Muslims donating to the less fortunate

Area Ramadan events aiding the needy

Telegram & Gazette Staff

October 3, 2006

By Bronislaus B. Kush

WORCESTER— During Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic calendar, practicing Muslims worldwide fast, pray, and take part in acts of charity to better themselves.

However, they’re not the only ones who benefit from the observance. Locally, a number of needy people, many of them not Muslims, will reap rewards from the sacrifices made by followers of the prophet Muhammad.

For example, about $35,000 was raised on Sept. 23, the start of Ramadan, at an event at the Worcester Islamic Center. The money will be given to the Muslim Community Support Service.

That money will be used to help people from all around New England who desperately need financial assistance.

“The Quran tells us that we must reach out to the poor,” said Tahir Ali, a spokesman for the Worcester Islamic Society. “Charity is an important part of Ramadan.”

Rasha Boura, a member of the center’s Social Service Committee and secretary at the MCSS, said the money raised will be used to help people pay debts such as utility bills or funeral arrangements for a family member. The service also provides doctors who offer free medical consultations to the poor.

“We (the MCSS) are a group of Muslim individuals who volunteer our time and efforts to help improve the lives of the less fortunate,” said Ms. Boura, a real estate agent who lives in Northboro.

The Sept. 23 event drew about 500 people, and many Worcester-area Muslims are expected to take part in the Humanitarian Day for the Homeless, which will be held Oct. 14 at the Tobin Community Center on Tremont Street in Boston.

The event, sponsored by Islamic Relief, will benefit about 2,000 homeless people living in shelters in Greater Boston.

Money raised will provide winter clothing, hygiene packs, hot meals, sleeping bags, medical checks, toys and school supplies.

For about a billion Muslims around the world, Ramadan is “a month of blessing.” Its focus is on self-sacrifice and devotion to Allah.

Muslims believe the first verses of the Quran, the holy book of Islam, were revealed to Muhammad during Ramadan.

During the month, Muslims practice the “sawm,” or fasting, in which they may not eat or drink during the day.

Ramadan ends with the festival of Eid al Fitr, or the festival of breaking the fast. Muslims celebrate by dressing in their best, visiting friends and offering treats to children.

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