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Muslim Student Association

What do you hold near and dear to you? What do you value? Your laptop, your phone, your car, your score on Flappy Bird? Do these possessions carry a higher position within your life than life itself? Sometimes you have to take things into perspective. Your heart may skip a beat when you think you misplaced your phone, but does your heart do the same knowing that a child somewhere in the world may not have a place to sleep, food to eat, water to drink? Has your heart grown cold, and numb? Muslims are warned against indifference towards others and their hardships. Although you may see people caring for each other day to day, many forget to care for the people they do not see day to day.

There are five pillars or tenets of Islam. The first four pillars are: shahadah (verbal declaration of faith), salah (5 daily prayers), sawm (fasting and self-control during the month of Ramadan), and hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). The fifth and final pillar of Islam is zakat (charity). Zakat is the obligation of a Muslim to provide a part of their income towards charity, or to perform voluntary deeds towards a beneficial cause. The basic premise is that one should want for their neighbor what they would want for themselves. Not everyone is as lucky as you! On those days when you think your life is just so unbearably difficult, remember that there are people out there who could only dream of being in your shoes. Also, remember there are those who dream of even having shoes. They would love to gain your “first world problems” and forget their own problems.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is recorded to have said: “Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises.” He was then asked: “From what do we give charity every day?” The Prophet answered: “The doors of goodness are many…enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms–all of these are charity prescribed for you.” He also said: “Your smile for your brother (fellow man) is charity.” – Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 98. The messages and sayings of the prophet (pbuh), based on the teachings of Islam, are not just used as tools for becoming a better Muslim but as tools for becoming a better brother, sister, son, daughter, or friend.

Keeping these doctrines of Islam in mind, the MSA (Muslim Student Association) will be hosting an event called Countdown to Freedom that will be geared towards raising awareness and raising money for orphaned children. The MSA will open an opportunity on that day for you to help an orphan in need. The proceeds from the event will go towards Helping Hands an organization that host fundraisers like these and provides reputable services to orphaned children. Details will be posted on fliers across campus for the event. Do not miss out on this opportunity to help others, and make sure you drop by for the Countdown to Freedom event!

I’ll end with this verse from the holy Quran, Surat (chapter) al Ma’idah, ayat (verse) 32 “whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.” You can take this literally or you can see it as meaning you do not have to save the whole world, but you have to help people to the best of your ability. You do not have to physically save someone from death; instead, it could be through guidance or lending a helping hand that could save them. Remember, ignoring the problems in this world is like turning your back on your fellow man. Help others one at a time, and again do not forget to stop by for Countdown to Freedom event!

Noor Shahin & Nooruddin Hashmi

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