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For 16 Years, Sacramento Muslims Have Served Meals to Less Fortunate

For 16 Years, Sacramento Muslims Have Served Meals to Less Fortunate

SACRAMENTO – Muslims in Lodi, Sacramento have been serving food to the needy, for the past 16 years, on the first Sunday each month, helping the community and showing their true faith, Lodi News reported on February 5.

“As members of this community it’s our responsibility to help the people in our community because we’re all citizens of Lodi,” said Taj Khan, the president of Lodi California Islamic Center Mosque.

The idea of the free meal service was first suggested by Khan 16 years ago.

Over the past years, volunteers from the Muslim community helped him in hosting a meal at the Salvation Army to show how the Islamic Shari’ah demands the believers to give back to their community.

This past Sunday, Taj and Naseem Khan, the director of Lodi California Islamic Center Mosque’s Janazah Committee, in addition to Taj’s friend, Ehtesham Qamar, met to start cooking and preparing the food of each month.

They prepared a six-course meal featuring classic Pakistani flavors and paired it with traditional American side dishes. “We serve them a halal meal we like to eat, and one that I grew up eating,” Qamar said happily.

As American guests grabbed a tray from the line, many expressed their gratitude to the Muslim volunteers, thanking them and letting them know how much they enjoyed the meal’s ethnic and Islamic touch.

Taj is adamant about keeping the tradition going and passing it on to the next generation of American Muslim youths. Hence, he has gotten his daughter Zeest, an anesthesiologist at Adventist Health Lodi Memorial, and his grandchildren, ages 5 and 7, involved with the effort.

“Charity or Zakat is part of our faith, and that is what drives us to do this. But there is no hidden agenda. We do this because we’ve to help the people around us. We’re responsible for one another as human beings, regardless of our differences,” Taj explained.

Sacramento is located in California where the largest Muslim community in the United States is found.

Muslims represent no more than 1% of the state’s total population according to Pew’s 2014 report. The majority of them reside in Southern California.

For Years, Kazi Mannan, the owner of Sakina Halal Grill in Washington DC, has been offering free meals to homeless on a daily basis to honor his mother’s traditions.

In Islam, catering for the needs of those underprivileged is a duty and obligation.

Allah Almighty says:

{And they give food in spite of love for it (or for the love of Him, i.e. Allah) to the needy, the orphan, and the captive. [Saying], “We feed you only for the countenance of Allah . We wish not from you reward or gratitude. Indeed, We fear from our Lord a Day austere and distressful.”} (Al-Insan 76:8-10) 

A man asked the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him): “Which act in Islam is the best?” He (PBUH) replied, “To give food, and to greet everyone, whether you know or you do not.”


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