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Giving Beyond Cultural Lines


Imagine not having enough food and so having to decide which one of your children you are able to feed, or being so thirsty that you are forced to drink water you know is contaminated with infection-causing bacteria.  Nevertheless, you hear stories of a land hundreds of miles away where the grass is greener on the other side and you decide to make your way there. 

You travel miles upon miles barefoot, without shoes through lands that are inhabitated by wild animals and other lands where tribal warfare is rampant.  You put your heart and energy into this journey for the sake of your family and when you finally arrive at your destination, you realize the situation is not any better than it was back at your own home.  There are thousands of people  around you and they are all starving without any food or clean water.  Disease and infections are raiding your community and everyday you wake up you wonder whether or not you will be alive come the evening time. 

And yet it could have been quite possible that you would have had a better outcome if only your fellow brother or sister overseas had decided to dip into his or her pocket a bit and donated a little something towards your situation.  The situation discussed above was very real and is a description of the people that experienced the famine in the East African Crisis!

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Alhamdulillah, brothers and sisters, many of us are not being left to die in the desert or having to decide which child of ours has the better chance of survival.  Instead, we live in a world of comfort and ease.  We can turn on the A/C in the summer time with the flip of a switch and we can do the same with a heater in the winter time when we feel just a tad bit chilly.  We can set our thermostats to within a degree of our desired temperature and we can decide which brand of bread we prefer or how much fat we want in our milk!  Indeed, how many of our blessings do we take for granted!

“So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?” (55:13)

However; there are many of our brothers and sisters worldwide who are not as fortunate, and they struggle with survival on a daily basis.  And these brothers and sisters of ours in East Africa and everywhere else, they are part of us.  They are part of the Ummah of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).  The Muslim Ummah is like one body.  If a body’s head hurts then the whole body will suffer, and, similarly, if the stomach aches then the whole body will suffer.

And so if our brothers and sisters in Africa are hurting, in turn, we are also hurting!  It does not matter if the people in Africa are not the same skin color as us, or the same ethnicity as us, or speak the same language as us.  Indeed, their religion is our religion and they are our brothers in faith.

“The believers are but brothers” (49:10)

So donate O dear reader!  Indeed, whatever you spend on yourself is only for your own temporary sustenance and enjoyment but whatever you spend on your brothers for the sake of Allah is an investment that will pay dividends and provide eternal and everlasting sustenance and enjoyment in the life to come.  Therefore, seek to invest in your brothers overseas not only for the benefit of your fellow brothers and sisters, but for your own benefit.

“Loan Allah a goodly loan. And whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah. It is better and greater in reward” (73:20)

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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.



  1. Mehreen

    December 30, 2011 at 1:36 AM

    SubhanAllah!! May Allah help our brothers and sisters in ordeal and give us the ability and will to help them in whatever way we can.

  2. Umm Kamran

    December 30, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    as salaamu alaikum,

    May Allah reward you with good in this life and the next. This article was a reminder of all the little things that I take for granted in m life. I agree with you with my whole – heart. Although, I know that the situation for Americans isn’t as dire as those of our brothers and sisters in East African, we also need to assist our ummah in our communities as well. They are single mothers and other families, that may not have utilities, go to sleep hungry at night, and fear for their lives daily because of the conditions of the neighborhoods. We need to support our ummah, at home and abroad, Allahu Alim.

  3. Umm Sulaim

    December 30, 2011 at 4:28 AM

    Brotherhood is the key. Some Muslims value it, others do not.

    For those who do, the only factor that determines the help one gets is awareness.

    Those who profess superficial Islamic brotherhood, will keep their arms folded when a needy Muslim of another tribe is in a crisis, even if they are very close to that Muslim.

    I have experienced both. Incidentally, these two groups belong to two different tribes.

    Umm Sulaim

  4. Abu Qutaibah

    December 30, 2011 at 5:37 AM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    The majority of Muslims in Britain are mainly of South Asian origin and they as a whole are the biggest contributors to Islamic charities… one can also see that the majority of financial contributions and donations for the East African crisis has originated from South Asian pockets. So Alhamdulillah the ummah-conciousness is still alive. There isn’t a cultural issue methinks but then again we should not be relying on parts of the community to take the burden; rather it should be up to individual donators to do so in order to encourage everyone else.

  5. Umm Khadijah

    December 30, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    As salaamu alaykum,

    Alhamdulillah, we are fortunate in the US and elsewhere in the West that our situations are not as dire as that of our dear brothers and sisters in East Africa. However, I heard during a lecture, a shaykh accepted questions and in response to a question concerning whether help should go to the one who is in your own community as opposed to those who are living abroad, the shaykh said that you should help the Muslim who is nearest to you. There are many single Muslimahs in different communities in the US, and they are struggling because their former husbands, in several cases, are not providing any child support to their Muslim children.

    Subhanallah. Please continue to give to the causes overseas, be it in Eritrea or in Bangladesh or wherever, but don’t forget about sisters here, who in several cases, don’t necessarily want to continue to burden the community or have gotten the message (in direct or in indirect ways) that their requests are not legitimate because they can have food stamps. They may have food stamps, but no money for new shoes for growing children, or no way to pay an electric bill. So, don’t judge them because they are Muslim women living in a Western country—they need financial assistance that they should be getting from their Muslim former husbands, but are not. Step in to help them as well; Allah will reward the givers in both cases—supporting Muslimahs here and assisting the families in East Africa.

  6. Yasmin

    December 30, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    Jazakallah khair for making this very important point that we should try to donate to all of our brothers and sisters throughout the world. However, I’ve noticed, at least in my particular community, that people only care about donating only to those from their own region of the world.

  7. Halima

    December 31, 2011 at 2:29 AM

    Sad but true. People are more willing to donate when it’s for their brothers in Pakistan or Afghanistan but not Somalia. It’s something that needs to be mentioned and this is what this article does. Sad that this is even the case but it is what it is…Im wishing Muslims were more united.

  8. Bint Nuh

    January 2, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    JazakAllahu Khair for the reminder.

  9. Carlos

    January 4, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    Thank you for the reminder, Abu Ibrahim. Can you recommend one or more worthy charities active in East Africa to which the readers of MM can donate? Please recommend only credible humanitarian charities, charities where there can be some assurance the funds will not be diverted for bribes or political activities. Thank you.

    • Abu Ibrahim

      January 5, 2012 at 10:28 PM

      Carlos, I personally trust both Islamic Relief (we even allow them to advertise here on MM) ( and the Zakat Foundation (, both of which have offices based out of the USA and are officially registered with the US gov’t. However, if you are looking for an organization that is not religiously-based yet still trustworthy, you can also consider organizations like the “Red Cross” or “Doctors Without Borders.” I hope this helps!

      • Carlos

        January 5, 2012 at 11:23 PM

        Thank you, Abu Ibrahim. I have donated. I will take your word for it that this is a legitimate humitarian charity. It does not matter if it is religious or non-religious, as long as it helps people who need it.

        • Abu Ibrahim

          January 5, 2012 at 11:29 PM

          Thank you, Carlos. I hope and pray that those who deserve the most help benefit directly from your contributions.
          Warm regards,

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