ORANGE COUNTY - Giving back to their community, Muslims in Los Angeles Orange County are planning the annual humanitarian day that celebrates Ramadan by helping thousands of homeless and needy.
This is a "social service project that happens every Ramadan and it is happening in Southern California from Orange County all the way to Oakland," Umar Hakim associate director for the Intellect, Love, and Mercy (ILM) Foundation, and the lead organizer of the event, told Examiner website on Thursday, August 2.
Held every Ramadan, the Humanitarian Day brings together Muslim volunteers to meet the needs of vulnerable populations.
This year's event will provide free health screenings and referral services, food, blankets, new clothing and toys.
Hygiene and back to school kits would also be offered to those in need.
We don't need to say anything," said Hakim.
"We need to do something by putting our faith into action."
Planned on August 12th, this year's event is co-organized by the Coalition to Preserve Human Dignity (CPHD), Orange County Islamic Foundation (OCIF) and local Islamic centers.
"For the past five years we have partnered with the OCIF. That has also sparked other collaborations with other OC organizations like ISOC, ICOI, IIOC," Hakim said.
"We've all come together under the banner of the coalition to preserve dignity."
Founded by Imam Saadiq, the ILM Foundation was established in 1998 and means "knowledge" in Arabic with the acronym meaning intellect, love and mercy.
During that time the community focused much attention to international issues up until the events of 9/11.
The outlook by the Muslim community quickly shifted from international to domestic with the hopes of redefining the Muslim identity within the US.
Season of Giving
For the Muslim community, the event is a chance to reflect and to give back to the community during the holy month of Ramadan.
"It is important to give back to the community. The creator has given social obligations," Hakim said.
"These include taking care of family as well as your surrounding family which is your community.
During Ramadan when we are fasting, we make an attempt to provide a humane service to humanity surrounded by god's mercy, he added.
"Ramadan is a month of reading the Qur'an, internalizing its meanings and trying to apply them in the best way possible to our personal lives and social causes, so all that translated into Humanitarian Day.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
The sick and those traveling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks.
Fasting is meant to teach Muslims patience, self-control and spirituality, and time during the holy month is dedicated for getting closer to Allah though prayers, reading the Noble Qur'an and good deeds.
During Ramadan, Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through prayer, self-restraint and good deeds.
The majority of Muslims prefer to pay Zakah for the poor and needy during the month.
Although there are no official figures, the United States is believed to be home to between 6-8 million Muslims.
US Muslims celebrated the start of the holy fasting month on Friday, July 20, making it the first time for Ramadan in 30 years to come in mid July.