Posts tagged ‘Unity’

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

A warmer winter for UK Charities

By Mohammad Shakir

Anyone that followed the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement this afternoon will have noticed that he announced an exemption on paying VAT for charities which share services and resources such as staff and IT equipment.

This is a major positive step as the current economic climate has led to charities downsizing such as Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) moving in with the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in summer next year in order to save costs.

At Zakat House, we have a growing number of small charities and organisations that share resources such as IT services and marketing and communications staff.

The exemption is mandatory and was introduced under European law in 1977, but has never been applied in the UK. This will help our partner organisations such as the Muslim Charities Forum and the Small Charities Coalition as well as charities that are based at Zakat House.

Our dream is to ensure that new and growing charities get a chance to achieve their goals through offering them affordable office space and the chance to plug their resource gaps by sharing resources with their fellow charities.

We also encourage all charities to share their experiences so that all can learn from the best practice of another.

So we welcome the Chancellor’s exemption on VAT – but we are also aware that there is so much more work to be done to ensure that the charity sector can weather this financial storm.

To find out more about what Zakat House can offer – click here.

November 29, 2011 at 4:41 pm Leave a comment

Viral violence to viral community action

By Mohammad Shakir

The events of the last few days have been etched into the minds and hearts of people all around the UK and the world. London, the former heart of a world empire has fallen into disarray. What began as a peaceful protest on Saturday evening has descended into mass chaos and destruction.

Communities in the UK need to stand together. We have already seen communities in Clapham, Croydon and Hackney come together to clean up the aftermath of all the property that had been ransacked.

There has been much anger from people, decrying the fact that the policing has been ineffective; that the parenting of the generation that have spent the past three nights looting and rampaging around London and other cities in the UK is to blame for their behaviour.

There are apologists saying that the state has failed this generation that government cuts have led to the closure of youth centres and services which could help these young people who may have lost their way.

Do we listen to the youth? Or shall we take a soft approach or do we support a tough approach from the police? What do you think?

One thing is for sure, one thing is for certain we need to help and work with our local communities. They are in need of our support as much as people who are affected by people affected by natural disasters.

Over the past three days people have lost their homes and livelihoods because of a minority. It is time to help our friends, neighbours – our community on our doorstep.

Let the theme of charity begins at home, help us unite and act in a positive way. Regardless of faith, gender or race; we must make our stand against anarchy. Together.

August 9, 2011 at 3:02 pm Leave a comment

The Life of Muhammad (PBUH) – Episode 3

By Mohammad Shakir

Last night, the BBC concluded their series of the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). If you missed it, you can watch here on BBC iPlayer.

For a show that is one hour long, it covered a multitude of topics. Rageh Omar looked at the later period of Prophet Muhammad’s life as well as focusing on the Qur’anic revelations that form the basis of Sharia and the contemporary understanding and application of Sharia. Time was also devoted to the marriages of the Prophet especially to Aisha (RA). Most importantly the show gave a greater understanding of Jihad as a struggle rather than today’s misconception of “holy war”.

This show however reiterated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a man of peace. In the words of the documentary, “His greatest conquest was through peace, not war”.

Another point which I hope viewers got for the show was one about the context of the period in which the Prophet lived and how verses and instructions in the Qur’an related to the context in which they were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) .

All three shows have had a variety of contributors and commentators, who hold a variety of views. The BBC is beholden by a charter to show balance within their news and current affairs output.

As I mentioned in a post about the last episode, we should focus on the positives from this series. It has shown the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to a mainstream audience. It has shown and addressed controversial aspects with balance and poise. It may be seen that some don’t agree with points that commentators on the show holds, but much like Prophet Muhammad (PBUH); we should look past this, as all people are allowed to hold their own views.

I hope that with Ramadan upon us, all Muslim aspire to message that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) left for us and the Qur’an and Sunnah.

July 26, 2011 at 10:02 am 1 comment

The Million Pound Drop

By Mohammad Shakir

We have seen different aid agencies, under the umbrella of the DEC, begin a fundraising campaign to help those in East Africa affected by the drought. At the last count, around £8 million has been raised.

With Ramadan coming up soon, there are a couple of lessons we should take out time over and reflect upon.

Ramadan is a time of personal and family reflection on how our lives and those who aren’t waiting for new movie about a boy wizard to come out or next product from a certain fruit based company. They are worrying about whether they will eat today or how will they receive medical attention for something simply easily treatable like glaucoma.

Yes, we can help those affected by the drought through donating, and that is highly commendable, but there are other ways we can benefit ourselves. The power of someone praying and thanking God for His generosity and help is beyond belief.

We can demonstrate true compassion and gratefulness for the blessing that have been bestowed upon us by making changes in our lives. We can become a bit humble and treat others as we wish to be treated, regardless of race, creed or colour.

Happiness is more than just our material possessions. Ensuring that our children grow up to be well mannered and responsible can make us happy. Do your duty as a being on this earth and looking after it can make us all happy.

We should be grateful about the situation that we are in and remember that there are many people who are not as lucky as we are. Alongside donating money, we should we should look within ourselves and improve them as well.

18 days to go…. Are you ready!

July 13, 2011 at 3:42 pm Leave a comment

Youth in Europe: From fiction to reality

As I am sure you are aware, Zakat House is based in London, UK. Yes, we have an office and staff at a certain location, but the Zakat House concept or model is bigger than that.

It is an idea that can transcend borders and be a model that can work in any community. Our values are universal values. Many, if not all of the articles in the EU Convention on Human Rights are important to the way Zakat House helps charities and communities. In tandem with Islamic values, the Zakat House model can help all parts of the community in all countries ranging from Norway to Portugal.

Zakat House attended FEMYSO’s European Muslim Youth Conference, which brought together around 100 different young European Muslims under one roof. The activities varied from talks, discussions, debates and workshops. The spirit of unity was amazing with all attendees representing youth charities in their respective countries which deal with various issues from crime prevention to alcohol abuse across the wider community. They all have to be congratulated not just for attending and being active but for tackling such enormous social challenges that developed countries cannot even resolve.

Zakat House introduced the concept of social entrepreneurship and how Islam fosters such action for humanity. Amazing ideas came about as a result of the intense workshops on topics including solving alcohol problems in Sweden, educational issues in France and green initiatives in Germany to reduce the strain on the environment.

July 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm Leave a comment

Not only in our dreams Part 2

Sincere supplication is always a good start...

Delivered by Dr. Hany El Banna, Chairman of Zakat House, at the world Economic Forum Annual Meeting in 2005 Davos, Switzerland,

 As for life resources, they are for all of us to share. There is more than enough for all people to share; probably enough to cover more than is required. The creator of the world has provided it with enough resource to secure the life of its inhabitants. If all people believed in human rights, sharing, and giving, the world would change. So, if we all believed in human rights, everyone would have

rights in other people’s wealth, and a Muslim would give the Christian for the sake of the Creator who created the resource of life according to the needs of people. That would lead us to the principle of sharing where all are equal. The

rich with their money are as equal as the poor with intelligence and work. So, the creative poor would feel that they are equal partners with the rich to keep the wheel of life going.   Then comes the principle of ‘giving’. The meaning of giving is more

comprehensive than donating or offering something in charity. Rather, it comes out of love to offer to please the Creator Almighty. It does not come as a charity or for gaining political, economic, social or intellectual interests, otherwise it would not be done for the sake of the Giver, God, and so we accept destiny, share resources, establish human rights and enhance the spirit of giving. A life which establishes a right for the world, where all are equally responsible.  The right that is due to the world is that we have to build and develop it and plan to please its people. The right due to its people is establishing rights, achieving

justice and founding the base of divine brotherhood amongst humanity. Establishing rights is a very big matter that includes so many issues. It is like an encyclopaedia of endless volumes and chapters.   The belief in humanitarian brotherhood is the foundation of establishing rights, which does not discriminate between people, nor does it exclude anyone.

A brotherhood that unites us to work towards pleasing the Creator through helping one another. The next foundation is establishing rights and justice; absolute justice that is free from prejudice. Justice, that stems from desiring welfare for all, and pleasing the Creator as well as His creatures. Justice, that would not wrong the foe for the sake of the friend. Justice that brings happiness, comfort and warms the hearts of all. Justice, that never ends. Justice of which the fruits can be smelt and brightness can be seen, even from a distance. Justice that can make dreams come true. Justice, that achieves self-recognition for all humans as it is we humans who are the foundation for establishing that justice. If we believe in a brotherhood that unites us and life that is based on justice,

We can then establish rights; rights that include humans, animals, birds, water, climates, topographic relief, insects, seas, and fish. Rights that we give to life, and life makers including children, women, men, family, society, state, ethnicities, nationalities, religions and faiths. Rights can never be achieved unless we establish the absolute justice, which is based on true brotherhood, and freedom of speech. This absolute justice should also represent our deep belief in freedom of faith, thought, views, and living. In achieving freedom we, also, have to consider the rights that are due to the life we lead. So, we should not try to deform the nature of life by bending its common sense or changing its fundamentals and origination. It is wrong to believe that one, however strong they are, can change the origination of life. So, let us work together towards establishing a free world of brotherhood, love, and justice. A world, where rights are protected by its shade.

June 22, 2011 at 1:42 pm Leave a comment

Not only in our dreams Part 1

Patience is a virtue, only few can master.

Delivered by Dr. Hany El Banna, Chairman of Zakat House, at the world Economic Forum Annual Meetingin 2005 Davos, Switzerland,

This world has one destiny and resource. That means we have to believe in the
destiny of our brothers and sisters in China and share with them in that destiny.
So, we respond with happiness and joy if that destiny is good, and by help and
relief if that destiny is bad. A world where people in one part would feel the
pain of people in the other part; where the satiated people of the North would
feed the hungry of the South; and when people of the North go astray, the
people of the middle would guide them. When the individual anywhere becomes
needy, people from all over the world would extend their hands to help him; if
a stranger dies people would feel sad for him and children ask” Has he died out
of hunger, need or illness, while we were idling away in luxury?” If the answer is
yes, all would feel guilty.

Such is the reality imposed by the divine destiny. In some places you may find
a green rich land, whereas in others you may find a wasteland. Some people are
famous for education, some others for business, and so on and so forth, in this
world that is full of its joy and sorrow.

So, this way of life would achieve the principle of integration, and a world
which does not believe in futuristic strategies, which delays funds and efforts,
while millions of people are dying and suffering from deprivation. Nor do
they believe in inflation of bank accounts, or storing millions of tons of food
items to keep their price value, or other strategies that aim to normalise disaster,

death, illness and ignoring others’ suffering. A reality that does not believe in
monopolization of view, thought, money, human or natural resources, but
a reality that would activate all of the aforementioned, to please humanity.
A reality that does not believe in secrecy or fear of promoting new inventions,
instead shares them with other people. A reality that does not believe in
singularity, but promotes consultation and democracy.

A reality, that does not have a master and a slave, or a noble and serf, but one where all people are as equal as the teeth of a comb.

June 21, 2011 at 11:37 am Leave a comment

The HIV Club

This is a cross-post with the International HIV Fund

Delivered by Abubaker Adam

Today is our first Kuttbah using the medium of social media. The reason behind this is that we want to make Kuttbah available to mainstream channels and to also include the whole of Humanity. So let us begin our first ever Kuttbah over social media.

In the name of God, the most Beneficent the most Merciful.

Humans across the planet experience illness and suffering; sometimes it feels like it is part of the job description of a human being.

These illnesses teach us many lessons; let us explore just two of them:

Lesson 1 is that we must show deep levels of respect, understanding, sensitivity and reactive response to ease human suffering and treat sufferers as we would like to be treated.

Lesson 2 tells us: don’t celebrate the illness, get involved in the solution.   Many HIV focused organisations and NGOs concentrate on just raising awareness. We must ensure that the culture of “just raising awareness” doesn’t defeat the original objective and purpose of curing the actual disease. Each individual in society must play a very active role in recognising that positive action combined with faith will ease the pain, and increase the momentum for social change.

I firmly believe that Muslim individuals can play a very significant role in fighting HIV through deep compassion, knowledge and saddaqah (regular financial donations). Unfortunately if they fail to do so, it means Muslims have become a new joining member of the world club as a result of neglecting the HIV victim called “HIV” which stands for “Hide It’s Visibility”.

Finally, the least we can do is remember those suffering with the disease in our prayers and continue to support them through our voice, because they remain human. Let’s not forget we have been blessed for not carrying such a disease; let us share our thoughts and prayers and genuinely help them where we can without any discrimination relating to race, colour, gender, and religious beliefs.

May 27, 2011 at 6:30 am Leave a comment

Which path to choose?

By Usman Mir

The Prophet (PBUH) was the personification of moderation. He taught us to be moderate in everything we do, even to be moderate in our good deeds. Extremism is an alien character trait to a Muslim and the religion of Islam.

At the risk of trivialising the issue, I would like to demonstrate the need for moderation in everything we do. It is a well know fact that eating carrots promotes overall eye health. However an overindulgence of carrots can result in a condition called Carotenemia, which can lead to skin discolouration. Simply put, too much of anything (even good things), is bad for us.

How is this related to my previous blogs you may be wondering? The easy answer to that is – competition. Competition when practised moderately is a wonderful aspect of human nature. It allows us to excel, reach new heights, expand our horizons and innovate – basically competition makes us better. This applies to every walk of life, be it sport, academia, business, technology. However, unhealthy levels of competition are just as destructive if not more, in every walk of life– resulting in drug taking, cheating, corporate espionage, nuclear arms races and war. Too much competition, as per the golden rule is bad for us.

Muslim charities find themselves in a situation, where the competition for funding and resources is a fact of everyday life. It goes with the territory of being a Muslim charity. In moderation this competition, can bring out the best in the organisations, promoting transparency, cost efficiency, and innovation. Within this environment of moderate competition, collaboration amongst charities could flourish as a legitimate manner of innovation and improvement.

However, moving beyond the realms of healthy competition, would be like “moving over to the dark side”, to pinch a quote from Star Wars. It will lead to the ‘us and them’ mentality; organisations will become territorial beasts, looking to ensure they always receive the lion’s share of the funding pot – irrespective of whether they actually need it or not. This overzealous attitude will eventually annihilate any possibility of constructive collaboration and most of all destroy the atmosphere of striving to excel in helping those less fortunate than ourselves.

May 24, 2011 at 11:52 am Leave a comment

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