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Muslim Perspectives

Donate an Hour a Week
By M. Hanif Lakdawala



There are many micro issues in the community which Muslims can help solve in their individual capacities.


As an individual Muslim, are we the net contributors towards the upliftment of our community or just the takers always demanding? What does it cost us in terms of time and money to contribute in our individual capacity?


Spare just one-hour in a week, serving the various needs of the society and you become the net contributor. Just look around your neighbourhood and you will find that there are perhaps, hundreds of people who deserve your one-hour per week. Your little efforts can change someone’s life for the better.


But unfortunately, many Muslims focus on getting into the existing social, educational and welfare organisations just to have a share in the power and to use it as a status symbol.


Is giving one hour in a week for the upliftment of the society so difficult? You may be rich or poor, illiterate or a scholar, employed or unemployed, it does not matter. First decide what you can do best? How can you help others? If possible, try to find out like-minded people and form a small group of 3-5 and start something which will benefit the society.


The biggest hurdle for starting social work is the attitude of those who initiate the efforts. Instead of focusing on what they themselves can give to the society, they start approaching people for help. This attitude is the result of focusing on the macro and national issues instead of tackling micro and local issues.


What are the micro issues we Muslims can help solve in our individual capacity? In urban areas, there are many issues which can be tackled with very little money and time.


Creating awareness about good civic habits: Muslim areas are generally dirty and Muslims are perceived as lacking good civic habits. Even an individual can speak on the subject of sanitation in the neighbourhood. It does not cost money. With minimum efforts, the Muslim neighbourhood will change forever. If one person initiates the efforts, like-minded people will join and Almighty will make it a successful movement. What is required is just one hour a week by an individual who can initiate the efforts in the neighbourhood.


Make Mosque the place of social reform: Spending few minutes after Magrib prayers outside the mosque can initiate many reform movements in the locality. It is easy to interact with those who offer prayers in the same mosque as you. Just one person initiating the discussion outside the mosque and definitely few will agree to contribute to initiate social reforms in the vicinity.


Spread literacy: No doubt the community as a whole is focusing on education, but it is neglecting literacy. There are hundreds of illiterates in our neighbourhood who are exploited by anti-social elements. If individuals devote one hour per week educating these illiterates, who cannot be accommodated in the formal education system, it will go a long way in empowering them.


Take care of street children: There are hundreds of Muslim street children who have a bleak future. If individuals spend one hour per week training them in the basic skills and helping them to earn a decent living, it will go a long way in securing their future. What does it take to make these children’s life better? Just a few words of solace and affection.


Teach driving if you own a car: Learning driving skills is out of reach for the poor. If you can teach driving even to one person in three months, at least he will be in a position to earn a decent living. You will be amongst those who contribute in generating jobs.


Give advice to Muslim organisations: Professional Muslims can give their expertise to the Muslim organisations to improve their functioning. Many of our education, social and welfare organisations cannot afford the service of the professionals. Muslim professionals should devote one hour every week giving free advice to these organisations.


Businessmen can guide the Muslim youth to start new ventures: If Muslim entrepreneurs devote some time motivating and guiding the youth from the neighbourhood, to start new ventures, the unemployment problem can be reduced. Many a time, lack of proper advice and guidance ruins the life of people. The entrepreneurs need to pass on their expertise to the younger generation and help them create their own ventures.


Keep watch on the neighbourhood: Few amongst us should always devote some time to keep track of all the activities in the neighbourhood. Any anti- social activity seen should be reported to the relevant authority. Misuse and abuse of the civic property or place should not be tolerated.


If Individually, Muslims start contributing in making their neighbourhood better, all the stereotypes associated with the community will be erased and Muslims will feel empowered.


(The writer can be reached at mhl@rediffmail.com)