A Unique Community Service and Outreach Model
For the last 4 years, an NGO in Kolkata has developed a unique model of community service and outreach in the month of Prophet Muhammad’s birth (Rabiul Awwal). Called ‘Prophet Muhammad Week’, its seven themes emphasise connecting, serving and conveying the Prophet’s message to the people.
Conceived in 2016 by Abdul Rahim, founder of The Sirri Saqti Foundation (TSSF) a volunteer-based NGO in Kolkata the message has spread far and wide and is being replicated in several cities across India this year. The premise is simple “ instead of just talking about Prophet Muhammad’s message, let us live it through seven themes (hence the week reference) during the month of his birth. This year, the programmes under Prophet Muhammad Week will be undertaken during November 2019.
The seven themes are:
‘If you have a sapling in your hand, plant it even if it is the Last Hour.’
The Prophet’s message of doing the smallest good deed to preserve nature, protect the environment and avoid waste are critical in today’s context of caring for the planet. Under this theme, participants are to take up activities that will help in cleaning and greening our environment. For example:
“¢ Road and Drains Cleaning
“¢ Plantation of Trees in roads / parks
“¢ Sapling Distribution
“¢ Cleaning, Watering, Protecting Trees
“¢ Efforts for Environment Protection and Water Conservation
“¢ Awareness about Cleanliness and Environment.
‘If you cook some soup, add extra water and send some to your neighbour ‘
Prophet Muhammad emphasised maintaining and building good relations at all levels. Starting from the immediate family to neighbours, society and even to adversaries, he took that extra step to maintain relations. Under this theme, participants can take up activities to build connection, mutual respect and love in the community. They can include:
“¢ Re-connecting with distant / disconnected family members
“¢ Visit and Gifts to neighbours and friends
“¢ Helping Others (disabled, poor)
“¢ Water / juice / fruit distribution in public
‘If you show mercy to those on the earth, He who is in the Heaven will show mercy on you.’
Taking care of those who have nobody to take care of them, is a great service and an easy way to win Allah’s love. Prophet Muhammad laid the foundation of a balanced, supportive welfare model for the deserving. Heemphasised taking care of the orphans,the uncared, the unwell, the forsaken.All those who had no one, had the Prophet. Under this theme, take up activities such as:
“¢ Food Distribution to poor
“¢ Clothes / Blankets Distribution to poor
“¢ Visit to Orphanage
“¢ Visit to Old Age Home
“¢ Visit to Hospitals / Sick
“¢ Distribution of Wheelchairs / Walking Sticks etc
“¢ Distribution of livelihood aids
“¢ Relief to the needy and poor
Deal gently with the people, and be not harsh; cheer them and condemn them not.
Peace is one of the meaning of ‘Islam’, ‘Peace’ to one other is also what is wished when the traditional ‘Assalamu Alaikum’ is spoken. Peace (SALAAM) is also one of the names / attributes of God. Peace is also what Prophet Muhammad came to establish in the world. Under this Theme, strive to convey this message of Peace and Spirituality that is the essence of Islam and the message of the Prophet. Take up initiatives such as:
“¢ Signature Campaign against Violence / Terrorism
“¢ Peace Walk by School Children
“¢ Talks / Literature distribution on Islam’s message of Peace
“¢ Inter-faith dialogue events
“¢ Open House / Visits to Mosques / Madrasahs for Public.
There are two blessings which many people waste: good health
and free time.
Health is one of the greatest gifts of God. And to help others recover/ retain it is one of the best ways to serve. Prophet Muhammad adopted a scientific approach and encouraged medicines for every disease. His emphasis on items like dates, honey and black-seed for medicinal use are being acknowledged by science today. Under this theme, you can take up initiatives such as:
“¢ Medical Checkup Camp
“¢ Blood Donation Camp
“¢ Screening Camps for Cataract, Sugar etc.
“¢ Health / Sanitation Awareness Event
“¢ Events on Prophetic Medicine.
“The best gift to children from parents is their correct education and training”
Without adequate education, training and learning, humans are unable to play their expected role in development of society and the world. Starting with the word ‘Iqra’, Islam and the Prophet placed great importance to correct learning for understanding, good conduct and effectiveness. Under this theme, you can take up events such as:
“¢ Visit to underprivileged schools for books / stationery distribution
“¢ Award and distribution of scholarships
“¢ Undertaking repair / water / toilet provision in an underprivileged school
“¢ Quiz / Essay Contest in Schools on Prophet Muhammad
“¢ Talk in Schools on Prophet Muhammad
“¢ Women’s Empowerment / Training Seminar
“¢ Education Awareness / Career Counselling Events.
“Convey mine (words / teachings), even if it is a single verse”
The only way to drive away darkness is to spread light. Hence, spreading the true message of Islam and Prophet Muhammad can dispel the wrong notions that some people have. Under his theme, you can share Prophet’s messages / quotes etc. or organise events based on his teachings and message. Suggested activities include:
“¢ Thank you Cards to those providing public services (police, nurses, fire-brigade etc.)
“¢ Badges / Stamps / Quote Stickers Distribution
“¢ Hoardings / Posters with Prophet’s Quotes
“¢ Small gifts / pens (with Prophet Muhammad’s quotes) to visitors / customers
“¢ Workshop / Conference on Prophet Muhammad
“¢ Positive articles in Media about Prophet Muhammad
“¢ Slots in Radio / Television
Since 2016 when this initiative was started, there have been more than 100 projects across the country in Kolkata, Howrah, Bangalore, Delhi, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Muzaffarpur etc. with great success. A common logo has been developed which is encouraged to be used by any individual or organization carrying out projects under this initiative. This and other resources are freely available to anyone from the website www.prophetmuhammadweek.com or by email to [email protected]
On social media, you can follow at fb.com/prophetweek and it’shashtag is #prophetweek
If you would like to take up any of these projects in November 2019, you can contact 8444057949 / 8100051555 for any assistance you may need.