Saturday, May 24, 2008

Concerning Hunger

I watched a documentary a few years ago called 'Muhammad: Legacy of a prophet' and one of the things that touched me the most about it was when a New York Fire Marshall who converted to Islam (I dont like the word reverted) spoke at length about how we as Muslims should serve humanity. Ive touched on this before - how we are supposed to be looking after THE community (collective), and not just our community.
The current Xenophobia crisis is an example where we as Muslims should be at the forefront. I think back to the Rwandan Genocide 14 years ago, and I remember how the Imams of the Musjids gave the Tutsis safety and security. Sure, there are organisations out there who are doing their bit, but is this enough?
Yes - the Nakba is important, yes, there are flashpoints in the world that also need our assistance, but we are citizens of South Africa. This is my land, as much as it is anyone elses.
Are we comfortable with questioning the implicit forces at work? Knowing that our interests will be compromised if we critically analyse the real issue here. Lets not kid ourselves - the real issue isnt foreigners, but Capitalism. I'm concerned about the direction this country is headed in. Privatisation of water being one issue that i'm disgusted at. But we'll save this for another post, let me get to the point.
This week I decided to get involved in a friends project (those who know me intimately know that my long term goal is to get a community centre up and running with video games to get kids of the street. I'm convinced that we can use video games as an ice breaker for teaching valuable skills that can aid these kids in getting jobs (teaching computer skills through video games. The cynical out there might laugh and wonder what Grand theft Auto has in terms of positive influences, but i'l cover that another day)
For now, I'm involved with something called Helping the Helpers, which is a feeding scheme started by Sunrise chip and Ranch (Jonnies Roties - you might have heard of them on Sparks Road?) The owner has subsidised the price of Bunny Chows and I'l be helping with the distribution of the food. If anyone is interested in sponsoring or would like to help me distribute leave me a comment or send me an e-mail. The bunny chows work out to 3 rand each, and trust me when I say that there are fewer things in life as satisfying as seeing the gratitude in the eyes of the less fortunate.
If you dont have transport, no problem - we'l make a plan. I'm currently working on press releases and I am in touch with friends in the media so hopefully you might hear about this soon.
While I believe in empowerment rather than hand outs, for now, I am happy with this. You can also distribute it with the intentions of Esaale sawaab if you like.
Its just 3 rand for a Quarter Beans bunny.
3 rand to fill an empty belly with hot food.
Think about it.


Unknown said...

ja count me in. i wont be able to give time, but email me your bank account details. when is this happening? i'll send money if that's ok.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Im just curious as to WHY u dont like the term Reverted?Do we not as muslims believe that every human being is born a muslim?Doesnt using the word Convert rob the reverts of the honour of knowing they were Born as muslims and found their collective way back?Just a thought.

M Junaid said...

OH - thank you so much for helping out. I'm going to try and do it eveyr second week. I need 300 rand per session (hundred bunny chows) last thing I want is to turn people away if I dont have enough.

Anon 1- Thank you, but really, its the bare minimum - i feel i should be doing so much more. I'm glad if I make a positive impression on you. Thanks again

Anon 2 - Its a matter of semantics, thats why I dont like the term.

according to the dictionary -
to return to a former habit, practice, belief, condition, etc.: They reverted to the ways of their forefathers.
2. Law. to go back to or return to the former owner or to his or her heirs.
3. Biology. to return to an earlier or primitive type.
4. to go back in thought or discussion: He constantly reverted to his childhood.
–noun 5. a person or thing that reverts.
6. Law. a reversion.

I dislike the word because I have seen it being thrown about with smacks of arrogance, and being used by Muslims who have superiority complexes. Also- from an etymological point of view - Muslim means 'one who submits to the will of God' (and to a lesser extent from the root word salaam - Peace)so while Babies are all born 'muslim' in a biological sense as opposed to a religious sense, because in religion - a muslim is one who professes that they worship one God AND that the Prophet Muhammed is the final Messenger (shahadah is based on these two factors)

I dont think the word convert robs anyones honour - but hey - if there are any converts who read this blog, and feel offended by me using the word, I apologise. I just dont like the word revert.

For me being a Muslim isnt about going back (reverting), but rather growing, reflecting and pondering over Gods creation for surely within them there are signs for those who know? Hope that clears it up:)

Unknown said...

as a convert, someone who chose a new life over my old life, i prefer the term convert. because in a natural sense, we're not all born muslim. and for me at least, the word converts sounds more positive, more like a conscious choice to be a muslim.

Work in Progress said...

I think this sounds like a really good idea. I'm in jhb so unfortunately can't be there but if you could provide me with bank account details, I'd also like to contribute something. Thanx. May Allah reward you for your effort.

M Junaid said...

thanks Work in Progress

my e-mail address is - hit me with an e-mail and i'l send you my details.