Faith in Action Summit
16 / 12 / 22
28 / 02 / 19
Faiths coming together to give shelter to the homeless
Mfa Zaman is the 2018 London Faith & Belief Forum Inspirational Award Winner. After being homeless, Mfa Zaman started his own charity called ‘Safe & Save’ before setting up his ‘I Am With You’ project to help feed London’s homeless. He is a member of the Community of Jews and Muslims, an inter-faith group creating bonds between different community groups. Mfa Zaman’s faith was his inspiration to help himself then others.
What causes homelessness in your experience?
Homelessness is a big debate. It has not one; but many causes. And everything happens for a reason. To know and resolve it; we need to find out the reason. There are many factors and causes that can make people homeless and victim’s of abuse such as; poor physical & mental health, alcohol & drug issues, family & housing problems, unemployment and immigration & criminal justice system. I became a homeless just to save my life from abuse & torture. I never wanted to be homeless but it was the only option I had. My life was as a slave; not like a human who lives in the United Kingdom. I had no one to help me, I was in fear because my trust had broken. I count day & night where I will get a quality life like a human. But it was never easy due to circumstances. Even until today it is affecting me mentally and emotionally, because it is dark part of my life.
What was your inspiration to improve your circumstances?
My faith is my inspiration and my belief is my motivation. When you have lost everything, no roof on your head, no food to feed you and don’t know what will happen in the next moment; it is a most crucial moment for a human. By nature, human’s are weak especially in difficult moments of life. But only a human can motivate him/herself if he/she has faith & belief in God. It is never easy, but possible to rely on God’s mercy if we have knowledge about religion. And we need to ask questions to know; why has it happened to me? Why do we struggle in this life? Why do we have to go through hardship?
So, searching those question’s and answers will help you to know about life’s struggle & difficult moments. It will help you to hold yourself with faith & confidence. God said: “Do people expect to say; I believe in God and not to be tested for their faith?” – Al-Quran 29:1
So, you have got your answer and you know why you are bring tested and going through difficult times. But every problem has a solution and we must try to find out. We need to be patient; again it is never easy but rewardable. God said: “Verily, I have rewarded them this Day for their patience; they are indeed the ones that are successful” – Al-Quran 23:111
Most important is never become hopeless when you are homeless. Change will come to those who are looking for solutions with faith of God. Because God said: “Verily, with every difficulty there is relief. Verily, with every difficulty there is relief” – Al-Quran 29: 2–3.
And let’s pray to God and remain humble. Because it is a big challenge for us to keep calm and patient. But if we do the opposite then no change will come in our life. Even God said: “Seek Allah’s help with patient perseverance and prayer. It is indeed hard except for those who are humble” – Al-Quran 11:115
But the biggest challenge is to help yourself to overcome the tough moments. No one can change your life until you take an effort to make it. Even God helps those who help themselves. God said: “Indeed Allah will help those who help Him. Indeed Allah is Exalted in Might, All-Powerful“ – Al-Quran 22:40
And life is a challenge where no risk = no gain. So we need to make positive moves to make a change and work with patience until we have established the change. Change and good things come to those who go and try to get them.
What then inspired you to help others who are homeless?
As a former homeless person I have feelings for those who are going through hardships in life. It know the painful moments when you are not able share your pain. You have no one to listen to you or hold your hand. You became hopeless as a homeless person. But you need a spark to become hopeful. So, I have realised from my life experience that there are many people like me who need support. So I took the initiative to help and motivate them with my small effort; even though I still struggle in every moment in my life. Every action has reaction, so if you do good for others; it will come back to you. But we need to be patient because reward comes on his time. The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said: “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended” – Sahih Bukhari
I am delighted and grateful to Almighty Lord, Who guided, helped me towards the right path and gave me the golden the opportunity to serve His creation. I want to remember those special people, who always held my hand during my difficult time, helped me with their best, motivated me, gave me hope and encouraged me to go ahead for the best. Without them I am not able to reach others with success. From this gratefulness, today I am serving those who are in need, listen to those who have no one to listen to their pain and hold those hands who have no one to save.
To help and make change; I established the ‘Safe & Save’ to serve those people in the community who are struggling to share their problems and difficulties. I opened a project ‘I Am With You’ to help and feed the homeless people. Safe & Save is helping people from all faiths & colours. Because we are creation of one God. So it is our duty is serve His creation to please Him. It is a learning curve for me. When I help others, stand with others in need; it gives me hope, confidence and helps me to realise the blessings in my life. Because we always count what we don’t have; not what we have.
The reality is, it is never easy when you serve the society as a volunteer because it is unpaid job in a materialistic world. People are rushing to make money, buy house and car for a luxury life while I am fighting for my daily life; just to survive. But I never give up and stop to help others with my best ability, even it is very small. My objective is to please my God who look at my intention; not deed. I have tried to continue my service over the years to serve His creation. The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said: “Know that the most beloved deed to Allah is that which is performed regularly even if it is small deed”.
Safe & Save has been awarded by The London Faith & Belief Forum covered by BBC news.
Once a time I had no shade on my head in the winter nights, but I was never hopeless. I faced criticism and challenge but I overcome and proved the change. Until today I am defending for my rights. I am serving the less fortunate Londoners, because I was like them and understand their feelings, their pain. It is reminder for me where I am from; because we forgot our past quickly when life has changed. Very few people appreciated my service, but it did not discourage me to carry on my service and walk toward my vision. I try to be good to the orphans and needy, speak nicely to people and help the poor; just to please my God. I hope ‘Safe & Save’ will make an example for those who want to make a change through helping others with right intentions.
Your experience of interfaith work; who are you working with from other faiths other than your own and what are you learning from these collaborations?
I live in England where it has a rich multi-cultural society. People live here from all faiths, colours and race. As a Londoner I am in involved with Inter Faith activities. But it is very important to know your faith first and at the same time, other’s. The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said: “The best companion to Allah is the best to his companions and the best neighbour to Allah is the best to his neighbours” –Tirmidhi
As Muslims, we must honour all neighbours, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. We must fulfil their basic rights, ensure their well-being, refrain from causing harm or annoyance and generally treat them with the same respect and kindness we would expect for ourselves. So, it is very important to learn our own faith and get involved with Inter Faith activities for a better society.
Again Safe & Save has been serving food, warm cloths and give a gift to non-Muslim homeless every Christmas Eve. Because we need to stand for each other when they have difficult time during the festive period. My religion has festivals at the same times as other faiths, but homelessness means we are not able to celebrate it. So, it is our moral responsibility to stand and wish with them.
It will create a special bond between faiths, helping to get to know each other. Our neighbours were made by God, just as much as we were. As part of our common humanity, then, created by the same Creator, we need to be courteous and respectful of our neighbours as a Muslim. This starts with the way we behave. Let’s be humble, generous and give first before get anything. A faith teaches us how to share & compromise with love, dignity for peace. And Inter Faith is great way to serve the Creator.
Mfa Zaman is on twitter
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