Yasmina Reality

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#TBT From the Archives for ThrowBack Thursday

#TBT From the Archives for ThrowBack Thursday

By on June 26, 2014 in MyJihad Campaign

In the beginning months of the launch of the #MyJihad Public Education Campaign, a number of volunteers here in Chicago as well as on the ground in Oklahoma – took part in Tornado Relief efforts.  At the time – we had so much going on and didn’t give this story it’s proper due.  So today – that’s what I’m doing.

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#MyJihad volunteers aid Oklahoma tornado victims on the ground

Catastrophes bring people closer; and this is none more apparent than with the recent tornado that ravaged Oklahoma.

#MyJihad’s first true humanitarian mission has taken place with things simply falling into place as if with divine guidance. The tornado struck Oklahoma with barely any notice; and volunteers sprung into action in much the same way. What started out as a donation drive for new #MyJihad bus ads turned into something so much more.

12 #MyJihad volunteers rode 30 miles in the MB Financial, Bike the Drive event on Sunday, May 26, where cyclists enjoyed 5 hours of Chicago’s scenic Lake Shore Drive in all of it’s glory closed off to city traffic. Donors sponsored riders. 100% of the proceeds funded 12 additional #MyJihad Relief volunteers in concert with ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America,) to deploy to Oklahoma for disaster relief efforts.

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#MyJihad Disaster Relief Volunteer, Amyra H. Muhammad, called the experience, “indescribable.”

“Seeing it with your own eyes is nothing like TV. A wave of emotion takes over. We were simply in awe. The experience was eye-opening, humbling. It shows God’s power; and makes any complaints we have seem miniscule.”

The volunteers spent time in a rural area as well as the most affected, urban area. They saw destruction for as far as the eye could see. Entire neighborhoods were leveled. They cleared debris, comforted thankful families and collected personal belongings amidst the rubble and ruin. The volunteers were amazed at the positive outlook the victims displayed.

“They were so optimistic, positive,” Muhammad recalled. “They said, ‘We’ll just rebuild.’”

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myjihadOKC5They’re arrival was a big deal as they were met by area residents who said that they “don’t see Muslims much around here.” This made the mission draw an even more profound meaning to the volunteers whose primary goal was to take advantage of the opportunity to help victims and to make a difference.

“We were [blessed with] the opportunity to show people who Muslims are,” said Muhammad. “We care. We’re here to help in any way that we can. This is the true image of Muslims.”

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And the residents were grateful, expressing their appreciation.

The group of 12 #MyJihad volunteers came together largely as strangers, but left as life-long friends, by sharing an experience that will remain with them forever.

“We’re family now,” said Muhammad.

The moment they arrived and witnessed the awesome site, the volunteers kept reminding one another of a verse in the Qur’an:

“Wa Makaru wa Makara Allah wa’llahu Khairul Makereen” (Surah Aali ‘Imran (3):54). “They planned and Allah planned and Allah is the best of planners.”

We never know when a catastrophe might strike. As Muslims, we believe it is all in the hands of God. We don’t question His reasons for that which afflicts our planet and people, but we certainly can find meaning in coming together to help one another, build friendships and be reminded of our blessings that we take for granted.

People anywhere can use the #MyJihad campaign as a platform to make a difference in their communities whether it’s through education, outreach or helping our fellow citizens in need. This is hopefully just the beginning of many opportunities to come.

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About the Author

About the Author: I'm a Writer and Muslim Activist. I'm also a Board Member of the #MyJihad Public Education Campaign. Follow my blog at yasminareality.com or follow me on Twitter: @yasmina_reality. I'm also now on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YasminaReality Peace! .

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