A Life Changing Experience: A Youth’s Reflection on the Winter Clothing Drive

Muslims across the Maryland and DC area united to collect clothing for folks experiencing homelessness. Items were then distributed to shelters in Baltimore, Annapolis, Virginia and the DC streets. Below is a youth’s reflection on her experience distributing winter clothing in the streets of DC

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A Life Changing Experience

by Luwaila Babiker

As I hear my phone ring, I see that I get a text from one of my fellow sisters reminding me about the clothing drive the following day in DC. Subhanallah, group texts were formed and sent out within seconds; the youth was really looking forward to getting together and seeing what we could do to help those in need.

Subhanallah, as we all saw each other the next morning we were disappointed about the weather but, Allahamdulilah, that didn’t stop us. After getting to DC we split into four groups (half guys’ half girls). In each group we had individuals dedicated to helping and motivated to make change. Allahu Akbar!

As I started to walk downtown with my group one of the brothers walked up under a staircase; at that moment I was very confused as to where he was going. Then I noticed that there was a homeless man in the corner covered with a cardboard box. In the rain! In the cold!! The brother went up and asked the gentleman if he needed any winter wear; after long pauses the brother asked if he needed a coat, or socks, hats, gloves, etc. The man responded “A coat please”. A man who had almost nothing responded with such humbleness and gratitude. Allahu Akbar! Subhanallah, I hear so much about homeless people, but when I saw it with my own eyes I got goose bumps, my eyes widened as I stood still and pondered for a while as to how they manage to live in such conditions every day. Subhanallah! We continued to walk around the city. As we walked the sisters and I were still reacting to what we just witnessed. We walked in silence for a while and reflected to understand what everyday life is for some folks.

The next group of people we went to were in front of a library. They were in corners, on the floor, and leaning against the wall. We all went to each of them to see what we could help them with. The old man I went to was so amazing. He was blessed with happiness. I asked if he needed anything for the winter and he said “Socks would be great”. As I asked if he needed a jacket, gloves, or even a scarf; he said no thank you I have plenty. This man was so grateful and thankful and his face gleamed with smiles of appreciation. Even though we constantly offered them more, they constantly thanked us and emphasized that they had enough. Subhanallah! Look at this beauty; we who have more than anything complain that we have nothing and those who seem to have nothing prove they have everything. Allahu Akbar!! The more we were with the needy the more we realized how blessed we were. “You can never say Allahamdulilah, enough” tweeted by a youth member that night. Subhanallah just by having simple conversations with these people put the biggest smile on our faces. Some of the people just wanted a pair of socks! We had bags of coats, sweaters, gloves, hats…but SOCKS that’s all that they asked for. Subhanallah! They were so happy and thanked us repetitively. They only took what they needed.

As we continued to walk even more we stopped by a group of women and offered them some winter clothes and they said “No thanks, there are plenty of others who need more help”. Subhanallah it brought tears to my eyes and pain to my heart. It was clear that she was in a state of help but she insisted we move on to help others. Allahu Akbar! With each person we came across the more we began to realize the presence of such humbleness and gratitude. The more we walked the more we realized. The more we saw the more we understood. With each person we experienced something unique.

Overall I observed that they used the word God a lot. As we talked to them I noticed that with every phrase or so you’d here “God bless you” or “God protect your soul”. It’s quite interesting to observe that God is the only hope they have; and that’s exactly what we as youth need to understand. The fact that when we have God in our lives, that’s all we need. As another youth member tweets: “At the end of the day its just Allah that matters” .Subhanallah although it was pouring rain we didn’t even notice it; it didn’t even get in the way. It actually made the experience become more unforgettable. An amazing feeling was instilled into our hearts that motivated us to help the needy. But truly none other than Allah, Al-Wahab, can give. Subhanallah to be honest the way I saw it, they helped us more than we helped them. As a youth we all experienced something with our own eyes that was life changing. We realized how grateful we should be.

As we gathered at the end and reflected upon the experience we agreed that it’s definitely something we’d like to do more often. I feel like it purifies our hearts and more so our intentions. The sad part is that these conditions are a part of everyday life for some people, yet many of us usually just walk past them.. I asked myself if it weren’t for this event; would I have been one of those people who would’ve just walked past? Astagfurallah, May Allah forgive us if we have ever ignored our own brothers and sisters who are in need. Alhamdulillah for all that Allah has blessed us with. Subhanallah for the patience Allah instilled in these individuals.And may Allah also bless us too with strength and patience.

Ya Allah you are the most merciful, we ask you to shower us with your mercy and love. Ya Allah we ask you to grant us patience and strength. Ya Allah purify our intentions. Ya Allah allow us to do that which pleases You, and allows us to gain Your love. Ya Allah guide us all to doing good and abstaining from that which is bad. Ya Allah allow the Ummah to come together, in order to achieve greatness and spread good.

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