Many Canadians trust Islamic Relief with sharing their online Qurbani in Canada to all around the world. We want you to know your donations are putting meat on the table of a disabled father in Pakistan, and feeding an elderly couple in Bosnia and Bangladesh. Below, we share four stories of how much your Qurbani / Udhiya means to these families in Bosnia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Albania. Your donation is their ray of hope as so many families face war and starvation.
The word “Qurbani” in Arabic, refers to a sacrifice done in an effort to come close to God (see our series on the terminology of Qurbani or Udhiya). Through Qurbani, we honour the selfless acts of submission by Prophet Ibrahim. Following his example, every Eid Al-Adha we sacrifice our wealth and share our blessings with people in need. Allah (SWT) calls us to reach out with open hands, and give charity as a way of life. The Quran often uses the words “regular charity”, meaning that consistent charity should be a key part of a Muslim’s life and their devotion to Allah.
“Those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and establish regular prayers and regular charity, will have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Quran 2:277)
Since 1986, Islamic Relief has commemorated Eid Al-Adha by helping people all over the world send their Qurbani to those in need. Our offices organize everything in advance, buying high quality animals from local farms and ensuring all safety and hygiene measures are met. What started with only 670 distributions worldwide, has grown to more than 150,000 Qurbanis performed each year, and our program now reaches over 3 million people in some of the most remote parts of the globe.
Why Your Online Qurbani Matters
You’ll see below how donating your Qurbani / Udhiya brings joy to the lives of people who can’t afford the simple things we often take for granted. But remember, the joy exists in those who give as well as those who receive. An online Qurbani donation may seem small to those more fortunate. However, to those in need, their dua is being answered. We hope you see this through the stories that follow. Each of them have a special story to tell, we hope they touch you just as they touched us.
Bosnia – The Isolation of Old Age
The Bosnian War lasted from 1992 – 1995. Hundreds of thousands of lives were taken, and nearly half the country was displaced. Many families fled as refugees to escape the conflict, what we now know was a genocide. But after the violence ended, many people, like Omanovic and her husband, made the decision to return. Because after all, Bosnia was home.
“We lost everything we had in the Bosnian War. Our house was destroyed and our son was killed in one of the camps. We were made refugees and only returned here in 2002. Even then we lived in a tent for six months. It was the help of good people that allowed us to rebuild our home.”
After three years of war, the Bosnian economy was in shambles. Jobs were hard to find, and as a result Omanovic’s three children were unable to stay with their parents. Many of them ended up moving to cities for better prospects. At first, it worked out.
“But now we are in our old age and have no money,” Omanovic tells us. “My husband is a pensioner and we mostly survive from his pension. But this income is mostly spent on medicines and paying our bills. It is impossible for us to afford meat even though it is affordable at the market.”
“We have always had to live a hard life, but now it’s even more difficult as we are old and sick and not able to look after ourselves. Due to the war, our neighbours are no longer here and our children are struggling in other cities. Seldom do people come and visit us now.”
Due to the tough economy, their children are barely able to make a living for themselves in the city. At the time we visited her, all of her children were unemployed. The isolation that comes with old age is even more pronounced for this couple. “Eid al-Adha is a time when the family is together, but this has not been the case for us for many years.” She tells us that oftentimes, the Islamic Relief staff are the only visitors they get for months.
Even so, they don’t let their circumstances get them down. They remain optimistic in the help of Allah through good people. “Without the help of good people, we would not be able to taste meat at all. We place our trust in Allah. We’d like to thank everyone who participates in this good work. May Allah reward you all.”
Albania – The Needs of a Struggling Family
Kujtim and Vjolca are married with three children. Vjolca is undergoing treatment for cancer, but the family still stays hopeful. Here is their story.
Kujtim: “I work as an occasional welder and I really love my profession, but it is not easy to find a job in the village. I had to immigrate to Turkey to support my family, I was there for two months before I had to return as my wife got very sick. My wife and daughters work the land with me where we grow vegetables and they take care of a cow that was donated to us. Alhamdulillah, between my work and the produce from the land and cow we manage to survive. It is very difficult for us to buy meat. As the head of the family, I feel very bad about not being able to meet the needs of my family, especially for my sick wife and young children. They desperately need nutrition from meat and I can’t provide for them…”
Kujtim started crying and was unable to speak. His wife comes over to comfort him.
Vjolca: “As I am going through chemotherapy the doctor has told me that I need to have a high protein diet. Protein is important for cell growth and repair, and a healthy immune system. Without enough protein, the body will take longer to recover from an illness or the cancer treatment. I am grateful for all the hard work and efforts of my husband. I feel very blessed.“
Kujtim: “Our house is very old and needs restorations that I cannot afford. The house is small and not enough to accommodate the family properly. It has two bedrooms, one living room, and one kitchen. The roof is leaking and the walls are wet. There is also some mould that worsens my wife’s health. She has to travel 16km to have chemotherapy as there is no doctor or facility in our village.
Eid Al-Adha is a celebration and a day of joy for the family. Unfortunately, we have not been able to sacrifice an animal but we celebrated with what we have and celebrate with our family members. We are grateful for the Qurbani meat we received from Islamic Relief. The meat for my family is a real blessing. It means that the food needs for my sick wife and young children will be covered and you can’t imagine the joy and relief that I feel for this. And it isn’t just this, the feeling that we are not forgotten and the spiritual value is very important.
Words cannot express the thanks I send to Islamic Relief’s donors on behalf of myself and my family. We are thankful for your support during these hard times. May Allah reward you all.”
Bangladesh – Eid in Refugee Camps
Peran is a Rohingya refugee who was forcibly displaced from his home. He now lives in a refugee camp with his family.
“Now that I am 75 years old I am no longer able to work and my memory is affected. Most of the time I struggle to remember things. As a refugee it is very difficult to get a job, but my wife helps. She does some labour work when she can to help bring in some income. Most of the time we depend on charitable food donations. We try our best to run a household but there is little work for us, so we rely on relief goods. Meat is not cooked in our home for months on end.”
“It is impossible for us to buy meat, my wife is the only person who can earn a little money to help meet our basic needs. After that we can’t even think about anything else. Over the last two years, the idea of eating meat is like a dream. When we were in Myanmar we were able to eat meat a few times a week, but in the last two years we have only been able to have it three or four times in total. This affects our health badly. We can’t purchase enough food to live sufficiently, but we depend on Allah. I am now old and need medicine to survive, but I worry about my grandchildren because there is no place for them to get an education.
Eid Al-Adha commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and is important for us to remember. I remember Eid in my country; as a refugee here we cannot afford to sacrifice any animals right now. A few days before Eid, my wife asked me about how we will spend the day when we have no money and no meat to eat. I told her that only Allah knows how it will be. Then I heard that Islamic Relief had arranged some Qurbani meat for us. Over the last two years we have been able to celebrate Eid because of these donations. Apart from Islamic Relief and their donors, people have forgotten about us. Thank you all for staying with us.“
Pakistan – A Father’s Love for His Children
Ajmil is married with five children. He has a visual impairment which prevents him from securing a job.
“I cannot get a proper job due to my visual disability, and my children are too young to work or help. Sometimes some relatives help us by providing some food and some try to help financially. Visual blindness is the biggest challenge for me as I can’t take care of my children like other parents. If they get sick I am unable to take them to hospital, if they need help with some chore I can’t help as I would end up creating more difficulties for them. In difficult times some families support us by giving charity, but sometimes my children have to sleep with empty bellies. People give us their Zakat money too, we try to be careful with this but more often than not my wife and I have to fast to survive throughout the day.”
“We don’t have the money to do Qurbani ourselves, but we agree with its essence. Eid Al-Adha is of great importance to us because it provides us with the opportunity to eat meat and also connect with Allah and thank Him for all the blessings He has provided us.
Our routine on Eid is similar to all other days, the only difference is we have meat to eat. We cannot afford meat throughout the rest of the year. We try to make the food as nice as possible to make our children happy. My wife will try to cook the meat in small quantities in combination with other vegetables, this way our children can have nutritious food for an entire month.
Islamic Relief’s meat distribution is a source of happiness for people in our community because this allows them to join in the Eid festivities like everyone else. The meat packs put smiles on our children’s faces.”
Thank You for Your Online Qurbani Canada!
Together with the millions of beneficiaries, we would like to thank all our donors from around the world for your generosity. To care for one another, we must put our needs aside and want for others what we want for ourselves. Charity is considered to be one of the most important components of our faith. It is also crucial to the human race. The Quran reminds us that there is a “recognized right, for the needy and deprived” over our wealth (70:24-5). By giving and sacrificing one’s wealth, a Muslim fulfills their duty to help those in need and prevents themselves from becoming proud of their own generosity.
It is because of your offerings that we are able to reach families all over the world. Thank you for sharing your Qurbani / Udhiya this year and for consistently extending your hand to those in need! May Allah accept from us all.