A Question of Identity.
Whether it is the wearing of the scarf or a turban in France or the
wearing of the hijab in posh professional colleges in London or
Mumbai, it is now a question of identity. All over the world these outward
manifestations, are signs of a deep rooted inner urge, particularly
amongst the minorities to seek and assert their own identity. The need to
belong, to confirm to a distinctive identifiable group is nothing new. But
this search for identity, particularly by the youth, in the modern
context, has everything to do with security and empowerment. And while
belonging to a distinctive group may be of great help, at the same time it
brings with itself extraordinary pressures. For example, simply the fact
of being a Muslim is sufficient to raise suspicion and biases; and in some
parts of the world, outright hatred and humiliation. The mere fact that
your name is, say, Abdullah or Sakina, establishes your Muslim identity,
and is enough to debar you from a job, a visa or a lucrative business
opportunity. Not an easy time to assert your identity.
Be that as it may, what we have to submit respectfully is that the Muslim
identity must be embedded in the Islamic character. At some point of time
in the near future, in an age of enlightenment, the name Abdullah
must become synonymous with scholarship and learning; with reliability and
trustworthiness; with honesty and integrity; with forgiveness and
compassion, with piety and righteousness; and with forbearance and
fortitude. Inshallah, all else will follow.
Single Point Agenda.
But for this to happen, all of us will have to make tremendous efforts and
focus on a single-point agenda: To impart education of the highest
standards to our children, particularly the poor, the needy and the orphan
child. And to impact on society this will have to be done on a mass
level. Thousands of groups, NGOs, trusts, societies, schools, colleges and
universities will have to be established to achieve this task.
Rahat Welfare Trust, a registered Trust and NGO based in Mumbai is
one such group working, for the time being, on a modest level. Rahat
was established in 1992, primarily to promote the welfare of Muslim women
and children, particularly that of widows and orphans and in October
2004, has over 2400 applications from such needy and deserving
families. Rahat is helping 250 families on an ongoing basis
under its Total Educational Support Scheme, (TESS), under which a
child once sponsored receives everything required to go to school. School,
bus and computer fees, uniforms, books, shoes, socks, bags, raincoats,
ties, stationery - almost everything is provided by Rahat. Rahat
provides total support to the family to ensure that the child goes
to school properly. Educating these children is now Rahat’s responsibility.
Rahat also gives a small monthly allowance for food and ration to
several families. Rahat provides nearly four hundred uniforms to
poor students, going mainly to state- run Municipal schools at the
beginning of every academic year. Rahat continues its support to
the poor and orphan students of Shaheen Urdu High school and Al Kausar
Urdu School, both located in two different slum localities in North Mumbai.
Support to these schools forms part of Rahat’s long term agenda
of promoting education on a mass level. Scores of Rahat scholars
are now earning a decent livelihood and supporting their families. These
are the shining stars of Rahat, who have enriched our efforts and
have given meaning to our work. These are the role models who have shown
that a better world is possible. Rahat is privileged and honoured
to have had an opportunity to facilitate their well-being.
Zakat Collection. Rahat
activities are funded mainly through the Zakat collection in Ramzan
every year. But we do need funds on a larger scale, such is the undoubted
need of the hour. We therefore request you to send Rahat a part of
your Zakat this Ramzan. (Donations are also very welcome). And ask
atleast two other persons to do the same. Zakat may be sent by a
payee’s account cheque/draft in favour of ‘Rahat Welfare
Trust’ to our registered office at 6, Fatima Manor, St. Monica Road,
Bandra, (West) Mumbai, 400050,India. Donors in Mumbai may contact us on
phone 26552256 or mobile 98923 09785, we will collect the Zakat
from their home, office or shop. Donations of Zakat to Rahat
are eligible for deductions as per rules under Section 80 G of the I.
Y. Act, 1961. Thank You.