|Area Muslims Show Ramadan Spirit at DC Shelter|
|Community News - Community News|
|Written by Anhar Karim Muslim Link Staff Reporter|
|Thursday, 26 July 2012 08:45|
Muslim volunteers in the DC area smile as they prepare to serve food to the homeless.Photos courtesy of Irfan Aziz
“For me, I feel it is an obligation as a Muslim to help the less fortunate.” Said Irfan Aziz, a volunteer of the shelter visits, “The various Quranic verses and Ahadith enjoining charity are what resonated and drove us to volunteer.” Aziz explained how in the past he had worked with many organizations such as the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut and Monday Night Mission. He said these organizations would make an effort to do regular shelter visits and to serve food to the homeless. Aziz called the experiences, “gratifying and humbling.” When he moved to into the area he decided to organize a way for the Muslim community to get the same experiences.
The shelter that the volunteers donated to, Central Union Mission, is a Christian faith based organization that seeks to rehabilitate the needy through spiritual means. Their current program serves homeless men, underprivileged women, children, seniors, veterans and the growing Hispanic community. It is one of the oldest and most successful social service agencies in Washington D.C. But where is the Muslim equivalent of this?
Aziz explained how the Muslim community is very behind in this area. Bashar, a volunteer at the event, explained how it was disheartening to see how the Muslim community wasn’t doing it’s job to help needy people like the shelter was. Bashar explained, “We have a lot to do to catch up in those places.” Aziz hopes to continue regularly visiting and donating food at Central Union Mission, but he also hopes to one day open a Muslim homeless shelter.
The volunteers were able to serve over 125 people at the visit and everyone was able to eat to their heart’s content. Aziz believes that visits like these always, “remind one of the many luxuries they possess but may take for granted.” Yusuf, another volunteer, expressed how it felt good to give back to the community, and he also learned how he had many advantages in life others didn’t. Yusuf explained how this was also a great form of dawah because the shelter saw that Muslims were the ones giving food. Yusuf said it was dawah even though “we didn’t even have to say a word.” Aziz says that these visits help clear up the augmented image of Muslims in America.
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