By Taimur Abbas
CHARITY is one of the key pillars of Islam and embedded in our hearts and minds.
I witnessed my mother always supporting underprivileged people back home in Pakistan from a young age, and wanted to continue that in a more formal and structured way. In 2016, my brother Zaheer Abbas and I registered Wiping Tears with the charities commission with a vision to help and support as many underprivileged people as we can. As a charity, we have grown every year since, in terms of donations, the difference we have made and number of people we have supported.
Wiping Tears’ core purpose is to financially support underprivileged families or individuals. Operations are divided into four distinct divisions, starting with basic human needs of food, shelter and clothes. Other ways we try to help is paying education fees of those who can’t afford it, helping with marriage fees for impoverished families and medical support. A majority of our charitable work is carried out in Pakistan, though we do support food banks in London too.
Having a Pakistani background means we visit the country quite often. I have personally witnessed the impact of inflation, corruption, and lack of job opportunities on the underprivileged. Much of that pressure a family feels is during Ramadan. What we take for granted is something that means the world to them, including a basic meal. So, Wiping Tears tries to ease the pressure of iftar during Ramadan for such people or families. We organise an iftar pack consisting of flour, rice, lentils, cooking oils, herbs, spices and vegetables to last the full month of Ramadan. Last year (2020), we supported 56 families with these food packs. And most amazingly, it only costs £20 per iftar pack.
We are fortunate enough to support many families, but it is a blessing even if you can support one person during this holy month. For me, personally, and Muslims around the world, Ramadan is one of the best times of the year. The atmosphere around and during Ramadan is so spiritual and thought-provoking. As the daily fast progresses and you feel the hunger, it forces you to reflect on your blessings and realise how we take our ‘full fridges’ for granted. For me, the purpose of this holy month is to enhance yourself spiritually, mentally, physically and most of all, as a human being. A big part of that is helping others.
A saying I once read, “the purpose is not to live a happy life, rather, it is to live a useful one” has always remained with me. I believe that by default, as humans, we have been programmed to support our fellow humans regardless of religion, race etc. This is the reason why you’ll see many people who do not even believe in God doing amazing charitable work. Supporting others and seeing the positive impact of your charity on people’s lives provide an indescribable satisfaction and just increases your willingness to do more.
Of course, being a Muslim there is a religious aspect to it also, and I believe, whatever your faith, doing good will connect you to a higher power. Wishing you all a blessed holy month.
Taimur Abbas is the chairman of Wiping Tears (registered Charity Number 1167508). Visit www.wipingtears.org.uk