Posts tagged ‘Support’

Sibling Rivalry

Sibling Rivalry

By Mohammad Shakir

Let me give you an analogy: you have a younger sibling. They are leaning to walk and talk, play and read – but they are quite there yet as they are continually learning. As an older sibling you are there supporting and helping them along to learn tho

se life skills that you as an older child or adult take for granted.

Now, let’s apply this to the charity sector. Over 5,600 charities registered with the Charity Commission during 2011-2012. These new charities or “new siblings” are often founded by people who have great ideas, vision and drive; but lack the experience and knowledge it takes to run charity transparently, accountably and successfully.

If we look at the goals and missions of charities in general, you will find words such as improve, promote, alleviate and help – all words which connote building something positive. Much like our siblings, we would want to support these “newborn” charities achieve the best that they can through offering advice, sharing our own experiences and wisdom. The support we give may even be more physical in nature such as attending their conferences or supporting them in meetings much like you may attend a siblings’ football match or graduation.

There is a place for experienced organisations to help those that are smaller and don’t have the knowledge or expertise to lay solid foundations and not make mistakes on the way.

There is always time for sibling rivalry when you grow up!

January 15, 2013 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment

Bringing charities in from the cold

By Mohammad Shakir

As the winter months set in and the rain and snow get ready to besiege the United Kingdom once more, we will be looking to wrap up warm, keep a hot drink with us and take that extra blanket out of storage to ensure we aren’t caught in the bitter cold.

Let’s use this scenario with charities; especially new and growing charities. Let’s say you have just received your registration from the Charity Commission – what do you do next?

Well regardless of your aims and objectives, there are certain things you will need such as a place to meet with partners and colleagues or a place where you can use an office or desk on an ad hoc basis. A place that is flexible and easy to get to. A place where everyone knows your name… (OK, that last one is not necessary, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing).

The concept of Zakat House is to support these charities by offering services that cater to their size and needs. In reality – does a charity which has one person coordinating its work really need anything more than one desk with phone and internet connection?

We have to encourage these new charities to work transparently and diligently to make sure that the money and aid that is donated to them reaches the beneficiaries for which it was raised.

Charities don’t work for profit or loss – they work to achieve something that is greater morally, spiritually and with a greater humanitarian and community spirit.

Come and join the Zakat House family.

November 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

Security in my humanitarian space

The Humanitarian Space - Would you like to join?

By Dr. Hany El Banna

Security means safety, stability, sustainability and productivity. While my humanitarian space means my rights, dignity, privacy and ability to develop my country.

But why are we talking about my humanitarian space? Because it is a basic human right for each and every one of us. This is my main philosophy. This is the main philosophy behind the creation of Zakat House. Financial security for small and start up charities that want to carry out humanitarian works – a home for them in the heart of London’s West End.

We did not only want an empty space for these organisations – a desk, computer or individual- but we wanted to give them an interactive humanitarian space and experience, to bridge the gap between them and other start up organisations and allow the cross fertilisation of thoughts, dreams, visions and the dynamic cohesive productivity towards common solutions.

Early this week, I saw the beginning of the fruits of this interactive, humanitarian, connective space. Abdurahman, the MCF coordinator asked me to draw a three year strategy for their organisation. I thought that this was not my job. This is either the job of a highly paid consultant costing up to £500 a day, or it is his job – because I believe that strategic thinking is not something you can only you can learn at Harvard, Oxford or Cambridge, but something that has been intrinsically embedded inside every creation including birds, fish and reptiles.

Instead of talking to Abdurahman individually we called Fatima from the International HIV Fund, Abubaker from Zakat House and Rahma from the Somali Relief and Development Forum. We all sat together around one table to discuss how they can think strategically and effectively about their goals and objectives.

Once they started their own discussion, I pulled out and I watched from behind the glass door, and felt the heat of the motivated discussion amongst them. I smelled the scent of the beautiful fragrance of the flying, argumentative humanitarian thoughts between the four organisations.

Then I saw, the bonding result of the intellectual cross fertilisation process amongst them. After two sessions each lasting 90 minutes, they managed to structure the process of strategic thinking, which was more valuable than a consultant’s colourful presentation or handout. The outcome of this interactive bonding, productive humanitarian space was:

  1. Building confidence in the hearts of the coordinators.
  2. Enabling them to think loudly and collectively for a common goal
  3. To create the teamwork not amongst members of the same organisation but amongst DIFFERENT organisations.
  4. To incite their common vision, common objectives and leadership quality.
  5. To save time that was going to be utilised by a consultant.
  6. To save the £500-£1000 that a consultant could be charging us.
  7. To cement the infrastructure of the social fabric of society empire multi storey building.

While having my lunch with another organisation in the kitchen, Fatima from IHIVF, came to make her presentation to reflect the recipe of our new cuisine which has been cooked elegantly in the Anglo, Pakistani, Indo-African kitchen of our organisations. Please come and have a bite! I can tell you it tastes mmmmmm……

October 28, 2011 at 9:34 am Leave a comment

Reading… it helps!

By Mohammad Shakir

This year’s International Literacy Day is focusing on the link between literacy and peace.

The link between reading and peace is an interesting one. Let’s have a look shall we? Reading can lead to a greater understanding about a subject, person or initiative. I was taught from a young age that knowledge and information is the greatest currency here on this earth. It can lead to a rich life, not just materially, but personally and spiritually.

For example, say you are a plus one at a wedding at a table where you know absolutely no one. Knowledge on current affairs, sports, entertainment or philosophy (take your pick) can be the kick starter to a rich and fulfilling conversation with the person sitting next to you. So instead of being bored and looking at your face in the back of a spoon, you can engage and interact with others around you.

Gaining knowledge is an important part of life. For those of us lucky to do so, get a chance to go to school and formally learn about a variety of subjects, much of which wouldn’t be possible or fully appreciate if we can’t read. Indeed, without literacy skills, I doubt you would be reading this blog.

So this International Literacy Day how about we pick up a book and read, if we have children, read them a bedtime story or help one of the one in six adults around the world that can’t read. Reading can make a difference and those of us that can, shouldn’t take it for granted.

September 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm 2 comments

I am new to this, can you help me?

By Mohamed Mohamed

When a new Muslim sister comes to Islam, we as Muslim all rejoice and so do the angel and animals on earth and the sky. The person is about to undergo so many changes from waking up in the middle of the night, eats, their social settings also; everything about their way of life is about to change.

The beauty of Islam is that Allah does not expect you to go through radical changes and nor does the society if you’ve just turned to the rightly guided religion. No one denies you will face challenges and issues in all aspects but Allah has commanded Muslims to help those who are in need, and to make the transition as smooth as possible

Four years ago, I came across 2 twins who had just recently embraced Islam. I realised that their cousin was married to one of my uncles. At first, the communication between us was lacking as there was nothing in common with us, but as I went abroad to do my studies that I kept in close contact with both of them. I spoke to them about all matters of life and why they chose to embrace Islam, what has Islam given to them. They lived in Ipswich which I spent a month doing my medical attachment at the local hospital.

On Saturdays they attended Islamic classes for new Muslims. I was surprised at how well a positive message was emphasised during the class, which was made coherent and easy to understand. The number of convert Muslims that lived in that area was pretty impressive for a small city – Islam really is a growing religion.

I usually have a few questions when a new Muslim comes to Islam. How will they cope? What is their impression of Islam? What support do they get from the Muslim community? Are their family angry and have they abandoned them?

When one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad SAW was tortured and beaten because he refused to take any other deity of worship other than Allah, upon his release the people around him gave him so much support and love. When someone says I want to talk to you, they have chosen you specifically because they think that you might be able to help them maybe they want your support and help because you’re a good listen. So are we doing enough to helping the new Muslims?

Can you help a revert Muslim sister? Donate to Solace via Zakat House today.

August 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm 2 comments

Doesn’t exist? Yeah right

By Mohamed Mohamed

Domestic violence exists in all quarters of our society. This is not to say domestic violence is a Muslim problem. In England domestic violence takes place every 2 minutes. Unfortunately men are also victims, the majority are women. To those of us who know Islam and the Quran, violence against women is against the teachings of Islam that we look at those who use our religion against us as misguided, misinformed or malicious.

Many sisters who come together and talk about their problems they are facing, often find they are not able to articulate themselves properly because the person listening doesn’t have enough experience to offer legal or emotional guidance or she is too shy to talk about it because she hasn’t built enough bridge of trust to talk about such personal issues.

Under no circumstances is violence against women encouraged or allowed in Islam. The holy Qur’an contains tens of verses extolling good treatment of women. The verse couldn’t be clearer that the relationship between men and women is to be one of kindness, mutual respect, and caring. Added to these verses is the inescapable fact that the Prophet vehemently disapproved of men hitting their wives, and that he never in his entire life hit any woman or child.

In his last sermon, Prophet Muhammad told us “O people, to be kind to women as you have rights over your wives, and they have rights over you.” He also said, “Treat your women well, and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers“. In a saying of the Prophet, he said, “The strong man is not the one who can use the force of physical strength, but the one who controls his anger” (Bukhari).

When I read stories in the newspapers about women being subject of domestic violence that even leads to them being mentally affected and scarred for life needing psychiatric help, it leaves a sour taste in the mouth and makes me think what the motive was? Was it greed, was it for power, was it pressure, and was it misunderstanding? Or could it be the fact that men feel a sense of insecurity and want to feel powerful so they subject women to mental and physical abuse. Or could it simply be he had a disagreement with his wife?

In any case we should have a zero tolerance approach against domestic violence whether it is against men, women or children.

All families should maintain open lines of communication between all of their members; by having regular family meetings where everyone is allowed to talk and convey themselves without any recriminations.

Marriage must be seen as a partnership, and marriage contracts should identify a vow to an abuse free and violence-free family. Extended families must bring to an end covering up mistreatment, abuse and violence in the name of “preserving the family honour”. Beyond all, the family, like the individual must keep Allah as its focal point.

This Ramadan, Zakat House is helping Nour DV fund-raise to raise awareness and stop domestic violence. You can donate to their project here.

August 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm 3 comments

The police and the community- partners in good time

Allah (SWT) tests us all in different ways, whether it’s through our accomplishments, children, wealth, our friends, our jobs, or our daily lives; we are getting tested to see if we are grateful servants. He said in the Quran ‘do men think that they will be left alone on saying, “We believe”, and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false’. (Quran Surah 29:2)

I would be lying if I said that I was not scared of the recent events that have taken place in the UK. The rioting has made every one stand up and take notice. These youths mean business when they go out burning people’s homes, cars, and businesses that people have spent a lifetime building. The events have been absolutely out of order, revolting, distasteful, and sad. For a true believer this is a test from Allah especially this Ramadan, to increase our good deeds.

These thoughts arise when such events occur – a person lives in fear, a person becomes shattered, traumatised and by losing everything they become unable to live as they did before. We saw the riot police doing everything within their limited powers to alleviate the situation, but it was too much for them. It was not until today when I have discovered the hard work the police put in. The National Association Muslim police have stood up and are counted for, and I am very proud of what they have done for the United Kingdom and especially in my city, London.

The NAMP have become an integral part of the community, they have earned their respect and rightly so. Being in the front line of combating the riot, shows what true bravery is all about. NAMP educate our youth, outreach in the community, become mentors to young people, helping them find their direction.

Where charity starts at home, is there a better way than to show your appreciation to the National Association of Police than helping them help our community. Allah (SWT) has given us the opportunity again with the current riots that has taken place to return back to him, and show we are true servants and we are of those who can help.

At Zakat House we feel very privileged to have the NAMP as our partner and we are asking you in this current situation to show your full generosity and support to them.

By Mohamed Mohamed

August 11, 2011 at 4:04 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts


Muslim Bloggers Directory

Find Social Cause Activism & Activist Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
Blog Directory