Muhammad Shuwekh (@MShuwekh) takes a closer look at A.R.K a student charity fuelled by the desire to do good.
Huddled together around a table on a cold winters night, in a field somewhere in London, Muslims students from Kings College have given up their night for something far greater. They are members of the ARK Project (Acts Of Random Kindness) an organisation founded in 2012 with the aim of spreading random acts of kindness through their community.
ARK is a voluntary organisation that hopes to support those in need. But those volunteers, largely made up of contingents from the Islamic Society believe their efforts ultimately serve a deeper purpose in providing an opportunity to gain good deeds and please Allah (SWT)
"Our motivation is literally to do good deeds in the hope of pleasing Allah SWT by helping others and in turn helping ourselves"
Through a series of coordinated teams stretching from homeless relief to free tuition services this impressive group of young Muslims run an organised system of giving which would rival many charities in the UK.
A.R.K is split into four sub sections the 'Tackling Homelessness Team' , 'Outreach' which helps freshers with exams and essays, the 'Giftboxes' team which provides relief for refugees and finally the 'Orphans and Neighbours Project'
They say they are motivated by one thing, their duty to please Allah (SWT) but with media demonisation a common theme for every Muslim is this an opportunity to provide a positive view of Islam?
No, the aim of our project is to provide opportunities to do good for Muslims and change our own perceptions of our Deen. It's to follow in the footsteps of the Sahaba and help us take a step towards creating communities where people actively support one another. Alhamdulillah, a great added benefit to this is that it changes the perceptions of Islam that those in our community have as well. But alhamdulillah it's a reminder of why dawah was so successful in the Prophet (SAW)'s time. Back then, we had Muslims who ate, breathed, and lived Islam. How can they criticise our religion when all they see is us doing good?
Often those who are homeless or less fortunate are not always exposed to this portrayal of Islam and Muslims and so an unfettered desire to do good is always appreciated from those who receive it.. What is the response of those that you have helped?
Everyone is very grateful, they tell us how they don't believe what the media tells them about Muslims. That we prove that Islam teaches them something different, something pure. More importantly however, are the responses from our volunteers and within our community. A lot of them are grateful for the opportunities to do good. Far too often, in their day to day lives, they lose sight of the essence of Islam, an Islamic character, Islamic virtues and they appreciate how working with ARK gives them the opportunity to humble themselves. It gives them the opportunity to be grateful for what they have and grateful to be able to give back to society and their local community in whatever capacity they can.
ARK has run a multitude of projects and they have already accomplished a lot so far check out some of their previous events below..
Recently ARK held an event titled 'Homelessness: The Hidden Truth' which was attended by students at the university and presented by a panel of speakers from various homeless charities. The aim was to demystify our understanding of this issue by looking at the real issues that cause homelessness and most importantly what we can do to help.
The orphans and neighbours project (a subsection within ARK) are focused around encouraging good deeds within communities. They have organised quirky and inventive ideas to spread good, such as distributing sweet bags during the exam period and creating the 'bake for your neighbour campaign'
A.R.K are doing a fantastic job not only in portraying Islam and Muslims in a positive light but also creating an opportunity for good to be done. If you are interested in getting involved check out their Facebook page HERE they hold events throughout the year and are always looking for volunteers.
But here is a more pressing call to action for all our readers. ARK are currently running the EVE Project which is collecting women's sanitary products for the homeless. If you are able to provide any assistance click on the poster below for more information.
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