Ulfa Aid was pleased to hold one of it’s first Educational Courses since the Charity started to carry out Community Projects. The idea behind Ulfa Aid is to bring Hearts, Minds and Communities together through different medians. Ulfa Aid wishes to carry out these Community Projects not only to educate Society, but so that the Charity can fundraise through these event’s for it’s Emergency Appeals around the world.
Shaykh Babikir Ahmed Babikir an esteemed Scholar, Friend, Teacher and Leader taught the One Day Intensive Course where many issues were addressed. Participants found the course educational as well as enjoyable.
The importance of Marriage was addressed as in today’s day and age, the Institution of Marriage is taken lightly. Shaykh Babikir brought home what it actually means to get married, the advantages of getting married and how we can with the right partner inshaAllah gain closeness to Allah and His Beloved Prophet (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him). How to choose a right partner? Are we really looking for the right attributes and characteristics when looking for a partner. Shaykh Babikir used the best examples possible, following Prophetic Tradition.
He then delved into Marriage itself, how to conduct yourself once married, the rights of a husband and a wife and how to cope with trials and tribulations. The Four stages of Love was a particularly interesting part of the Course as he explained the 4 main components which lead a person to Love another human being.
The day went very quickly, where Ulfa Aid made sure two major slots were set aside for Question and Answer sessions, so that participants had the chance to ask anything they needed clarification on or any help, advice they felt would achieve a stronger and healthier relationship.
Every single person loved the course, they felt it was the most beneficial and well organised Course that they had attended, Alhumdulilah. Ulfa Aid feel that a final date would be necessary especially after many people did not have the chance to attend the previous course. Saturday 14th May would be our final date and one NOT to be missed!
Ulfa Aid is a relief agency founded in 2004 by Shaykh Babikir Ahmed Babikir, the Imam of Yusuf Islam’s Islamia School. Ulfa Aid pioneered a mini relaunch as it branched into community based projects with the event ‘Come dine with me – An evening of faith, friendship and food.’ The idea was as a Muslim you buy a ticket and bring a non-Muslim to engage in interfaith dialogue with inspiring speeches by Sheikh Ahmed Babikir and Timothy J Winter at the Kensington Hilton.
As the guests arrived, they were greeted by the delectable Arab pastry otherwise known as Baklava accompanied with drinks. Approximately 15 minute session of mingling and networking finished as the guests were ushered in the main hall.
The evening began sensationally with the beautiful recitation of the Holy Quran followed by translation in English. Shaykh Babikir introduced the event to the audience with a lovely opening speech as he compared human kind to lights. As always Shaykh Babikir addressed everyone with a warm smile as he explained lights like humans come in different shapes and sizes from street lights to chandeliers. But in the end, we are all filled with spirit just as lights are powered by electricity. He underlines that we all share one common thing: Humanity.
Shaykh Babikir’s introduction was followed by the starters. As the clattering of cutlery ensued, the murmurings of conversation were concurrent.
Timothy J Winter’s eloquent introduction into ‘What composes a Muslim’ and ‘What is Islam’ was riveting. Winter quoted Persian Poet Jalaluddin Rumi:
You were a prized falcon trapped by an Old Woman.
Then you heard the drummer’s call
and flew beyond space and time.
This message resonated not only with non-Muslims but with Muslims, as Winter reiterated that we live in this world, in a dreary sleep of existence and we must be spiritually awoken by the ‘drummer’s call’ to indeed ‘fly beyond space and time.’ Winter suggested that before we are simply buried in a hole in the earth, as humans we yearn to find our raison-d’etre.
His arousing speech left many people, including myself in awe as it followed a question and answer session. The evening ended with desserts and music from the group Al-Nur, it’s colourful percussionists and singing ended the night perfectly.
Events organized like this by charities like Ulfa Aid are hugely important to give greater understanding to differing communities about what ‘Islam’ is. ‘Come dine with me’ was a tremendously well organized and interesting event which gave everyone – Muslim or non-Muslim something to think about as they left.
By Mohamed-Zain Dada
Modern day slavery in West Africa, race riots in India and floods in Pakistan. Just some of the recent international headlines coming out of the national media. But looking at those words on this blog, people don’t flinch or even bat an eyelid. The common response would be ‘meh’ before swiftly going on to facebook to look at that friend’s, friend party photo’s at that place, somewhere.
So how do we de-saturate our desensitized minds? Do we have a detox of anything that is detrimental to our brain? Could we ban the use of ‘De’ in front of words, maybe that would solve it? Or do we keep asking rhetorical questions in a quest to find some sort of rhetorical parallel universe where everything is fine and dandy?
I didn’t realise how much we as young people could change things in our local communities. Until I emailed my local MP Theresa Villier’s about a poetry workshop’s I had in mind. Next thing you know every week I’m helping to run a poetry workshop in a local youth centre with a supremely talented poet by the name of ‘The Leano.’
‘Power is just collective energy; to abuse the privilege is to rent with the illusion of owning’ Saul Williams
How to begin a blog post summarising an experience that lasted over a month and had literal blood, sweat, tears, all nighters and message ringtone dancing. Yes people the descent of out madness stoops to all new lows. But I tell you that tune was catchy! The GPU (Global peace and unity) is an event in the excel centre exhibiting Islamic culture from the arts, media, textiles, books, Islamic knowledge/information, discussions and tasty treats from all over the world. My involvement came in as a young creative to co-design stalls for two charities, Ulfa Aid and Interpal. Ulfa Aid is a small up and coming charity based in North West London. Founded by Sheikh Ahmed Babikir and managed by Zara Dada, it deals with sectors such as building homes for the homeless. Prefabricated structures, for disaster stricken areas and other housing developments such as orphanages and local community homes. Its other sectors involve feeding the homeless in the U.K (soup kitchen) and abroad, the charity shop, Radio Haqq a local community Internet radio show, emergency appeals and hospital visits. And many other inspiring projects that they have covered over the years such as mountain walks up mount Snowdon and Ben Nevis. The other charity Interpal a popular UK based charity for Palestinians covers sector such as Aid, food supplies, clean water projects & Qurbani and many more. Myself and a team of a few friends conjured up and decided to take on the task, as young creative’s to build the stalls for the GPU. Our team being the lovely Nadia Dada, Zara Dada, Safiya Ahmad and Isa Sulaiman. Our backgrounds being varied in the arts and humanities fields. Covering different scopes, backgrounds and artistic influences. The two charity stalls both had different floor plans to adhere to for the design. Interpals being 5 metres x 5 metres and Ulfa Aids space being 3 metres x 2 metres for the stall. The idea was to utilise the spaces and design something unique and visually appealing then your average stall at another convention, with office style partition walls. Over the next month we met initially over tea and cake and visually mapped out what we envisaged and what each stall would try to represent and portray. Ulfa Aid is a fairly new charity and has only been running for a few years, and being its first time at the GPU, the idea was to demonstrate what Ulfa is all about, its sectors, and how people could get involved and help. Where as with Interpal due to its well-known name identifying its sectors and its focus was not necessary so we went for the more subtle approach. We decided on a dreamier mural, illustrating hope for the Palestinians, due to the blockade and humanitarian crisis on the west strip. Our thought was around the basis of hope for the people, growth, development, flight, perseverance and peace.
Above is our initial 3D modeling of the two spaces, prior to designing. With our 3D rendering and dimensions we were able to head down to a local wood supplier, buy our timber and plywood boards to begin construction.
Looking back construction was probably the longest thing due to not working in a full-equipped workshop. But despite all this and a couple more visits to our local wood manufacturers for even more nails we under-estimated, we were ready to paint our hearts out and happy to get to that stage after we fully completed the construction. Painting was a really exciting stage and a pinnacle moment after weeks of heavy lifting, drilling, sawing. The group all found the painting to be very therapeutic and the period that triggered the most excitement. We ran out of time to get to the stage we aspired to achieve with Interpals stall, due to having to rush to the excel centre and actually deliver and install the walls at the Docklands site. After its was tucked away nicely in our North West London base for about 3 weeks. Nevertheless after all the long hours and hard work we actually were really proud of ourselves and what we managed to achieve in such a small amount of time, realising when you put your mind to anything for a good cause you can achieve it, if your intention is right. The aim was to stand out raise awareness for the charities and to be visually aesthetic to people walking by. If it caught people’s eyes, making them turn around, pick up a leaflet and listen to the great works these two charities produce day in and day out. Then it was really worth it for the sake of those who life’s we can never fully comprehend and whom we strive to help through this fantastic experience we were lucky to have received.
Construction and design of boards
Ulfa Aids stall and volunteers during the day.
By Aminah Babikir