Luton & Bedford Poppy Appeal Fundraising 2016
by Mrs Hamida Iqbal, Luton, UK
God says in the Holy Qur’an, chapter 2, verse 198.
“.. And whatever good you do, Allah knows it…”
And in a tradition of the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him,
Abu Musa Ash’ari relates that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Charity is incumbent upon every Muslim. He was asked: If a person should have nothing?’ He answered: He should work with his hands to his own benefit and also give alms. If he is not able to work? He should help a needy helpless one. If he cannot do even that? He should urge others to goodness. If he lacks that also? He should restrain himself from doing evil. That too is charity.”
(Riyadh As-Salihin, Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, p.36)
Below are some words quoted from the writings of the Promised Messiah (peace be on him) as related by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V at the International Conference of the charity Humanity First on Saturday, 24th January 2015 at Baitul Futuh Mosque.
“There are only two complete parts of faith. One is to love God and the other is to love mankind to such a degree that you consider the suffering and the trials and tribulations of others as your own and that you pray for them.”
“Ahmadi Muslims bow down in sincere prayer praying that Allah enables them to serve with a true spirit of sympathy, compassion and love for mankind. They seek Allah’s Help to develop a truly selfless spirit whereby they consider the pain and desperation of others as their own pain and desperation. They pray that they are able to remove the tribulations and suffering of other people.”
At another occasion he said:
“To truly love God and Islam requires a person to love his nation. It is clear, therefore, that there can be no conflict of interest between a person’s love for God, and love for his country.”
(Speech delivered at the Military Headquarters in Koblenz, Germany, 30th May 2012)
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V’s guidance resonates the hearts of millions of Ahmadi Muslims the world over. And for this reason, whenever there is a need to raise money at charity events, the Lajna (Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association) from Luton and Bedford, like any other Lajna members elsewhere, are always ready to sacrifice their time and money to put into practice the advice of our beloved Caliph and they do this with much dedication and passion.
So, this year when local president, Mrs Huma Qadeer announced that she would like to once again help collect money for the Royal British Legion’s (RBL) Poppy Appeal, many came forward to volunteer.
From 31st October to 10th November 2016 smiling volunteers took turns to sell poppies throughout the day at supermarkets in Luton and Bedford. Included were poppies hand knitted by Lajna which later became a sell-out item. Many customers were amazed to see hijab-wearing Muslim ladies manning the poppy stalls. When asked, Mrs Qadeer explained the importance of being an integral part of society how their involvement highlighted the desire for peace and unity between all peoples, nations and religions.
Indeed, we take our guidance from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V who has previously commented on the Poppy Appeal:
“Muslims are obliged to be loyal to the country in which they live. Honouring those who fought to defend and safeguard one’s country is an important principle of Islam and in fact is an important principle of peace – especially when it is carried out with a sincere heart and for the sake of winning God’s pleasure.”
Mr Colin Woods, who has been a member of the Royal British Legion (RBL) for 19 years, said:
“I am truly moved by the commitment shown by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association in helping to sell poppies and have received excellent feedback from members of the public who have nothing but praise for the efforts of the ladies, some even said that they never thought they would ever see Muslims selling poppies. Unfortunately there is so much bad press about Muslims today, but I have been enlightened and proud to have met and worked alongside the ladies of the AMWA and have a genuine respect for the work they do.”
As a mark of gratitude, Mr Woods extended an invitation to Mrs Qadeer to lay a wreath of poppies on Remembrance Sunday, 13th November in Luton.
Speaking after the service, Mrs Huma Qadeer said Remembrance Sunday gives us the opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to the many brave men and women of the armed services who had sacrificed their lives to defend and safeguard our country and it also gives us the opportunity to build relationships within our diverse community to promote peace, tolerance and humanitarian support.
Later on the same day Mrs Qadeer was interviewed by Ms Yasmeen Khan of BBC Three Counties Radio. Ms Khan congratulated her for the huge amount of money collected. When asked what reactions she received while out and about. Mrs Qadeer responded by saying, the public had been absolutely fantastic. They had been so generous in giving and they really appreciated that Muslim women were here to help in such a wonderful cause.
The hard work for the poppy appeal fund raising paid off with Luton and Bedford lajna raising over £11,500 which surpassed previous collections.
We are blessed as members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community that we have our beloved Khalifa to guide us – in this case, towards fulfilling the ninth condition of Bai’at (pledge as an Ahmadi):
‘That he/she shall keep himself/herself occupied in the service of God’s creatures for His sake only and shall endeavour towards the beneficence of mankind to the best of his/her God-given abilities and powers.’
I end with these words of The Promised Messiah (peace be on him) and prayers that we are able to live up to them.
“My countrymen, a religion which does not inculcate universal compassion is no religion at all. Similarly, a human being without the faculty of compassion is no human at all. Our God has never discriminated between one people and another…”
(Paigham e Sulh, Message of Peace.)