Do Muslim charities get the credit they deserve?

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Have Muslims failed in communicating the good work they do to serve fellow humans? Yes and No. They do the work, indeed, there are several Muslim charities that serve fellow humans regardless of religion, nationality or any other uniqueness,  but the sad part is very few of them are known to the world.

Last week, I was talking with my friends (Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and a Sikh) about what is going on with Corona. Most of them made a point to sympathize with the plight of Muslims in India but added, they wished Muslims condemn extremism.

Yes, I wanted to scream at them for their ignorance but realized that we had not done a good job of letting others know about the worthy charity work Muslims do, like all others.

I quoted them a British report from a few years ago that Muslims ranked among the first in Charitable giving, then I mentioned about Aga Khan Foundation and the Islamic Relief. They were not listening but unloading it on ‘their’ friend. It seemed like they were obsessed with Muslim condemnation, all they had to do was google search, and they will find reams of press releases on the topic.  I am glad they were open enough to share what they are obsessed with, which gives us clues to deal with the situation.

Anyway, when they were in a listening mode, I shared the reason why Muslims don’t flaunt their charities. I quoted the wisdom of the Prophet, “When you give, let your left hand not know what the right hand gives.” The understanding was for the receiver to be free from the burden of Ehsan- i.e., indebtedness, nor should one lose his/her freedom. There are a few people out there who publicly humiliate the persons they give, and make them take their side in public gatherings and even sing their songs.

Freedom is one of the most cherished values of Islam. Indeed, twelve such Islamic values contribute to the wellness of the entire world. They are listed and backed up with verses from the Quran in the book American Muslim Agenda.

Mian Meer’s charity was well known, and no one would go empty-handed from his door. However, he lowered his eyes (humility) when he gave. Tulsidas, his contemporary heard about it and asked him in a Doha (couplet), why do you lower your eyes when you donate? Mian Meer countered it with another Doha – What I gave was not mine to give; it was given by God, which I am merely passing it on. When they thought that I was the giver, I felt humiliated and hence lowered my Nain (eyes).

Thank God and thanks to Sean Hannity at Fox News, where my patience was tested time and again. I have learned to listen without interruption, to understand another point of view so I can see the full picture. You will be surprised; if you listen to others with patience, they will give their ear to you. Hannity did and did a few good things; one among them was he quit bashing the Quran. Patiently listening to those who held a different point of view allowed me to offer and act on pluralistic solutions.

Here are some of the Muslim Charities that serve humanity – all people without regard to religion or nationality.

  1.  Aga Khan Foundation –
  2.  Islamic Relief USA-
  3.  Response USA –
  4.  Mercy Without Limits –
  5.  Humanity First –
  6.  Zakat Foundation –
  7.  United Mission for Relief –
  8.  Total Giving –
  9.  ICNA Relief –
  10.  AIM – Association of Indian Muslims  –
  11. HAMWA – Hyderabad Association –
  12.  Islamic Medical Association –
  13.  Edhi Foundation –
  14. Azim Premji Foundation –
  15. Being Humans –
  16. Indian Muslims Relief & Charities –
  17. Shahrukh Khan Meer Foundation –
  18. Cipla foundation –

Saba Naqvi talks sense – she means those who hate, not all Indians.

Update: I have received a ton of names, and have asked the sender to make sure those charities serve all humanity without distinction to be included here, and as I receive, I will add them. 

One of my Christian friends interrupted me by saying that these charities served only Muslims. I asked him if the Catholic Charities was only for Catholics? He said no, then I said, so are Muslim Charities, they are out there whenever there is a disaster serving fellow humans regardless of their religion. Azim Premji is one of the biggest donors in India, maybe the biggest in India, and it goes to all Indians. Salman Khan donates 90% of his income to his Being Human foundation, which serves all Indians. During the Gujarat earthquake, I know several of my Muslim relatives gave their jewelry for the cause. Nizam of Hyderabad donated a planeload of Gold when Prime Minister Shastri called for help as the Indian Government did not have the resource to meet the challenges.  He also donated large sums of money to the Banaras Hindu University. In the first week of April 2010 – two Hindus in different parts of India were given the last rites by Muslims, as the relatives did not want to go near the dead bodies of their loved ones.

Frank Islam Foundation is promoting good stories to build harmony among the people of India. Thank you, Frank.

They said they never heard of them, and repeated that they don’t remember Muslims condemning terrorists or not serving others. They were still hung up on it, and double down on it, “I am not ignorant, if I don’t know it, then you guys have not communicated.” I realize the poor messaging on the part of Muslims.  If they just google search it, they will find it. Muslims from across the world continue to condemn terrorists, just as Hindus condemn the lynchers and hate mongers among them.

There is a need for Muslim Charities to learn to message. They need to write press releases regularly, it’s an expense, but it will brand them in the same light as the respected Catholic Charities. Muslims are doing the right things, but doing it quietly. Collectively they contribute a lot towards the wellbeing of humanity, and the public can see the amount of work Muslims do and change their perception. They will be transferred from a sense of reservation to boldly standing up for the plight of Muslims in China, Burma, Kashmir, India, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere. Our responsibility does not end there, and we have to firmly condemn and criticize Muslim majority nations where they mistreat their minorities. Fortunately, we are doing it, but it does not make it to the mainstream media.

It is time we dedicate some time in promoting Muslim deeds in any fashion we can, as a catalyst in fostering goodwill among the community of nations and faiths.

The other part is our Muslim Doctors, Nurses, and medical professionals do so much pro-bono work through free Muslim clinics without recognition. I have shared the story about a talk I gave to a conservative group; some of them were going crazy in the Q&A session. Then one woman stood up and silenced everyone. “Don’t you talk about Muslims in that way, I am alive today because of the Muslim Doctors and their Muslim Clinics.” She was referring to the two Muslim clinics in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The full story is in the book American Muslim Agenda.

Now, it is time for us to uplift our Doctors about Corona Crisis. Innumerable Muslim Doctors are serving people affected by Corona quietly. I would urge you to make a list of such Doctors and let your local TV station know about their expertise.

Let’s live a purposeful life and let’s multiply the goodness in the world. Amen!

*** Shahrukh Khan’s Meer Foundation is just added after listening to Saba Naqvi’s video above. My late wife Najma would be happy to know this. When Shahrukh’s team was in Dallas, she managed their stay – and we had the opportunity to talk to him about doing a charity show for raising funds for a domestic shelter for disadvantaged women. Of course, he declined thinking that it would be for Muslims only. We failed to communicate to him that it was for women from all walks of life, that is what we do. It is rare that we do things for one community exclusively. We have volunteered for almost every religious group through the Center for Pluralism.

Published at
Jago Times –
The Muslim times –

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, author, business consultant, community organizer, news-maker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. He is deeply committed to Religious Freedom, Human Rights, and Pluralism in Religion, Politics, Societies, and the workplace. He is dedicated to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day to the media and civic, religious and political leaders. His profile is at 

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