Humanitarian aid is a common culture across the globe. Logistical or material assistance is offered in response to crises of humanitarian which include man-made and natural disasters. There are a substantial number of organizations that are created in different nations in order to offer this aid to the affected groups of people. Muslim as a religion has been providing humanitarian aid. This has resulted to significant influence on this aspect of humanitarian aid across the globe. This has promoted the value of charity both to Muslims and non-Muslims (Lewis 56).
The humanitarian acts are taken are essential elements of practice in Muslim religion. There are numerous prophetic and Quran texts that have callings on the action of humanitarian. These texts support humanitarian aid in either an inciting or an obligatory nature and also include non-Muslims in the humanitarian aid. The Muslims are required to undertake humanitarian acts as a way to receive assistance from heaven, meriting paradise and erasing of sins. There are mechanisms which were established by the Muslim religion such as Kaffara, zakat and Waqf. These impacted on the lives of people through the freeing of slaves, expansion of the healthcare and educational system and support and care for the most vulnerable. Currently, this has resulted to numerous Muslim faith based NGOs. These NGOs follow the Muslim texts and have influenced programs of humanitarian in different places across the globe.
Muslim religion perceives the act of humanitarian as a fundamental principle. The acts of helping people when in distress and offering them money do not perceive as a free choice for the believers. This is usually taken as an obligation similar to fasting in the period of the month of Ramadan, pilgrimage to Mecca and prayer. In Muslim, all acts of humanitarian range from donation of money or distribution of aid to the affected people is treated as an essential aspect of religious practice. This dimension has been fundamental in motivating, channeling and intensifying the obligatory and emotional aspects of charity across the globe. Muslim religion through practical and legal means has been active in stimulating and reinforcing acts of humanitarian and popularizing it and exercising daily (Campbell 111).
Muslim religion perceives both the duty to assist and the acts of humanitarian as an obligation which binds all Muslims, the poor and the rich. Hadiths and Quran texts encourage charity works by emphasizing that the first to get to paradise will be those who are committed to charity works. The texts also order them to feed the hungry, care for the ill and rescue prisoners. Furthermore, there are texts which strongly define the punishments for those who do not act in accordance with this. There are also practical mechanism put to ensure that humanitarian and is managed. This includes arrangements of zakat. Sometimes, the governments in Muslim empire would organize humanitarian aid using state power from the advice of religious scholars known as ulema. This was applied in critical situations by either distributing aid to the people in distress or collection. Interpretation of Quran texts influenced religious scholars. They decreed the Muslim governments to mobilize resource that were available in case the zakat were not enough to support the poor. The mobilization was through local authorities, businesses, collectives and individuals.
In addition, the time of Caliph, second caliph, marked a dreadful famine across Arabia. Omar ordered governors in all provinces to collect food and organize convoys of humanitarian. To put the aspect of charity in practice, he was active in distributing the food to the poor. Al kim reported hadith which condemned the people in a community that allows people to die of hunger. This means that they are not protected by the prophets and God. Such people would be judged and condemned for failing to offer aid (Asin 130).
Notably, the obligation to help is not restricted only to Muslims in distress because the hadiths and quaran texts include the non-Muslims. For instance, in the early years of the Hegira era, hijra or Muslim calendar, famine was experienced in Modar in Saudi Arabia. The prophet then organized a convoy of humanitarian to assist the inhabitants who were not Muslims. Through such universal act of humanitarian, Muslim has had a significant influence to people across the globe on the importance of assisting people in distress.
There are very many religious texts in Muslim which motivate acts of humanitarian. The humanitarian actions are diverse and are related to support all areas of assistance. This has resulted to global influence on the aspect of humanitarian aid. Some of the areas of humanitarian aid influenced by Muslim religion include fight against famine and food aid. A prophet in hadith affirms that the best alms are feeding the hungry. When celebrating the Feast of Sacrifice, each Muslim family is required to sacrifice a sheep. A tradition from prophets demands that the family should eat a third, give a third to friends and offer a third to the poor. Additionally, a Muslim must feed a poor person every day in case of failure to fast during Ramadan month due to long illness. This implies that the Ramadan ritual is replaced by an act of charity. Furthermore, Muslim incites and declares that people neglecting the hungry by not feeding them are outside Islam. Sura 76 verses 5 to 9 have a description of pleasures fund in paradise for those who offer food to the needy to signify the love of God. Through these acts of charity to the hungry, the whole world, both Muslim and non-Muslims have been influenced to be supportive to the needy (Apel 123).
Another area of influence has been in offering sponsorship to the orphans. Muslims pay keen attention to the orphans and their situation. There are some verses in Quran which order people to be kind to them. The texts also have a description for the worst punishment of those who treat them badly. There are also remarkably high rewards for those who take care or treat them well. In addition, the Quran declares that a person oppressing an orphan is a non-believer and as someone who denies God to exist. It also goes against those who misuse the property belonging of the orphans declaring that they will face a punishment of burning in a blazing fire. In a prophet’s quotation, people violating the children and women’s rights are heavily condemned. The prophet goes further to explain that a tender heart, achieve their potential and obtain ease in their psychological state should have pity to the orphans, feed them and touch their heads using their hands. Furthermore, hadith outlines that caring for an orphan must be comprehensive, involving psychological and material support. The prophet promises that sponsors of orphans will get paradise as a reward. These teachings of the Muslim religion have played a significant role in supporting orphans. There are many organizations both Muslim faith based and non-Muslim that have come up to care for the orphans. These include children homes and orphanages across the globe (Al-Farabi 59).
Additionally, Muslim has influenced assistance to the refugees. Since birth, Islam has dealt with refugees in many situations. The first Muslims assisted by Muslims were those persecuted in Mecca by the non-believers. The prophet advised them to take refuge in Ethiopia in Abyssinia. At some point, the persecution became unbearable. The prophet and his colleagues were committed to immigrating to Medina. The Muslims and sympathizers welcomed them and offered them considerable support. The prophet had a golden rule in treating the refugees. This includes the declaration of the principle of fraternization which was between the ansar and the muhajirun. This was applied to the inhabitants or the helpers and the refugees or emigrants from Mecca. This principle outlined that each habitant was to take care of one refugee. This included clothing, food, shelter and other assistance required, and this was offered until the refugees could support themselves. The prophet reported in the hadith that God shows clemency and allows those who offer shelter to the poor to get to paradise. The definition of b the eight beneficiaries of zakat touch on passing stranger or wayfarer in distress which signifies refugees. Notably, Muslim religion perceives assistance provided to refugees as more than their right (Wilkinson 80).
These acts of humanitarian on refugees have brought universal harmony among the people who also embrace the value of charity to the refugees. There is various organizations both Muslim and non-Muslim faith based that have been established to cater for the needs of the refugees. Noteworthy, the number of people across the globe keeps on increasing due to various causes of natural and man- made. The organizations mobilize the nations to take care of refugees and support them by the provision of their needs. These organizations are common in areas experiencing disasters and where people are displaced or are not secure in their places of residences. The organizations support them by taking them to safe areas and providing for their basic needs such as shelter which are commonly tents, clothes, medical care and foods. Significantly, these organizations acquire their resources from the governments, donor aids and from well wishers and supporters of these acts of humanitarian (Buckle 153).
Another major influence of Islam on humanitarian aid is through micro-credit towards the eradication of poverty. This allows the poor to begin a remuneration activity that enables them handle their problem and provide a long-term solution. This is supported by strong incitements through the prophet who encourages them to offer loans to the poor equating this to freeing a slave. In the hadith, the Muslims are ordered to forgive a borrower during difficult times. This has a reward of them being spared on the Day of Judgment. The prophet also promise evading hell flames and promises paradise to those who cancel a debt or prolong time agreed for repayment. Noteworthy, Muslim religion does not have payable interest on loans. This has results to development of many Muslim and non-Muslim NGOs that support development projects such as a donation of seeds, cows, small industries and materials of agriculture. This has enabled the impoverished to support them through an activity that gives them income (Stewart 40).
Islam has been on the forefront in promoting long-term projects of development. These are aimed at encouraging humanitarian aid that results to lasting change in the lives of people. This is supported by many Hadiths such as Aicha, the wife of the prophet who declares that God loves the works that last no matter how small. There is also a reward of continuity after death due to continuous works of charity. This implies that the magnitude of the reward is linked to the durability of the action of charity. Muslim religion has since decades promoted long term charity works such as projects destined to offer food, water and gift of tools. In addition, the prophet provided examples of acts that have continuous rewards even after death. They include planting of trees, digging a well and rehabilitating irrigation. This is supported by a hadith text which supports that Muslim cultivating a plantation will receive a reward on the Day of Judgment. This is every time the plantation is consumed or sinking a well where reward is given every time the water from the well is used. The prophet further encouraged Muslims to dig a well in the region of Rawma which was facing a horrible shortage of water. He promised that the Muslim will go to paradise on establishing long-term projects of development. Significantly, this has laid a strong foundation for the establishment of numerous humanitarian organizations that are both Muslim and no-Muslims across areas that require these projects. These organizations encourage donations of available resources and have been effective in many places across the globe such as Bosnia, Somalis, India and Herzegovina (Cunningham 116).
Islamic governments in the past were trusted to be responsible of the zakat or contributions to cater for the needy. This was known as the Treasury House or the Bait-Al-Maal. This comprised of the funds collected to support the needy. The aid could be transferred to another country in case it was not required in that government. Currently, many Muslims do not trust their governments, and this has led to the formation and the emergence of Non Governmental Organizations which are entrusted to collect zakat. The humanitarian agencies belonging to Islam were also entrusted to distribute zakat and other donations of charity especially in developing countries. This resulted to donors feeling secure and in a good situation to hold up the humanitarian aid groups. Noteworthy, this has led to the formation of Non Governmental Organizations across the globe both in Muslim and non-Muslim governments. The NGOs are entitled to conduct acts of humanitarian especially during emergencies of disasters and support the needy. These include UNICEF which takes care of the vulnerable children, WHO for the provision of foods to the affected and the UNAIDs. These organizations are funded by donors and are entrusted to support the needy in different regions.
Significantly, the Muslim NGOs benefit from the Muslim spiritual events such as Ramadan where numerous donations are made through fundraising. The money collected is assigned to programs of food-aid or the Ramadan Food Parcels while the rest is used in financing of programs of development. The NGOs are used to reach many of the developing countries facing a distress (Rosen 60).
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