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After Hajj, I Feel The Need to Help Refugees

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A

Reply Date

Sep 14, 2016

Question

Since I made Hajj, I have returned with an immense sense of not only enlightenment and closeness to Allah (SWT), but also feelings of guilt and responsibility for all the refugees who suffer and wash ashore on countries who don't want them. How can I help?

Counselor

Answer


After Hajj, I Feel The Need to Help Refugees

Answer:

As Salamu ‘Alaikum,

Thank you for your most important question. One of the goals of Hajj is to revive and/or create compassion and equality amongst Muslims. Sadly, in our world today, there are many injustices, wars, devastations, and corrupt leaders. The state of our ummah is one that is critical.

Naturally, as your closeness to Allah (SWT) has increased, so has your sense of responsibility and feelings of guilt regarding those suffering, lost on shores in strange countries. In fact, Hajj gives the universal spirit of Islam. People of all races, colors, and nationalities go there. They become one people without any class or distinction. They look alike and do the same things. The spirit of Hajj is to foster unity and universal brotherhood and sisterhood among the believers. How can one experience the unity and brother/sisterhood of Hajj and go home not concerned for their sisters and brothers who are suffering? Your feelings, in fact, are a healthy sign that your humanity, your compassion has awakened. It is a good thing.

While the suffering of the refugees (and other’s living under oppressive, unbearable regimes) may not be a direct result of what we personally did, it nonetheless is incumbent upon us as Muslims, as human beings to do what we can, no matter how small we may perceive the deed to be. You may want to reflect upon the following hadiths:

“Allah does not show mercy to whoever does not show mercy to people.” (Tirmidhi)

Those who show mercy will be shown mercy by the Merciful [Lord.] Show mercy to those on earth, and He Who is in the heavens will show mercy to you.” (Abi Dawud)

As you can see, we are commanded to show mercy and love towards one another for the sake of Allah (swt) as well as trying to assist those in need. How one helps depends on your location, ability, and means. You may want to assist the refugees with food, water, assisting with employment, taking a family in your home for shelter and so on if you are in a location that is close to them. If you live far away, you may want to do a charity benefit, start a donation center for needed items such as food, clothes, and diapers and so on. You may also want to form a caravan of other Muslims who desire to travel to the location and assist.

There are many ways to help. Aboutislam suggests raising awareness and educating others; collect donation from family and friends; volunteer at a humanitarian organization that is involved in helping the refugees; become a Foreign Language tutor to assist the refugees in learning the country’s language; or form a welcoming committee for refugee’s in your area. While these are just some ways to help, there are others. Some Muslims are taking in refugee children who have lost their parents/family into their homes and going through the process of gaining legal rights to give them a permanent home and raise them in an Islamic environment. Others are writing letters and petitions to governments demanding that they allow refugees to find safety, hospitality, and resources upon their shores. Lastly, make du’aa’ to Allah (SWT) for du’aa’ is a powerful prayer.

“A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim – he does not wrong him nor does he forsake him when he is in a trouble; whosoever fulfills the needs of his brother, Allah fulfills his needs; whosoever removes distress from a believer, Allah removes from him one of the distresses of the Day of Resurrection; and whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults on the Day of Resurrection.” (Al-Bukhari)

You are in our prayers. May Allah (SWT) bless you and guide you in your endeavors to assist our displaced (refugee) and suffering sisters and brothers.

Salam,

***

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About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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