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Coronavirus: Muslim organisations respond to crisis through volunteering initiatives

The world continues to react to the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; many more people are self-isolating, including the elderly, single parents, those with disabilities, and others who are socially and economically vulnerable. Muslim activists and institutions are responding by providing more and more volunteer initiatives across the UK, alhamdulillāh.

Amongst them are Yaseen Youth Development, Muntada Aid, Ibadah Tours, Newham Care, Aafiya Project, and CONSCIOUS Youth, who have come together to showcase the positive spirit of the Muslim community during these unprecedented times.

The coronavirus is prevalent in 204 countries and territories around the world as well as 2 international conveyances. At the time of writing, there are now over one million registered coronavirus cases worldwide, with more than fifty-two thousand deaths.[1] Indeed we belong to Allāh, and to Him we shall return.

It is also important to note that over 210,590 people have recovered so far from the deadly virus, alhamdulillāh.

Recently, the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) said that the measures being implemented are “making a difference”. This was also echoed by the former director of the World Health Organization (WHO), saying “good news”, adding that the “the virus is cornered” and that “it has nowhere to go and will burn out.” [2]

Anna, who was volunteering as part of Yaseen Youth Development’s initiative, said:

“I’d love to get involved but I haven’t taken my Shahadah yet. I hope that isn’t a problem.”

As the most proactive members of society, the youth were trained to provide the service of delivering food and essentials to the elderly and vulnerable, most of whom are self-isolating.

Anna was happy to see her new community take up the frontlines in helping those left vulnerable during this difficult time.

This is the essence of calling to our faith (da’wah). While there is a place for intellectual discussions and debate, nothing is more powerful than showing the practical implementation of Islam. One of the greatest manifestations of this is helping those in need, which in turn strengthens communal unity, particularly in times of difficulty. This is reflected in one of the first pieces of advice the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) gave to the Muslims upon his arrival in Madina when the priority was to set the framework for a strong, unified community:

‘Abdullah bin Salam said:

“When the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) arrived – meaning in Al-Madinah – the people came out to meet him. It was said that the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) had arrived, so I went among the people to get a look at him. When I gazed upon the face of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), I knew that this face was not the face of a liar. The first thing that he spoke about was that he said: ‘O you people! Spread the Salam, feed [others], and perform Salat while the people are sleeping; you will enter Paradise with [the greeting of] Salām.’”[3]

Various Islamic organisations have sought to capitalise on this opportunity to implement the prophetic advice and seek the reward that comes with it. Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) says in the Quran:

وَسَارِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

“And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous.”[4]

Use of the word ‘hasten’ reflects an element of urgency. The believers have a sense of urgency in doing good, and as an organisation, we felt that. The goodness within our community was made evident when we received calls from people who offered to cook one hundred meals for those in need, when young people wanted more than anything to get involved, when those abroad – who were also experiencing the effects of the pandemic – donated to our project. As Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) says:

وَيُؤْثِرُونَ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَلَوْ كَانَ بِهِمْ خَصَاصَةٌ ۚ وَمَن يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

“They give them preference over themselves, even if they too are in privation those who are saved from their own souls’ greed are truly successful.”[5]

As believers, we are motivated to please Allāh regardless of our circumstance. In fact, during trying times we hope to stand out in the sight of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā), seeking every avenue to do good. Amidst this pandemic, how have you paved your path to paradise?

If you yourself require help, support, or would like to volunteer and help out, please look at the following recommendations that have been compiled for you:

– To receive coronavirus support as a clinically extremely vulnerable person, click here.

– Alhamdullilāh, there are several amazing volunteer initiatives across the country to support the socially isolated/vulnerable. Find out how to support projects or receive help in your local area here.

– You can also use this postcard to help your neighbours. Please ensure that you first carry out a risk assessment and are healthy and well. Download a printable version here.

– More than 700,000 people have signed up to the NHS volunteer scheme to take part in the fight against the virus. You can register to help too by clicking here.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “Seek out the vulnerable among you. Verily, you are only given provision and support due to your support of the weak.”[6]

Being at the service of others will allow a person to be aided, assisted, supported, protected, and provided for in the Dunyā and Ākhira. Ibn Abbās would say: “The one who does good to others will not fall, but should he fall, he will always find something to lean on.”

May Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) keep us all safe and healthy. May He enable us to take this opportunity to turn back to Him, seeking forgiveness. May Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) cure our sick and protect our elderly, and may He accept those that have returned to Him after contracting the coronavirus as shuhadā’. Āmīn.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

[2] https://www.islam21c.com/news-views/coronavirus-uks-chief-scientific-adviser-says-measures-making-a-difference/

[3] Tirmidhi

[4] Al-Qur’an, 3:133

[5] Al-Qur’ān, 59:9

[6] Tirmidhī

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