News / USA

US Muslims Focus on Charity During Ramadan

Muslims Fast While Feeding Families in Needi
X
July 26, 2013 9:46 PM
Muslims who observe the holy month of Ramadan refrain from eating or drinking from dawn to dusk for one month. Many also take the time to volunteer because one of the five pillars of Islam is Zakat, charitable giving. VOA's Julie Taboh reports for VOA.
Muslims Fast While Feeding Families in Need
Muslims who observe the holy month of Ramadan refrain from eating or drinking from dawn to dusk for one month.

Many also take the time to volunteer because one of the five pillars of Islam is Zakat, charitable giving.

Volunteering

Ehsan Baig, a practicing Muslim, is observing Ramadan with prayers and fasting.

And on this day, at a high school cafeteria in Herndon, Virginia, he and his family are helping to prepare bags of fresh fruits and vegetables for distribution to families in need.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to come here and help out, to give the community back something, and plus bring all my kids, my children, so they can learn how the food is distributed among the unfortunate people,” he said. “This is a huge, huge part of our religion, especially during Ramadan it is said when you give something, God multiplies it 70 times or more.”

Baig’s daughter Rabia, 15, seems to have taken that lesson to heart.

“I’m here because, I mean it’s Ramadan. I want to emphasize the giving not just the praying. I want to feel why I am fasting. I want to feel these other people, how they’re living their lives without food, without water,” she said. “When you give the food and you give anything you’re giving them, they’re always saying ‘thank you’ with huge smiles and you feel so good about yourself.”

Food drive

The food drive, called “Herndon without Hunger” is run by a non-profit group called FAITH (The Foundation for Appropriate and Immediate Temporary Help),  which has organized this event in Herndon every week during Ramadan for the past nine years.

The mission of the organization is to provide social services to members of the local population, from all faiths and backgrounds.

“On my way to the school today, I saw people walking -- it’s about 97 degrees outside today -- with their children, with umbrellas just to come and stand for about two, three hours in a line to receive food,” said Somayyah Ghariani, who coordinates the program. “So that within itself I think explains how important it is for these families to come out here and receive the fresh produce that they may not be able to find anywhere else.”

Volunteers, both Muslim and non-Muslim, work side-by-side to distribute basic food staples such as oil and rice and fresh fruits and vegetables. The food comes from local businesses, food banks and grocery stores.

Community effort

Rizwan Jaka and his family have attended the food drive for the past several years.

"We're here to participate in this wonderful program… to help those in need, to help our neighbors and friends to make sure that we're providing and sharing of our wealth and sharing of our food," he said.

Mikaeel Jaka, 12, who has been volunteering at the event for the past four years, says the recipients at the food drive are “people just like me.”

“And so I want to make sure that they’re treated equally also," Mikaeel said. "And giving them food and seeing them smile and saying thank you makes me feel really good.”

Food recipient Sylvia Morgan heard about Herndon Without Hunger from a friend.

“He called me up and told me about it and he knew that I needed help and I’m here,” she said tearfully. “When you’re on a tight budget, it really counts a lot. And I really appreciate it."

Imam Johari, director of outreach at the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center just outside Washington, says that's one of the principles of Ramadan.

"The Prophet said you are not a Muslim if you go to bed with your stomach full, and your neighbor is hungry,” he said. “We try to live that, especially in the month of Ramadan.”

Last year FAITH distributed food to more than 7,000 individuals. The group expects to exceed that number by the end of Ramadan.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 26, 2013 9:18 PM
I feel like understand the goodwill of Muslims especially during Ramadan. Yet I have something to be answered. First, gifts are not always come from donation of local businesses, food banks or grossary stores but from properties of Muslims themselves? Second, they also help those who are in great difficulties for nothing even without thanks from recipients? I am sorry to be a bit spiteful to Muslims. Thank you.
In Response

by: Kat from: usa
July 27, 2013 2:54 PM
that is ok Yoshi alot of us are a bit spiteful..

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More