£637,187 raised of £750,000 target
As you despair at the school run traffic, with 20 minutes to rush back for that work meeting online… You see that anxious, single mother, counting coins with her little one, in his ill-fitting jacket. She’s spread too thin, between mouths she cannot feed, bills she cannot pay and bailiffs, yelling at her door each week, in a language she cannot understand.
As you scowl out your window, your grocery delivery delayed, with the hunger unbearable just before Maghrib… You see that frail granddad, wheezing as he lugs home his bag of food-bank iftar. Heavier than his load is his heart, full of worry for his son in prison. These days he’s afraid that he’ll never get to see his boy again; if this chest infection doesn’t get the better of him, his loneliness will.
This Ramadhan, as you beseech Allah for His Mercy, with a heart tired by loss and separation,
remember: for those seeking eternal solace with their Lord, Allah’s Pleasure is hiding in plain
sight. He has promised His Love for those who love to serve His servants for His Sake.
Find Him by embracing
those in need this Ramadhan.
The distress of isolation, financial anxiety and domestic turmoil are more familiar to most of us now. But for HHUGS families, there isn’t an end in sight to this uncertainty. In over 200 broken homes, not far from your own, families affected by counter-terror measures are facing fear and poverty in a time that has destabilised countries. Accustomed to a life of social distancing long before the pandemic, now they are more isolated than ever. Children, who are no better off than orphans; single mothers wrestling with extreme stress; and elderly parents ostracised by their communities are struggling to cope. They are in desperate need of being reached out to, just as we too are in desperate need of His Mercy.
For His Sake, embrace the oppressed this Ramadhan, for there is no veil between Allah and their prayers.
‘Verily, Allah will say
on the Day of Resurrection:
Where are those who love each
other for the sake of my glory?
Today, I will Shelter them in My
Shade on a Day when there is
no shade but Mine.’
Eid clothes, gifts and the joy of celebrating together –these are the things all children look forward to at the end of Ramadhan. But children of prisoners have no such hope. Theirs are households where food is scarce and new clothes are a luxury. This Eid, they’ll be looking on with sadness at peers enjoying new outfits and presents. But a small gift for Eid and a Ramadhan Gift Box can tell HHUGS children that they are also cherished. It can bring cheer and a spiritual boost to a family in a month that might otherwise feel lonelier than most. Brighten their faces in this life, He will illuminate yours in the next.
“On Eid they sent us a box of gifts which had little presents and Surayah was so happy, I cannot express what her happiness did for me. She was asking, ‘Who is HHUGS?’ and I said, ‘they are our helpers in Islam.’”
‘Whosoever gave gifts for the sake of Allah… has completed his faith.’
The average UK prison visit is a 120 mile round-trip. For an elderly parent in poor health and poverty, or a single mother with small children, mobility constraints and the high cost of travelling to a remote location, make prison visits impossible. We all know something of the pain of being separated from our loved ones now. But that pain will be harder to bear for the families of prisoners, after almost a year of separation, due to the suspension of prison visits during the lockdown. This Eid, a brief reunion can ease their yearning and strengthen their hearts.
“When your husband is no longer in your daily life, you really look forward to that one visit. My son would ask me, ‘how many more sleeps until we see him?’ […] I remember saying, ‘how is anyone going to take us?!’ –but these volunteers, who had their own families to deal with, actually took us all the way up north on Eid. I was so grateful to them for their generosity.”
‘My Love is a right upon those who visit each other for My Sake. My Love is a right upon those who sit together for My Sake. My Love is a right upon those who maintain relations for My Sake.’
Following the arrest of their husbands, the wives of prisoners become single mothers overnight. With bank accounts frozen and benefits withheld or delayed, often they even struggle to feed their children. Now, with the pandemic lockdowns that have cost thousands their livelihoods and put a strain on us all, HHUGS families are struggling more than ever. They won’t be looking forward to iftar the same way we will, this Ramadhan. But the gift of food vouchers can change that, providing families with good food to break their fasts with throughout the month. Feed the Hungry, for His Sake; He will feed you from the fruits of Paradise.
“I couldn’t apply for any benefits because I wasn’t a UK national. It wasn’t legal for me to work. I had no income. I was very depressed. HHUGS paid for my bills, my rent, my food. I think if HHUGS were not there I wouldn’t be alive right now.”
“Then Allah will say, ‘Son of Adam, I needed food but you did not feed Me.’ ‘My Lord, how could I feed You when You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ ‘Did you not know that one of My servants was hungry but you did not feed him? If you had fed him you would have found its reward with Me.’”
The trauma of witnessing a raid, followed by the struggle to survive through poverty and isolation, damages the emotional wellbeing of a prisoner’s family. Children, bullied at school, often bear the shame of psychological responses like bedwetting, while their mothers suffer from anxiety under the burden of caring for a family alone. As for a prisoner’s elderly parent, fear and isolation cause depression that can snowball in severity. With the lockdown causing stress levels to soar nationwide, the pandemic has further exacerbated poor mental health in HHUGS households. This Ramadhan and Eid, they will have little joy. But with the right support, their emotional healing can start today.
"The therapy and the counselling has provided me a safe space to speak to someone, without fear of any judgement, knowing that it’s safe, secure and private. That is the most fulfilling and most comforting thing to have – to know that whatever you feel and you’re struggling with, that there’s someone you can offload to who is a professional, that understands how the mind works. It has changed my life so much and I am grateful that I have that. Alhamdulillah for HHUGS providing me with that safety net.”
“Allah will say on the Day of Judgment, ‘Son of Adam, I was sick but you did not visit Me.’ ‘My Lord, how could I visit You when You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ ‘Did you not know that one of My servants was sick and you didn’t visit him? If you had visited him, you would have found Me there.’”
Following an arrest, many families of prisoners have their assets confiscated. Without the means to pay the rent, they face eviction and constant harassment from bailiffs. Often they haven’t even the means to fix a front door smashed in a raid. Exposed to the elements, they are forced to live without basic security in their own homes. And with thousands in the UK falling into rent arrears due to furloughs and redundancies, homelessness is a terrifying reality many HHUGS families now face. This Ramadhan, they won’t be waiting in anticipation for sunset, as we will. But with a little help, you can give them the shelter of a safe home. Shelter them in this life, He will shelter you in His Shade in the next.
“They used to knock really hard. Sometimes I would feel that the door was going to break. Sometimes people would scream from the letter box, ‘open the door!’ […] I used to shake out of fear. I would continue shaking until they left. For a long period of time, I was very nervous. All my finances were cut. I didn’t have money for food. My health began to deteriorate.”
“Allah (swt) says on the Day of Judgment: ‘Where are those who loved one another for My Glory? Today, I will shade them in My Son the Day when there is no shade but Mine.’”
No one deserves to be left alone in times of hardship. Yet this is the reality families of prisoners live with day in and day out. Labelled guilty by association, they are ostracised by their own communities, and often face harassment. This Ramadhan and Eid, when other families come together, the wives, children and elderly parents of prisoners will be feeling that isolation more intensely than ever. But with your support we can facilitate Eid gatherings where they can connect with others who understand. Due to the pandemic restrictions last year, HHUGS weren’t able to organise any in-person social events. With your support, and the will of Allah, our virtual gatherings and dedicated 1-2-1 phone support will be a salve for isolated families, desperate for company.
“They [HHUGS] also arranged Eid parties we could attend. We finally started to feel more normal, like there were some people who weren’t afraid to associate with us. HHUGS saw us as human beings, not as criminals and terrorists. They treated us as part of the Ummah.”
“My Love is due to those…who visit one another for My Sake… and who maintain links for My Sake.”
On top of the trauma they have endured, children of prisoners are often made to feel guilty by association. Bullied and ostracised, they succumb to mental-health problems and often even turn to truancy and delinquent behaviour, in the absence of social support and role models who cherish them. This Ramadhan and Eid, not having their father around will leave them feeling more abandoned than ever, particularly in a time of increased isolation. But academic support and recreational activities, as well as needs-based psychotherapy and mentorship, can help HHUGS children tackle their inner turmoil and find comfort in the attention and affection they yearn for.
“Yusuf used to stay in his room alone all day, but HHUGS, they paid attention to him, taking him on Islamic conferences and retreats. […] His approach to things became different, he would know right from wrong and he became a positive healthy young man. He changed his attitude towards me from hostility to kindness and he began helping me look after our family. […] I couldn’t have imagined that they would have such an impact on him. I believe I would never have been able to help Yusuf in the same way.”
‘Would you like that your heart becomes soft and that you acquire what you need? Be merciful with the orphan, pat his head and feed him from what you eat.’
Hindered by financial hardship and social isolation, the wives of prisoners struggle to provide for their children. Many face the additional challenge of language constraints as well as a lack of basic skills and work experience. Without community support for childcare and funding for education, they’re unable to improve their situation; while their association with a terror suspect further reduces their chances of employment. With the pandemic having cost thousands their livelihoods, this is a time of even greater hardship for single mothers who already have the odds stacked against them. But a generous investment, this Ramadhan, can change that, giving such a mother the skills she needs to gain financial independence.
"I have a few modules left of my course funded by HHUGS. When I finish I hope to apply to become a Teaching Assistant level 3 in school. I didn't have experience in the school so this has given me a lot of knowledge; It looks very good on my CV and will help me get a job. We are the only ones responsible for our families. […] Our days are consumed with our families and dealing with the prison, the case. You don't get time or have the money for studying. So such courses help us to become independent. Without HHUGS, this would not have been possible."
"The one who looks after and works for a widow and for a poor person, is like a warrior fighting for Allah's Cause or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all the night."
Following the arrest of their husbands, wives of prisoners are left to pick up the pieces on their own. With assets confiscated and benefits frozen, they quickly accumulate rent arrears and unpaid bills. In some cases, they inherit the debts of their husbands, which were previously unknown to them. With limited financial resources, these become near impossible for them to pay off. At a time when thousands of UK families are suffering from mounting debts brought on by furloughs and redundancies, the wives of prisoners are utterly helpless. But a generous donation can help clear her debts and heave a breath of relief this Ramadhan.
“I’ve been borrowing money the past week and a half. Wallahi, I don’t know what we’re going to do over the weekend. I’m just really dreading when the agent finds out the rent is overdue.”
"Whoever alleviates [the situation of] one in dire straits who cannot repay his debt, Allah will alleviate his lot in both this world and the Hereafter."
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“Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.”
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