We were recently watching a segment on Good Morning America
called “Faith Fridays” featuring Imam Omar Suleiman, in which he was explaining what Ramadan is all about to the viewers. As he beautifully talked about the charitable component of the month, he framed it as a “hurricane of generosity” that engulfs us this month. That really stuck with us.
We all strive to be generous this month (and carry that spirit of generosity throughout the year). Here at Haute Hijab, the past few years we’ve been sharing with you in the last ten days of Ramadan a roundup of some of the many wonderful charities and organizations helping communities in need. This year we want to approach it a bit differently.
We’re starting Ramadan this year with sharing our annual roundup with you, and then we’re producing a series here on the blog in which our writers are each taking on one of these charities to do a deeper dive into their work: How did these charities or organizations come to be? In what ways do they serve their communities? How are your donation dollars put to good use? The more we know, the more we will, Insha’Allah, be inspired to give of ourselves. So, let’s get to it!
A Continuous Charity
A Continuous Charity
(ACC) is a U.S.-based organization that provides Muslim college students with interest-free loans for higher education. By doing this, they hope to bring about a generation of graduates that have a strong Muslim identity and are well-versed in their fields, using both for the benefit of mankind. You can learn more about them here
. A report
from the Bipartisan Policy Center (a Washington, D.C.-based think tank) shows that 45 million student loan borrowers collectively owe $1.7 trillion in student loans. This problem is compounded for Muslims trying to get ahead in life and obtain further education without being saddled by interest-bearing debt, something that is considered to be haram in Islam. Either you take out a student loan and deal with riba and the possibility of not getting out from under that loan, or you struggle to find a way to pay for your education. ACC is working to help Muslim students obtain higher education without the problem of interest-bearing loans.
ACC also partners with the Ikram Foundation for the “Fund her Future
” program, which provides financial support for divorced and widowed Muslim women seeking education to empower themselves and independently lead their families. And, their ACC for Women’s Empowerment program
(read more about it here
) specifically focuses on providing Muslim women with interest-free loans to help them in their educational pursuits. Opening the doors for Muslim students to attain knowledge gives you an opportunity to reap good deeds from all the good they do with that knowledge, Insha'Allah
ICNA Transitional Housing
One of ICNA's homes in the Transitional Housing program.
Our partnership with the ICNA Transitional Housing program goes back several years
, and we truly appreciate the work they do. This program, according to their website
, offers “an alternative for homeless women in need of temporary sleeping accommodations. ICNA Relief maintains the dignity of their clients while affording them the opportunity to heal and develop themselves within a nurturing environment. Women are provided with one-on-one support while they transition to permanent stable housing.
“Many of the women who come to ICNA Relief have experienced either emotional or physical abuse as well as neglect. Many are underemployed or unable to obtain affordable housing. ICNA Relief offers them the opportunity to heal while they work towards obtaining the ultimate goal of self-sufficiency.” The program has trained case managers who work with clients to link them to community resources, legal and immigration support, healthcare and mental health services. Those who partake in the program are encouraged to attend English classes (if needed), job training and more. They now have 22 homes in cities across the country, and these homes are funded mainly through donations
, which pay for utilities, facility expenses (furniture, appliances, bedding, etc.), food, hygiene products, counseling fees, medical fees, staffing and more.
Leaving home when you’re the victim of domestic violence is an extremely difficult and daunting process, which can be compounded by stigma and shame in Muslim communities. Nisa Homes
, a Canadian-based organization that provides shelter and a safe environment for domestic violence survivors, seeks to bring ease to this process. According to its website, Nisa Homes found that “culture is vital to immigrant, refugee and Muslim women. As such, we work hard to provide a place for women to live comfortably and feel safe in a supportive home environment, explore their cultural identity, and directly connect with their community. This helps us ensure their long-term success in restarting their lives and transitioning into independence after trauma or homelessness.”
Nisa Homes has eight transitional homes across Canada and two that are coming soon. These homes are safe residences for women and their children to go to if they are in an “unsafe home environment, in an abusive relationship, homeless or at risk of homelessness or simply in need of a place of safety.” The organization also offers a myriad of other services
, including financial assistance, mental health counseling, spiritual counseling, programs and activities, casework and more.
Anse Tamara Gray
If you want to understand the root form of the Arabic verb “rabata,” you need to check out the organization Rabata’s website
, which details the nuances of all the meanings. At the heart of it though, the word talks about all forms of connectedness, and thus Rabata, founded by Anse Tamara Gray
, is dedicated to “building spiritual ties between women, the spiritual upbringing of women by women and the establishment of the female voice in scholarship.” Through retreats, educational programs, halaqas, a convert care program, and a publishing arm (Daybreak Press) that gives rise to female authors and scholarship, Rabata is working to support women’s spiritual needs and support their work in Islamic scholarship. We love the work they are doing to nurture and uplift Muslim women’s faith journeys and Islamic educational growth. You can donate to support their work here
LaunchGood Ramadan Challenge
One of the charity campaigns featured in the 2018 LaunchGood Ramadan Challenge. Image source: Medium.
We all know that engaging in acts of charity throughout Ramadan, especially in the last ten days, is greatly encouraged as part of our ibadah
(worship) and our faith’s directive to care for those in need. As Muslims, we are told that we will receive immense rewards this month for our charitable work as well as our acts of worship. The Muslim crowdfunding site, LaunchGood, created its Ramadan Challenge to help us give back on a daily basis through its 30-day giving challenge. The LaunchGood Ramadan Challenge
encourages Muslims to choose an amount to donate daily (any amount you are comfortable giving each day for 30 days), which is then automatically withdrawn from your bank account. You are able to choose which campaigns you want to support on the LaunchGood website, or you can leave it up to the LG team to choose charity campaigns which will receive your donation dollars. Visit the Ramadan Challenge
to participate yourself and learn more about the plethora of charitable campaigns occurring around the world.
Check back to the blog throughout the month for profiles on each of these charities and organizations to learn more about how they work, who they help and what happens with your donation dollars!