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Ramadan Fundraising: Invitation to Sacred Activism

1.
Reading and talking about Oneness of God is one thing,
But to enliven it is another matter all together.

There are many for whom Oneness is just a spiritual theorization,
For the friends it is Seeing the Friend's Face in every direction.

O Beloved One, help us walk in your friends' footsteps,
For towards them flow Your tender love, mercy and grace.

~ A Dervish Prayer


If you’re listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; it’s purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold ever more wonders.

A spirituality that is only private and self-absorbed, one devoid of an authentic political and social consciousness, does little to halt the suicidal juggernaut of history. On the other hand, an activism that is not purified by profound spiritual and psychological self-awareness and rooted in divine truth, wisdom, and compassion will only perpetuate the problem it is trying to solve, however righteous its intentions. When, however, the deepest and most grounded spiritual vision is married to a practical and pragmatic drive to transform all existing political, economic and social institutions, a holy force - the power of wisdom and love in action - is born. This force I define as Sacred Activism.

~ Andrew Harvey (The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism)


2.
Every year in Ramadan, which is the month of special blessing, mercy, inspiration and purification, I try to plan, revive and expand the Sacred Activism works. Towards this goal I set out to raise funds to fascilitate some of these work which includes helping the poorest of the poor, homeless, street children, orphans and the needy. 

When his companions asked Prophet Muhammad: O Messenger O Allah, what are the most excellent of actions?

The beloved of Allah replied:
To gladden the heart of human beings,
To feed the hungry,
To help the afflicted,
To lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and
To remove the sufferings of the injured.
- Sacred Tradition of Islam, Bukhari

This has been the inspiration and scope of work of Gladdening the Sacred Hearts Project for which we raised about few thousand dollars last years to help education of poor children and school that support them, to distribute winter clothing and helping the needy. While raising the fund for the Phase II of Gladdening the Sacred Hearts (GSH) Project last April 2010, I was inspired to work towards a Foundation, so that the activities could be done in a more wholesome way, spreading the benefit even further.

Thanks to your prayers and blessings, the GSH Project has taken off last year. Thanks to some of the generous readers of this site, the fund we received has been utilize towards a host of activities. In order to better manage, we are in process of a creating a Foundation called "Porshee Foundation." Porshee (pronounced as \Pour-She\ is a Bangla word for Neighbor.

Visionaries of humanity have always emphasized on the very basic idea of caring for our neighbors. For a harmonious, organically connected and healthy society it is absolutely necessary that people who live in proximity care for each other and extend each others hand in need. Regardless of where people live in the world, if people care for those in the neighbors, in their immediate vicinity - the scale of human suffering could be reduced dramatically.

Caring for and reaching out to the neighbor, which is a simple idea, carry universal value and yet have great implication towards transforming communities in a positive way by removing the suffering and preserving human dignity. The Vision of Porshee Foundation is : Communities and Societies where every able neighbor cares for those in need in the surroundings - acting locally, empowered globally based on the universal value of ‘small kindness’ and ‘loving for others what one love for one’s self.’

For a better world, "small kindness" and "loving for others what one love for one's self" / "loving thy neighbors" - are the very universal values the world need to return to and are sufficient to give back the dignity to those who are robbed of their human dignity as well as to ourselves as one human family.


3.
For those who truly love God and His ways,
all the people of the world are brothers.
The man who doesn't see the nations of the world as one,
is one gone astray even if the pious claim he's holy.
We regard no one's religion as contrary to ours,
true love is born when all faiths are united as a whole.
- Yunus Emre

Ramadan is the month of supra-abundance blessings and Divine generosity. So we are adviced by the elders of the Path to be extra-generous in this month so that we may better hope to receive Divine Generosity from the One Who is Infinitely Generous. We are adviced to be extra compassionate to the creation, which is the family of God, so that we may hope to receive Divine Compassion from the One Who is Infinitely Compassionate.

For this reason in the Sacred Tradition of Islam, along with fasting, giving of  special charity (poor-due) is also prescribed. Fasting is the purification on the level of body, heart and spirit. In its first level, fasting is fasting from food, sexual gratification; on the next level fasting is fasting from unholy acts and thoughts and to be engaged in wholesome action for God's sake (fi sabilillah). Just as fasting is the purification of the body, heart and spirit; in Islamic tradition, there are prescribed act of charity that purifies our wealth, our provision, our income, savings - that which is given to us in abundance. As other faith tradition such as Catholic Faith also teaches that fasting and charity must go together, similarly in Islamic faith tradition, it is customary to give away at least 2.5% of one's excess wealth, money which is accumulated in the last one year (that which is excess of necessity) to the poor, orphans and needy. This is called Zakat in Islam which is the establishment of the awareness to care and love for those who are in need among us, and also Zakat is a mean to practically express our gratitude for the provision gifted to us by our Provider Lord.

I would request you to help the needy in your community first, if there are people who live in extreme poverty, so much so that it compromise their humann dignity. It is our duty as a community to care for those who need help in the area of proximity and help with our excess wealth as well.

Through Porshee Foundation we are also taking similar activities by identifying needy, homeless and orphans and to provide for them. We are not simply doing charity, but we are providing them to become small scale entrepreneurs. In a third world country like Bangladesh, often a very small amount of money can uplift someone who has absolutely nothing to lift themselves up and engage in meaninful income. Our experience says that an amount as small as USD 70 can be sufficient to start a small independent business like selling vegetables, buying a sewing machine and start generate income from it. For a homeless person to get rent a room and move from street to proper housing and sanitation require about USD 133 with which he or she can also start earning by doing something in small scale.

Towards these goals Porshee is collecting donation this month. Please be generous with your donation. You may also contribute your Zakat and request your friends as well. There are two method of Donating: via Secured Paypal (using Credit / Debit card) and / or via Western Union Money Transfer.

Click here to Donate:




WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER







Send to : Sadiq M. Alam
City: Dhaka, Country: Bangladesh
(After you send, please let me know via email the Money Transfer Reference Number, the Amount sent and converted amount in my currency).

If you'd like to make a Bank Transfer please write to me so that I can provide you the account details.


4.
The believer's (only) shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.
- The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him

There are some servants of God on the Earth who struggle to fulfill the needs of other people. They will be saved on the Resurrection Day.
- Imam Jafar as Sadiq

The application of justice and charity is sign of the continuance of graces.
- Imam ar-Rida

Do not feel ashamed if the amount of charity is small because to refuse the needy is an act of greater shame.

Charity and alms are the best remedy for ailments and calamities; one has to account in the next world for the deeds that he has done in this world.

What is Generosity? To give away (in charity) before requested.
- Imam Ali

And spend [in the way of Allah ] from what We have provided you before death approaches one of you and he says, "My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous." - The Quran, 63:10

They ask you what they should spend in charity. Inform them: 'Whatever you spend with a good heart, give it to parents, relatives, orphans, the helpless, and travellers in need. Whatever good you do, God is aware of it.' - The Quran, 2:215


# Reference:
* Every age has a dominant vice and its counter-balancing virtue
* Sacred Activism: Our Path to Wholeness
* When the real heart breaks open | “How can one serve the One?”
* The Etiquette of Giving | Quranic Wisdom
* A Manual of Hadith: Charity and Zakat
* The Book of Zakat (Bukhari)

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