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Charity Week 2010: Muslim Students in the UK Show the Power of Unity

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By Muhammad Akhter

When the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was suffering his final illness, he became too unwell to even leave his room and participate in the congregational prayers. As the Muslims prayed in unison behind Abu Bakr there was a commotion in the crowd. The curtain covering the doorway to Aisha’s room had lifted a little and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) looked out on his people. He looked out and he smiled, his face beaming with joy. What made the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) smile? I’d like to think that it was nothing other than seeing his ummah united upon Islam. The appearance of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was so striking that a wave of excitement rippled through the crowd and the Muslims were in danger of being distracted from their prayers. Then, just as quickly as it had been raised, the curtain dropped. This would be the last public appearance made by a Prophet in the history of mankind. Within hours he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would be no longer with us.

The Muslim ummah stayed united after the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) passed away and it was this unity upon Islam that led an ill-equipped and illiterate nation to conquer the majority of the known world within decades. Although, the unity fractured slightly through the centuries for a variety of reasons, the ummah still existed as more than just a theoretical concept. My, how we have fallen from the heady heights that we used to occupy. Just as Allah used to give us honour and dignity for our unity upon Islam, our wholesale rejection of that very fundamental principle has led to nothing but misery.

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But a group of Muslim students in the UK decided that instead of being passive spectators in this destruction, they would stand up and act. They would implement the advice given to us in the Quran, “Allah does not change the condition of a people unless they change themselves.” Just one of the vehicles that they hoped would help bring about this change was a project that would unite Muslim students whilst raising money for orphans and needy children.

After years of hard work, countless meetings, thousands of dollars worth of phone calls and night after night of heartfelt duas – Charity Week was born. The first one took place in 2004 in London and at first only a few universities took part raising £30,000 (over $50,000) – a record for Muslim student fundraising at the time. Over the years, more and more organizations and universities have been drawn to the project and it has grown to encompass most of the universities in the UK and Ireland through the efforts of organizations as diverse as Islamic Relief, Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) and the University of London Union Islamic Society (ULU ISoc). This year, the 7th Annual Charity Week has raised over £370,000 (more than $1/2 Million) so far.

Impressive as the amounts raised are, heartening as it is to see the exceptional dawah opportunities being harnessed during it, amazing as it is to watch Muslim students having fun and being innovative on a scale previously unprecedented – these accomplishments are small compared to the real barakah of Charity Week. That barakah is nothing less than unity upon Islam, that precious commodity that we lost so long ago and that lies at the heart of many of our problems today. Seeing brothers with big beards and those who are just getting to grips with Surah Fatiha work together, watching a sister without hijab have her preconceptions of covered sisters broken down by organizing the same fundraiser and vice-versa, having a committed Tablighi brother work in perfect harmony with the Salafi khatib – these are things that money cannot buy.

For far too long we have continued to face the trials of this world separate and apart. For far too long we have forgotten that what binds us together is so much more than what divides us. For far too long we have talked about unity and failed to take the first steps towards it. No longer. Charity Week is just one proof that a new world is possible – our Lord is one, our book is one, our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is one. It is time that the ummah was one once more.

We hope that if the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was alive today, he would see with happiness the legions of Muslim students wearing the same T-shirt, using the same posters, moving for one cause – despite their different backgrounds and personalities, united upon Islam. We hope that on the Say of Judgment, he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will smile on us just as he smiled at the sahaba all those years ago. Ameen.

Related on MM: Charity Week 2009: Raising Money for Orphans Worldwide

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4bZVrc-NEI&feature=player_embedded]

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Dr. Muhammad Wajid Akhter - Doctor, Medical Tutor (Social Media, History & Medicine) - Islamic Historian - Founder of, and current board member to Charity Week for Orphans and needy children. www.charityweek.com - Council member, British Islamic Medical Association

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Amad

    January 20, 2011 at 3:57 AM

    This year, the 7th Annual Charity Week has raised over £370,000 (more than $1/2 Million) so far.

    Wow, that’s quite an achievement.

  2. ahlam

    January 20, 2011 at 5:51 AM

    3eeb…I didn’t hear of this. I shall complain to my isoc managment….

  3. Mirza Shahebaz Baig

    January 20, 2011 at 6:36 AM

    subahan Allah. that was beautiful. may Allah put more barakah in that efforts and accept it. Ameen.

    mash Allah, Seventh year and going strong.

    On a similar note, I hope someone in CMH could help setup a micro finance, interest free loaning system for the needy and refugees to be able to self help themselves and to become entrepreneur in their own level, to please Allah Ta’la.. Why wait for someone? start with self making a change. insh Allah…

  4. Mohammed Khan

    January 20, 2011 at 8:42 AM

    ISNA Canada in the news today for misuse of donations and especially Zakat money.

    In 2009, more than $250,000 Zakat was collected and only $65,000 was given to the poor. It’s amazing all the wrongs things the audit uncovered:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/article/924865–muslim-charity-squandered-money-for-poor?bn=1

    Detailed Audit:
    http://media.thestar.topscms.com/acrobat/c6/db/cc2b068d463ea783dd913eafe5c8.pdf

    Make sure you know where your hard earned money is going Muslims. I don’t understand how scholars can give permission to use Zakat funds to build lavish Masjids and use Zakat funds for locks and security cameras of multi million dollar masjids! Zakat funds to build extravagant Masjids whilst the poor die of hunger! Muslims of North America are extremely rich and they are the last group of Muslims in the world who should be using Zakat funds for Masjids!

  5. shiney

    January 20, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    very nicely written masha’allah! really makes us realize the importance of the Ummah.

    Love this part: “For far too long we have continued to face the trials of this world separate and apart. For far too long we have forgotten that what binds us together is so much more than what divides us. For far too long we have talked about unity and failed to take the first steps towards it.”

  6. WAJiD

    January 21, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Asalaam Alaikum,

    JazakAllah khairun to everyone for their kind comments.

    With re: to financial accountability – we are currently in the process of preparing an Annual Report which will contain a full breakdown of exactly how much money came in (and from where) and how it will be spent inshaAllah. We hope to release the publicly soon inshaAllah.

    If anyone is interested – please email info@onecharityweek.com and we can help get Charity Week started at your Uni/ College. (You don’t have to be in the UK. Charity Week is catching on in places as diverse as Penang and Paris.)

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    March 21, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    subahan Allah. that was beautiful. may Allah put more barakah in that efforts and accept it. Ameen.
    Thanks for good sharing.

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  11. Aqsa

    December 17, 2013 at 4:50 AM

    Great post! Thanks for sharing good post. That was beautiful. may Allah put more barakah in that efforts and accept it. Ameen.

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