farhathashmi.com/dn/Portals/0/Latest-Events/Flood-Relief-2010/index.html

    Must See

  70. Avatar

    Ameera

    August 26, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    JazaakAllah all for pledging your donations! May Allah(swt) reward you for it without measure! Ameen. I’ll soon be updating the thermometer to reflect your generous donations! :)

  71. Avatar

    Mainoooo

    August 26, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    I am so sorry. The best I could do is donate items that are new condition and such, but I know there is not such thing yet. I am a student, not even working due to the lack of jobs now in America and do not even have enough to pay for school :\

    And I have yet to follow-up on my zakat and things like that. I should be more responsible.

    And also, may Allah reward all those who donate to this cause <3

  72. Avatar

    dfghjk

    August 29, 2010 at 7:37 AM

    $100 IR USA

  73. Avatar

    Some Oon

    August 30, 2010 at 1:31 AM

    Assalamualaikum, may Allah reward MM for its efforts.

    Donated $100 to helping hands.

  74. Avatar

    anon

    August 30, 2010 at 2:17 AM

    Donated $750 to Zakat Foundation & $1000 to direct channels

  75. Avatar

    Ameera Khan

    August 31, 2010 at 6:17 AM

    JazaakAllah khayr!!! :D That’s a whopping $1950 to add to the thermometer, Alhumdulillah!

  76. Avatar

    Zafar

    August 31, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    $250 donated to Islamic Relief

  77. Avatar

    qwewe

    September 11, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    I’m in america and i know that we are helping pakestan because the presdent is giving $ to pakestan

  78. Avatar

    Anonymous

    September 14, 2010 at 1:25 AM

    $2600 to Islamic Relief (via AlMaghrib online Fundraiser)

  79. Avatar

    Online Fundraising

    November 2, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    I’ve personally donated to help with the flooding and I’m thankful for sites like this that continue to raise awareness.

  80. Pingback: 5 year old Gives her Life Savings to Flood Victims - MuslimMatters.org

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The Unexpected Blessings of Being Alone

Juli Herman

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My seven-year old son sat on the ground, digging a hole. Around him, other children ran, cried, and laughed at the playground.

“He’s such a strange kid,” my oldest daughter remarked. “Who goes to the playground and digs holes in the ground?”

In an instant, scenes of my ten-year-old self flashed through my mind. In them I ducked, hiding from invisible enemies in a forest of tapioca plants. Flattening my back against the spindly trunks, I flicked my wrist, sending a paper shuriken flying towards my pursuers. I was in my own world, alone.

It feels as if I have always been alone. I was the only child from one set of parents. I was alone when they divorced. I was alone when one stepmother left and another came in. I was alone with my diary, tears, and books whenever I needed to escape from the negative realities of my childhood.

Today, I am a lone niqab-wearing Malay in the mish-mash of a predominantly Desi and Arab Muslim community. My aloneness has only been compounded by the choices I’ve made that have gone against social norms- like niqab and the decision to marry young and have two babies during my junior and senior years of undergrad.

When I decided to homeschool my children, I was no longer fazed by any naysayers. I had gotten so used to being alone that it became almost second nature to me. My cultural, religious, and parenting choices no longer hung on the approval of social norms.

Believe it Or Not, We Are All Alone

In all of this, I realize that I am not alone in being alone. We all are alone, even in an ocean of people. No matter who you are, or how many people are around you, you are alone in that you are answerable to the choices you make.

The people around you may suggest or pressure you into specific choices, but you alone make the ultimate choice and bear the ultimate consequence of what those choices are. Everything from what you wear, who you trust, and how you plan your wedding is a result of your own choice. We are alone in society, and in the sight of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as well.

The aloneness is obvious when we do acts of worship that are individual, such as fasting, giving zakah, and praying. But we’re also alone in Hajj, even when surrounded by a million other Muslims. We are alone in that we have to consciously make the choice and intention to worship. We are alone in making sure we do Hajj in its true spirit.

We alone are accountable to Allah, and on the Day of Judgment, no one will carry the burden of sin of another.

مَّنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا ۚ وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَىٰ ۗ وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِينَ حَتَّىٰ نَبْعَثَ رَسُولًا

“Whoever accepts guidance does so for his own good; whoever strays does so at his own peril. No soul will bear another’s burden, nor do We punish until We have sent a messenger.” Surah Al Israa 17:15

On the day you stand before Allah you won’t have anyone by your side. On that day it will be every man for himself, no matter how close you were in the previous life. It will just be you and Allah.

Even Shaytaan will leave you to the consequences of your decisions.

وَقَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ لَمَّا قُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ الْحَقِّ وَوَعَدتُّكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ ۖ وَمَا كَانَ لِيَ عَلَيْكُم مِّن سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا أَن دَعَوْتُكُمْ فَاسْتَجَبْتُمْ لِي ۖ فَلَا تَلُومُونِي وَلُومُوا أَنفُسَكُم ۖ مَّا أَنَا بِمُصْرِخِكُمْ وَمَا أَنتُم بِمُصْرِخِيَّ ۖ إِنِّي كَفَرْتُ بِمَا أَشْرَكْتُمُونِ مِن قَبْلُ ۗ إِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

“When everything has been decided, Satan will say, ‘God gave you a true promise. I too made promises but they were false ones: I had no power over you except to call you, and you responded to my call, so do not blame me; blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I reject the way you associated me with God before.’ A bitter torment awaits such wrongdoers” Surah Ibrahim 14:22

But, Isn’t Being Alone Bad?

The connotation that comes with the word ‘alone’ relegates it to something negative. You’re a loser if you sit in the cafeteria alone. Parents worry when they have a shy and reserved child. Teachers tend to overlook the quiet ones, and some even complain that they can’t assess the students if they don’t speak up.

It is little wonder that the concept of being alone has a negative connotation. Being alone is not the human default, for Adam 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was alone, yet Allah created Hawwa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) as a companion for him. According to some scholars, the word Insaan which is translated as human or mankind or man comes from the root letters that means ‘to want company’. We’re naturally inclined to want company.

You might think, “What about the social aspects of Islam? Being alone is like being a hermit!” That’s true, but in Islam, there is a balance between solitary and communal acts of worship. For example, some prayers are done communally like Friday, Eid, and funeral prayers. However, extra prayers like tahajjud, istikharah, and nawaafil are best done individually.

There is a place and time for being alone, and a time for being with others. Islam teaches us this balance, and with that, it teaches us that being alone is also praiseworthy, and shouldn’t be viewed as something negative. There is virtue in alone-ness just as there is virtue in being with others.

Being Alone Has Its Own Perks

It is through being alone that we can be astute observers and connect the outside world to our inner selves. It is also through allowing aloneness to be part of our daily regimen that we can step back, introspect and develop a strong sense of self-based on a direct relationship with Allah.

Taking the time to reflect on worship and the words of Allah gives us the opportunity to meaningfully think about it. It is essential that a person gets used to being alone with their thoughts in order to experience this enriching intellectual, emotional and spiritual experience. The goal is to use our thoughts as the fuel to gain closeness to Allah through reflection and self-introspection.

Training ourselves to embrace being alone can also train us to be honest with ourselves, discover who we truly are, and work towards improving ourselves for Allah’s sake. Sitting with ourselves and honestly scrutinizing the self in order to see strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement is essential for character development. And character development is essential to reach the level of Ihsaan.

When we look into who we want to be, we are bound to make some decisions that might raise eyebrows and wag tongues. Being okay with being alone makes this somewhat easier. We should not be afraid to stand out and be the only one wearing praying or wearing hijab, knowing that it is something Allah will be pleased with. We should not be afraid to stand up for what we believe in even if it makes us unpopular. Getting used to being alone can give us the confidence to make these decisions.

Being alone can strengthen us internally, but not without pain. Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns found that people who dissent from group wisdom show heightened activation in the amygdala, a small organ in the brain associated with the sting of social rejection. Berns calls this the “pain of independence.”

All our prophets experienced this ‘pain of independence’ in their mission. Instances of different prophets being rejected by their own people are generously scattered in the Quran for us to read and reflect upon. One lesson we can extract from these is that being alone takes courage, faith, conviction, and confidence.

 

We Come Alone, Leave Alone, Meet Allah Alone

The circumstances that left me alone in the different stages of my life were not random. I always wanted an older brother or someone else to be there to rescue me from the solitude. But the solitude came with a blessing. Being alone gave me the time and space in which to wonder, think, and eventually understand myself and the people around me. I learned reflection as a skill and independent decision-making as s strength. I don’t mind being alone in my niqab, my Islam, or my choices. I’ve had plenty of practice after all.

Open grave

You are born alone and you took your first breath alone. You will die alone, even if you are surrounded by your loved ones. When you are lowered into the grave, you will be alone. Accepting this can help you make use of your moments of solitude rather than fear them. Having the courage to be alone builds confidence, strengthens conviction, and propels us to do what is right and pleasing to Allah regardless of human approval.

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Why Israel Should Be ‘Singled Out’ For Its Human Rights Record

Unlike other countries, ordinary citizens are complicit in the perpetual crimes committed against defenseless Palestinians.

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israel, occupied Palestine

Why is everyone so obsessed with Israel’s human rights abuses? From Saudi Arabia, to Syria, to North Korea to Iran. All these nations are involved in flagrant violations of human right, so why all the focus on Israel – ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’? Clearly, if you ignore these other violations and only focus on Israel, you must be anti-Semitic. What else could be your motivations for this double standard?

This is one of the most common contentions raised when Israel is criticized for its human rights record. I personally don’t believe in entertaining this question – it shouldn’t matter why an activist is choosing to focus on one conflict and not others. What matters are the facts being raised; putting into question the motives behind criticizing Israel is a common tactic to detract from the topic at hand. The conversation soon turns into some circular argument about anti-Semitism and the plight of the Palestinian people is lost. More importantly, this charge of having double standards is often disingenuous. For example, Representative Ihan Omar has been repeatedly accused of this recently and her motives have been called ‘suspicious’ – despite her vocal criticism of other countries, especially Saudi Arabia.

However, this point is so frequently brought up, I think that perhaps its time activists and critics simply own up to it. Yes – Israel should be singled out, for some very good reasons. These reasons relate to there being a number of unique privileges that the country enjoys; these allow it to get away with much of the abuses it commits. Human right activists thus must be extra vocal when comes to Israel as they have to overcome the unparalleled level of support for the country, particularly in the US and Canada. The following points summarize why Israel should in fact be singled out:

1) Ideological support from ordinary citizens

When Iran and North Korea commit human right abuses, we don’t have to worry about everyone from journalists to clerics to average students on campuses coming out and defending those countries. When most nations commit atrocities, our journalists and politicians call them out, sanctions are imposed, they are taking them to the International Court of Justice, etc. There are instruments in place to take care of other ‘rogue’ nations – without the need for intervention from the common man.

Israel, however, is unique in that it has traditionally enjoyed widespread ideological support, primarily from the Jewish community and Evangelical Christians, in the West. This support is a result of the historical circumstances and pseudo-religious ideology that drove the creation of the state in 1948. The successful spread of this nationalistic dogma for the last century means Israel can count on ordinary citizens from Western countries to comes to its defense. This support can come in the form of foreign enlistment to its military, students conducting campus activism, politicians shielding it from criticisms and journalists voluntarily writing in its support and spreading state propaganda.

This ideological and nationalistic attachment to the country is the prime reason why it is so incredibly difficult to have any kind of sane conversation about Israel in the public sphere – criticism is quickly seen as an attack on Jewish identity and interpreted as an ‘existential threat’ to the nation by its supporters. Any attempts to take Israel to account through standard means are thwarted because of the political backlash feared from the country’s supporters in the West.

2) Unconditional political support of a world superpower

The US is Israel’s most important and closest ally in the Middle-East. No matter what war crimes Israel commits, it can count on America to have its back. This support means the US will use its veto power to support Israel against actions of the UN Security Council, it will use its diplomatic influence to shield any punitive actions from other nations and it will use its military might to intervene if need be. The backing of the US is one of the main reasons why the Israeli occupation and expansion of the colonial settlement enterprise continues to this day without any repercussions.

While US support might be especially staunch for Israel, this factor is certainly not unique to the country. Any country which has this privilege, e.g. Saudi Arabia, should be under far great scrutiny for its human rights violations than others.

3)  Military aid and complicity of tax-payers

US tax-payers are directly paying for Israel to carry out its occupation of the Palestinian people.

Israel is the largest recipient of US-military aid – it receives an astonishing $3 billion dollars every year. This aid, according to a US congressional report, “has helped transform Israel’s armed forces into one of the most technologically sophisticated militaries in the world.”

Unlike other countries, ordinary citizens are complicit in the perpetual crimes committed against defenseless Palestinians. Activists and citizens thus have a greater responsibility to speak out against Israel as their government is paying the country to carry out its atrocities. Not only is this aid morally reprehensible, but it is also illegal under United States Leahy Laws.

4) The Israeli lobby

The Israeli lobby is one of the most powerful groups in Washington and is the primary force for ensuring continued US political support for the nation. It consists of an assortment of formal lobby groups (AIPAC, Christians United for Israel), think-thanks (Washington Institute for Near East Policy), political action committee or PACs, not-for-profit organizations (B’nai B’irth, American Jewish Congress, Stand for Israel) and media watchdogs (CAMERA, Honest Reporting). These organizations together exercise an incredible amount of political influence. They ensure that any criticism of Israel is either stifled or there are serious consequences for those who speak up. In 2018 alone, pro-Israel donors spent $22 million on lobbying for the country – far greater than any other nation. Pro-Israel lobbies similarly influence politics in other places such as the UK, Canada, and Europe.

5) One of the longest-running occupation in human history

This point really should be the first one on this list – and it is the only one that should matter. However, because of the unique privileges that Israel enjoys, it is hard to get to the crux of what it is actually doing. Israel, with U.S. support, has militarily occupied the Palestinian territories (West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem) since 1967. The belligerent occupation, over 50 years old, is one of the longest, bloodiest and brutal in human history.

Israel continues to steal land and build settler colonies the West Bank – in flagrant violation of international law. It has implemented a system of apartheid in these territories which is reminiscent of the racist regime of South Africa. The Gaza strip has been under an insufferable siege which has made the living conditions deplorable; it has been referred to the world’s largest ‘open-air prison’. In addition to this institutional oppression, crimes committed against Palestinians include: routinely killing civilian protesters, including teenagers and medics, torture of Palestinians and severe restrictions on the everyday movement of Palestinians.

The brutality, consistency and the duration for which Israel has oppressed Palestinians is alone enough reason for it being ‘singled out’. No other nation comes close to its record. However, for the reasons mentioned above, Israel’s propaganda machine has effectively painted itself as just another ‘liberal democracy’ in the eyes of the general public. Any attempt to bring to light these atrocities are met with ‘suspicion’ about the ‘real’ motives of the critics. Given the points mentioned here, it should be evident that the level of support for Israeli aggression is uniquely disproportionate – it is thus fitting that criticism of the country is equally vocal and unparalleled as well.

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This Article Could be Zakat-Eligible

Who Accounts For This Pillar of Islam

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Co-written by Shaykh Osman Umarji

As writers on MuslimMatters, it came as a surprise when the website we write on marked itself zakat-eligible on its fundraiser for operations in Ramadan. This website has previously highlighted the misuse and abuse of zakat for vague and dodgy reasons, including instances of outright fraud by nonprofit corporations.  We have lamented the seemingly inexorable march from zakat being for living human beings in need to financial play-doh for nonprofit corporate boards.

Estimated global zakat is somewhere between $200 billion to $1 trillion.  Eliminating global poverty is estimated at $187 billion– not just for Muslims, but everyone.  There continue to be strong interests in favor of more putty-like zakat to benefit the interests of the organizations that are not focused on reducing poverty. Thus, in many ways, a sizeable chunk of zakat benefits the affluent rather than the needy. Zakat, rather than being a credit to the Muslim community, starts to look more like an indictment of it.

No, it’s not ikhtilaf

The recent article on this website, Dr. Usama Al-Azmi seemed somewhat oblivious to the cavalier way the nonprofit corporate sector in the United States treats Zakat.  The article did not do justice to legitimate concerns about zakat distribution by dismissing the issue as one of “ikhtilaf,” or a reasonable difference of opinion, as it ignored the broader concern about forces working hard to make zakat a “wild west” act of worship where just about anything goes.  

It’s essential to identify the crux of the problem. Zakat has eight categories of permissible beneficiaries in the Quran. 1 Two are various levels of poor, distribution overhead; then there are those whose hearts are to be inclined,  free captives, relieve indebtedness, the wayfarer, and the cause of Allah (fisabilillah). The category of fisabilillah, historically,  the majority of scholars have interpreted as the cost of jihad (like actual fighting). However, in recent times, Muslim nonprofit corporations, with support of learned Muslim leaders, have adopted an increasingly aggressive and vague posture that allows nearly any beneficial cause to get zakat.   

The concerns about the abuse of zakat, and the self-serving desire by corporations to turn fisabilillah into a wastebasket Zakat category that could be “incredibly broad” has to do with far more than a difference of opinion (ikhtilaf ) about the eligibility of Dawah organizations. Let’s assume dawah and educational organizations are eligible to administer Zakat funds.  We need to know what that means in practice. What we have is a fundamental question the fisabilillah-can-mean-virtually-anything faction never manages to answer: are there any limits to zakat usage at all?

Show Your Work

We fully understand that in our religious practice, there is a set of rules.  In Islamic Inheritance for example, for example, we cannot cavalierly change the definition of what a “daughter” is to mean any girl you want to treat like a daughter. There is an established set of rules relating to acts of worship. For the third pillar of Islam, zakat, there seem to be no limits to the absurd-sounding questions we can ask that now seem plausible.  

Unfortunately, we have too many folks who invoke “ikhtilaf” to justify adopting almost any opinion and not enough people who are willing to explain their positions. We need a better understanding of zakat and draw the lines on when nonprofit corporations are going too far.

You can be conservative and stand for zakat as an act of worship that contributes to social justice. You can have a more expansive interpretation friendly to the nonprofit corporate sector’s needs to include the revenue source. Wherever you stand, if you don’t provide evidence and develop detailed uniform and accepted principles and rules that protect those people zakat was meant to help, you are inviting abuse and at the very least, opening the door towards inequitable results. 2

Can you feed the needy lentils and rice for $100 a meal, with margins of $99 a meal going to pay salaries to provide these meals and fundraise for them?  Why or why not?

Can a Dawah organization purchase an $80 million jet for its CEO, who can use it to travel the world to do “dawah,” including places like Davos or various ski resorts?  What rules exist that would prevent something like this? As far as we know, nothing at all.

Bubble Charity

In the United States, demographic sorting is a common issue that affects all charitable giving, not just giving by Muslims. The most affluent live in neighborhoods with other people who are generally as prosperous as they are. Certain places seem almost perversely designed to allow wealthy residents to be oblivious to the challenges of the poor.  There are undeniable reasons why what counts as “charity” for the wealthy means giving money to the Opera, the Met Gala, and Stanford University.

The only real way affluent Muslims know they supposed to care about poor people is that maybe they have a Shaikh giving khutbas talking about the need to do so and their obligation of zakat once a year or so. That is now becoming a thing of the past. Now it is just care about fisabilillah- it means whatever your tender heart wants it to mean.   

As zakat becomes less about the poor, appeals will be for other projects with a higher amount of visibility to the affluent.  Nonprofits now collect Zakat for galas with celebrities. Not fundraising at the gala dinner mind you, but merely serving dinner and entertaining rich people. Educational institutions and Masajid that have dawah activities (besides, everything a Masjid does is fisabilillah) can be quite expensive. Getting talent to run and teach in these institutions is also costly. Since many of the people running these institutions are public figures and charismatic speakers with easy access and credibility with the affluent. It is far easier for them to get Zakat funds for their projects.

People who benefit from these projects because they send their children to these institutions or attend lectures themselves will naturally feel an affinity for these institutions that they won’t have with the poor. Zakat will stay in their bubble.  Fisabilillah.

Dawa is the new Jihad

Jihad, as in war carried out by a Khalifah and paid for with zakat funds, is an expensive enterprise. But no society is in a permanent state of warfare, so they can work towards eliminating poverty during peacetime. Muslim communities have done this in the past.  Dawah is qualitatively different from jihad as it is permanent. There was never a period in Islamic history when there was no need to do dawah. Many times in history, nobody was fighting jihad. There was no period of Islamic history when there were there was never a need for money to educate people. Of course, earlier Muslims used zakat in education in limited, defined circumstances. It is not clear why limitations no longer apply.  

Indeed dawah is a broad category.  For example, many people regard the Turkish costume drama “Diriliş: Ertuğrul” as dawah.  Fans of the show can’t stop talking about the positive effects it has had on their lives and their iman. What prevents zakat from funding future expensive television costume dramas? Nothing, as far as we can see.   

No Standards or Accountability

Unfortunately, in the United States, there are no uniform, specific standards governing zakat. Anything goes now when previously in Islamic history, there were appropriate standards. Nonprofit corporations themselves decide if they are zakat-eligible or not. In some instances, they provide objectively comical explanations, which supporters within the corporation’s bubble pretty much always swallow whole. Corporations don’t have to segregate Zakat-eligible funds from general funds. When they do, they can make up their own rules for how and when they spend zakat. No rules make zakat indistinguishable from any other funding source since they can change their standards year after year depending on their funding needs (if they have rules at all) and nobody would be the wiser. It is exceedingly rare for these corporations to issue detailed reports on how they use zakat.  

The Shift to Meaninglessness

Organizations with platforms (like the one that runs this website) are going to be eager to get on the zakat gravy train. There is no cost to slapping a “zakat-eligible” label on yourself, either financial or social. It seems like everyone does it now. Some Zakat collectors are conscientious and care about helping the poor, though they are starting to look a little old-fashioned. For them, it may make sense to certify Zakat administrators like halal butchers.

Zakat used to be about helping discrete categories of human beings that can benefit from it.  It can now mean anything you want it to mean. In the end, though, without real standards, it may mean nothing at all.

Footnotes:

  1. The sunnah also highlights the essence of zakah as tending to the needs of the poor. For example, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) commanded Muadh bin Jabal, when sending him to Yemen, to teach the people that Allah has obligated charity upon them to be taken from their rich and given to their poor (Sahih Muslim).
  2. In Islamic legal theory (usool al-fiqh), sadd al-dhariya is a principle that refers to blocking the means to evil before it can materialize. It is invoked when a seemingly permissible action may lead to unethical behavior. This principle is often employed in financial matters.

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