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Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.

-Unknown


In Surat- ar-rad (chapter 13) Allah says in verse 11 “….verily Allah will  not change the situation of a people as long as they do not change themselves…

Whilst the above verse speaks to changing our inner-selves in order to change our situations, it also ties in to volunteerism.

As Muslims, there are many reminders in the Quran, Hadith and Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be showered on him, and his family. Volunteerism can be classified as charity; we give our time, energy and resources, etc. Charitable giving is an essential part of our spiritual tradition

BeNeca Ward once said, “One value that was sewn into the stitching of our character at a very early age had to do with our responsibility to help other... We were expected to be of assistance to our neighbours… Being neighbourly… was synonymous with being kind, friendly and helpful to our neighbours and something that we were encouraged to do on a regular basis through first-hand experience. It was a bit like mandatory community service.”

There is more to volunteerism than money. Our hearts become contented when we put a smile on someone’s face; making a difference in another’s life, a place or a situation. Volunteerism will change a person and the environment. The recent “Cleanup” exercise in South C organized by Ummah and friends, vouched by Karagania of Ummah: “We will be more than willing to initiate another cleanup in an area near you.” On this note, I’m putting in a request to Ummah and friends to come up and clean Ring Road Kilimani.

There are numerous benefits of volunteerism; one is able to network, learn new skills and enhance one’s competence and development, experience life differently and not least personal satisfaction. Quoting King George IV, king of Great Britain, Ireland and Hanover (1762-1830) “The highest distinction is service to others” and there is incredible value in being of service to others.

From the Quraan Surah Yusuf, 34:39, “Verily my Lord Enlarges and restricts the sustenance to such of His servants as He pleases: and nothing do ye spend in the least (in His cause) but He replaces it: for He is the best of those who grant sustenance. For those who give their time, energy, resources Allah will replace it.”

Surah Nisaa 4:114, “If one exhorts to a deed of charity… seeking the good pleasure of Allah, we shall soon give a reward of the highest (value)”

Surah Hajj 22:77, “O you who believe bow down, prostrate yourselves and adore your Lord; and do good that you may prosper”

I urge Ummah, friends of Ummah and all those who want to bring about change, to make a difference in our communities and those who want to gain personal satisfaction to continue working hard to promote the spirit of volunteerism in all of us. In the process, all of us consciously or unconsciously will start rendering some service.

Ummah on its new found platform can promote and help us cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately. In the process our desire to offer a service will steadily grow stronger. This will help in increased happiness individually and for the world at large.

We can volunteer within the family, our neighbourhood, places of worship, learning institutions, in our work place; the list is endless. The most important thing is: let’s pull up our socks and start volunteering.


photo credit: Samia Omar

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