Urgent Relief Needed For Malawi

I am posting this on behalf of a very close friend of mine, Adnan Zulfiqar. He is doing some very needed work on behalf of the people of Malawi, who are attempting to recover after a spate of devastating floods. Please read and donate if you can.

Greetings all,

I hope this message finds you well in your respective places. I am writing to let you know (and solicit your support) for some work we are doing in Malawi (southern Africa) as a result of the recent floods that have devastated half the country. Malawi, as many of you know, is one of the poorest countries in Africa and heavily reliant on their agricultural economy, which has been shattered by these floods. In addition, there are significant fears about various diseases, like cholera, spreading as a result of the standing water.

A group of individuals I am involved with under the title Banja Umodzi (meaning “One Family” in Chichewa, the language spoken in Malawi) is organizing a multi-phase effort to help address some of the needs of Malawians impacted by these floods. Specifically, we will be focusing on the town of Phalombe (and its surrounding areas). We are initially hoping to support 100 families with their basic needs through relief packages we are putting together. These packages will support an entire family for one week. They include both household and food items. The cost of one package is $25. The packages will be delivered directly to Phalombe by our team based in Blantyre. All of your donations will go to relief – Banja Umodzi will cover all administrative costs. Our hope is to provide additional relief over the next month or so as the rainy season concludes. This additional aid will include medicines as well.

The next phase will be rebuilding. We are still working out the details, but our hope is to build 50 homes in the Phalombe area. These homes will contain multiple rooms, be made of concrete and brick and be able to withstand these floods. The construction will be done by local builders in Phalombe with the goal of supporting the local economy as well. We currently approximate that the cost of 1 home for a family of 5 will be $300. Stay tuned for details.

If you would like to donate, please visit www.youcaring.com/1malawi for more details.

To learn more about the situation in Malawi, you can read the following article: www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/jan/14/malawi-flooding-torrential-rain-mozambique.

Thank you in advance for your kindness.



Keeping An Eye On Your Neighbors

There is no doubt we live in disturbing times. From acts of public violence, international (and perhaps even national) drone strikes and of course the ever looming economic woes, it’s easy to put one’s head in the sand. After all, how can any one of us solve these immense problems? And while it is true that no single one of us is likely to bring the Syrians peace or end hunger in Chad, we need not neglect the opportunities right under our collective noses: our neighbors.

Living in a city like Philadelphia, the rich and the not-so-rich often occupy similar spaces: public transportation for one. Neighborhoods are buttressed up against one another where a block that is considered “sketchy” often transforms into a gentrified urban paradise within a matter of a block or two. Living this modern life allows me glances and vignette’s into other people’s lives. But what is not so apparent for many of us are the lives that get little media attention and play, which is why I was reminded and relieved about a story broadcast on NPR today, during their All Things Considered segment about seniors and what these new sequester cuts will mean for them. In the story, an 82-year-old woman, tells how she depends on charitable services like Meals on Wheels just to be able to eat. It was a very touching story, one we do not hear often enough: how our seniors live.

Like many of you, my inbox is flooded with requests for this or that charity, particularly for Muslim charities. While I have no truck with these charitable organizations, so much of the American Muslim imagination is projected “overseas.” This is not to detract to those genuine needs (I myself contribute to them on a regular basis) but we should also not forget the need, and the good, we could be doing here. You may be thinking to yourself, “but I already give to x, y and z charity.” It’s simple, if we as a community — one which has been blessed with tremendous wealth as the Pew study showed us — then it’s not so much the individual contributions but the collective one. After having spoken with representatives from such organizations as Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging, it’s not the single huge amounts that make the impact, but medium or even small ones does consistently. This makes full sense given what our Prophet ﷺ said about deeds:

‏أحب العمال إلى الله تعالى أدومها وإن قلّ‏

“The acts most pleasing to God are those which are done continuously, even if they are small.” – Prophet quoted by ‘A’ishah from Sahih Muslim.

Perhaps MSA’s could have a monthly bake sale that could take those proceeds and donate them to a local charity. Mosques could also have monthly donation programs in which small sums could be collected from attendees. These ideas are suggestive and not meant to be exhaustive. Rather, it’s my hope we’ll spend some time individually and collectively thinking of creative ways we can all give more though many of us have less. Some food to think about the next time I — we — sit down to a table that’s spread with more than enough food for us to eat.

Drexel MSA Fast-A-Thon

The Drexel MSA would like to invite you to its Ramadan Fast-A-thon that will be held on August 20th. The goal of the Fast-A-Thon is to introduce Ramadan to the general public as a month of reflection on the world and religious activities that are meant to help achieve peace and tranquility. Also, it shows one of the meanings of fasting that is exemplified in recognizing the value of simple things, such as food and water, being mindful of their source, and also experiencing the difficult situations of people all over the world who are hungry due to lack of food. For this purpose, the money fundraised during the event will go to a charity organization, helping to alleviate hunger and homelessness in Philadelphia. The guest speaker will be none other than yours truly.

The event will take place in City View Room on the 6th floor of MacAlister (33rd st and Chestnut) from 7:30pm to 9:30pm on Friday, August 20th. To pledge to fast, please follow the link:


Drexel’s MSA will be hosting its annual Fastathon this Friday, August 20th. Money raised at the event will go towards helping Pakistan’s flood victims. If you’re in Philadelphia this Friday, please consider supporting them in their effort.