Photo credit: UCD Isoc
Isoc’s media officer Hiba Mir speaks to other members of Isoc about their Believe and Do Good, an acts of kindness campaign.
WE’D like to think the Islamic Society is very community focused – for the Muslim minority on campus. Sometimes, it’s time to reach further and give back to the community en masse. So we started the Believe and Do Good campaign.
Back for its second year, this is where we rally our members to reach out to campus and our community with acts of kindness. The bigger picture is to remind us all to stay true to Islam’s teachings of being kind and caring to each other and the community.
For the week, we collected toys and books to be donated to charitable causes. Our first major event was a soup and clothes run. This was in collaboration with the Tasnuva Shamim Foundation Ireland, a non-profit that feed the homeless every Friday evening.
On Monday evening, UCD Isoc and members were outside the GPO. Lara Alagha, Isoc’s secretary recounts the soup run: ‘’it was amazing, the sense of community amongst the people. I met this one guy, Anton, who was fluent in three languages, such an incredible person. He wasn’t so interested in what we were giving him, more so the conversations we shared.”
Lara continued, ‘’we went out with the initial aim of providing them with the ‘necessities’ whereas it felt like he gave me the necessities for life, he taught me humbleness. I never got to thank him! I wasn’t really sad or anything for them, they all seemed so affirmed and accepting of their position in life. They weren’t sad, so why should we be?’’
“I thank God for humbling me that day, for showing me my real purpose in life; showing me we all have a duty, those who have any type of wealth’’.
Our second event was more symbolic. We went out (and struggled) and bought 25 balloons and 100 lollipops. We attached a saying of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) onto the lollipops which read “richness does not lie in the abundance of (worldly) goods but richness is the richness of the soul (heart, self)’’.
We gave out the lollipops for free around campus and once we reached the O’Reilly lake, we gathered 20-odd people to join us to send positive thoughts into the atmosphere. Literally. Everyone wrote a simple thought they wanted to let go of, a good intention or perhaps a positive quote on to balloons. And we all stood in front of the lake, and let those balloons go.
‘’We’re all a little troubled inside, whether it’s trivial or monumental,’’ Isoc’s auditor, Meshkat Haque, says. “It’s important to help ourselves and people around us feel better. I had a brief catharsis as I watched my balloon float away. Sharing that with a group of strangers was oddly therapeutic.’’
Keeping with the theme of giving back to our Campus, the lads of Isoc were out on Wednesday and Thursday morning giving out free tea/coffee (and conversation) in the new student centre.
‘’I think it went quite well!’’ Amr Tajuddin, Isoc events officer, says. ‘’People at the start looked kinda confused because they didn’t know why a society would just give free tea and coffee to anyone on campus. But when we explained the purpose of the ‘Believe and Do Good Campaign’ and how it was an acts of appreciation to the community, they really liked the cause. They even brought some of their friends later on in the day’’, he says.
We ended the busy week with a homeless pack distribution, after putting together care packs with the items donated by our members and our committee alike, things like toothbrushes, socks and lip balm.
On a dreary Thursday evening, we took to the streets with our volunteers and smiles again. ‘’Giving out the homeless care packages made me think about the things we take for granted.’’ Anas Khaled, Isoc’s special tasks officer, shares. ‘’One of the guys that got a care pack was so delighted and relieved, he even gave me a hug after and expressed gratitude. It feels good to be able to help those in need.”
Khaled added, “the Believe and Do Good campaign is a great way of showing people what Islam is all about, sharing some of the blessings that Allah (God) has given you, and the smiles that are put on people’s faces make it all worth the time and effort spent”
Another member, Yara Alagha, reiterated those sentiments, ‘it has shown me that when a community comes together for a united cause, the outcome is powerful.’
Much like our long departed balloons, it’s only upwards and onwards from here for the Believe and Do Good campaign.
The real impact of this campaign will be if we can carry the compassion we shared as a community going forward, especially in times such as this, where we are closing our doors to each other instead of keeping them open. People react strangely to kindness – it’s unexpected. That gives us a lot to think about.