When the mosques closed their doors due to the pandemic, a Rochdale mosque asked its members to collect food in their homes for food banks.
The Jalalia Jaame mosque in Rochdale organized the food drive to make sure the less fortunate don’t go hungry this winter.
Scores of Muslim families and 80 students from Rochdale Islamic Academy responded to the mosque call, collecting food between November 18 and December 6.
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“We go by the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) teaching that, ‘He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while his neighbor goes hungry’,” said the Imam of the Mosque, Nozrul Islam, who spent a morning delivering food items to food banks, Rochdale Online reported.
The donations were sorted and distributed to Rochdale Foodbank, homeless charity Petrus, and the Oldham-based UKeff (UK Education & Faith Foundation).
Collecting a tonne of food, volunteer Sabbir Ahmed, 27, a work coach for the Department for Work & Pensions, believes it was worth the effort.
“Since the lockdown in March, the mosque launched a Covid-19 support service and that’s when it dawned upon us of how many people are struggling in our own town. Due to the current pandemic, there has been a huge rise in unemployment which has sadly meant that the demand on food banks in our town have also increased,” he said.
“I have seen first-hand the struggles people without employment go through. There are so many people who are struggling to put food on the table. This will help a lot of people and long may it continue.”
Every year, winter is a difficult time for the homeless and rough sleepers. This year, that struggle is even more acute due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A pillar of Islam, Zakat or charity is a religious obligation for all Muslims who meet a criteria of wealth. It’s a mandatory charitable contribution, the right of the poor to find relief from the rich.
In addition to the obligatory Zakah, Islamic Shari’ah also encourages giving in optional charity, called Sadaqah.