Humans Of Zakat

Jessica

I am Jessica, a convert and a proud mother of four children and this is my Story.

A few years ago I was pregnant, working and caring for my three children. I felt completely exhausted but I had no other choice. Shortly after converting to Islam I married a man who I thought was kind hearted. It wasn’t long before my husband started to physically abuse me and my children. The abuse was so bad that I was scared of losing my unborn child. One day I decided I could no longer take this abuse. I travelled to my parents’ home in a rural part of Canada where my husband would not be able to find me or my children.

We were all living in their small damp basement but we were safe and we were happy. Our trials were not over yet. My life took another drastic turn with my father and my newborn baby falling seriously ill due to mold and they were admitted to the hospital. Prolonged exposure to toxins forced the landlord to close the property for repairs and once again we were out on the road; this time all seven of us. This forced us out to motels in the freezing winter where we took shelter for a few nights. Out of work, relying only on my savings and the social assistance of my parents, we started to pile on the credit card debt. Before long I was completely out of money and I had no credit left on my credit cards.

A day later, as I was feeding my toddler in the hospital cafeteria, I came across a friend’s post about NZF. I contacted them and requested financial assistance. NZF helped me and my family by covering our immediate needs for food and shelter. In the following days, they worked with me to plan for the future. NZF arranged for my entire family to relocate and live in a transitional home. The home was in another province so we took the train and made the long journey over to the west. We lived in this wonderful home, where we finally got the chance to rejuvenate, and work towards self-sufficiency and a fresh start. With the blessings of Allah, my father saw the beauty of Islam and took his Shahada a few days before passing away.

I thank all the people who helped me with their Zakat. I saw the beauty of Islam and I am so thankful to to Allah for guiding my father.

Your Sister in Islam,

Jessica

Ahmad

Syrian Family – Refugee Claimant

I am Ahmad, a syrian refugee and a proud father of two beautiful children and this is my Story.

I worked hard for my engineering degree from the University of Aleppo.

I married the love of my life and we had two beautiful children; a boy and a girl. Wishing a bright and respectable future for my kids, I sent them to International School of Aleppo. However, in 2011, the school shut down due to war breaking out and our sheltered lives began to crumble. Every night as we put our kids to sleep, we were unsure if we would be alive the next day. Airstrikes turned the streets where our kids played into graveyards. We had no choice but to leave our country. After waiting for 11 months cramped in a refugee camp in Lebanon, we finally began our final journey to Canada.

As we began to settle in Canada, both my children, Nour and Hussain, began experiencing severe seizures, which we discovered were symptoms of Wilson’s disease – a rare genetic disorder, which rendered my two children completely dependant.

Already struggling to resettle in Canada, our hospital bills and taxi expenditures piled high, making us unable to pay our rent. The community, sympathetic to our needs, put together some funds and acquired a car for us, so the trips to and back from the hospital would become more manageable.

Due to an error on our file, Canada Child Benefits were delayed for over 6 months. Relying on a monthly income of $1500 and after we paid rent I only had a few hundred left over for food. In a matter of weeks, we were behind on bills and two month’s rent. We started to receive notices from the landlord and the stress began to affect my health. At the verge of being evicted, I learned about NZF at my local Masjid. NZF was able to help with our monthly rent and food expenses until we started receiving our Child Benefits and became financially sufficient.

I found a job as a clerk and my wife is now learning English in addition to growing a catering business. While the busy days of Aleppo may be a thing of the past, Canada has become our new home.

Thank You for helping my family by providing shelter, food and comfort. May Allah bless you and your families in the hereafter and this Dunya!

Your Brother in Islam,

Ahmad

Lailah

A Young Palestinian Living in Canada

I am Lailah, a young Palestinian living in Canada with my mother and five younger siblings and this is my story.

My grandparents were forced to leave Palestine in the wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. They were stripped of their home and nationality and placed in Al-Shati Camp at the Gaza Strip. I grew up with stateless people like myself in a one bedroom home cramped with seven of us, with no imagination of streets, gardens, trees or flowers. My father – a truck driver— worked 14 hours a day to make enough money to feed us. Ever since I was a little girl, I planned my escape from this misery so that I could have a house with a kitchen and my own bedroom with walls just like the ones I saw on TV. I was studying at Birzeit University when one day, my father gathered my mother and my four younger siblings to tell us that we needed to leave in two days to go to Lebanon where he had arranged for us to go to Canada. He would accompany us later as soon as he found safe accommodations for my grandparents. That night, I walked around the camp, stood outside my house for hours and watched my father sleep because I was not sure if I would see him again.

We arrived in Lebanon – yet another refugee camp cramped with stateless people like us. My mother then found out she was pregnant. A few days later, we met the man that my father had arranged for us to meet before going to Canada.

After a four-month long journey on foot, on the back of cattle trucks, and finally by airplane, we arrived in Calgary. We were told that we would get our permanent residency status soon; and thereafter, we would get welfare and healthcare and my mother would be able to deliver at a hospital. As my mother gave birth, the hospital bills piled high but we were over the moon with the arrival of my youngest brother, Abdullah. Weeks turned into months and months turned into years. I felt so helpless, unable to work because I had no work permit, and I watched my mother’s health deteriorate.

We still had no status in Canada, so I started cleaning people’s houses to support my mother and siblings, instead of pursuing my dream of becoming a journalist. One day, I saw an ad by National Zakat Foundation on Facebook. They helped me pay for our rent and food so we could pay off the hospital bills with my cash jobs. I am hopeful that one day I will become a Canadian and go to university and pursue my dreams.

Thank You for helping me, my mom and my brothers and sisters. May Allah bless you and your families in the hereafter and this Dunya!

Your sister in Islam

Lailah

Ayesha

Mom Who Gave Birth at Nisa Homes

I am Ayesha, a new mother living in Canada by myself. I am a domestic abuse survivor and this is my story.

One summer day in Lahore, Pakistan, I walked home from the bus stop. Mom greeted me at the entrance, walked me into the kitchen, clutching my arm. She told me that I need to get dressed quickly and come downstairs, because a family is here from Canada to give a rishta (marriage proposal) for their son.

One year and five months later I arrived in Calgary; my life had turned upside down. I was now married to a man twice my age.

I lived with my husband and his parents. That is when the abuse started. The very first time my husband hit me, I ran to my mother in law thinking she would make him stop. Instead, she told me to be patient because he was emotionally distressed due to his brother’s death. I felt sorry for him and took the abuse in hopes that he will get better. Until one day, after an intense argument, he wrapped me in a blanket (to leave no evidence) and beat me unconscious. That’s the day I realized that his emotional distress was nothing but an excuse.

One day, during his usual rage episode, he hit me on my face and neck. Badly bruised and scared for my life, I ran to our neighbours for help. They sheltered me for a few days and contacted Nisa Homes. A police officer escorted me to my room to collect my belongings. I was then taken to a local women’s shelter and took next morning’s flight to Toronto.

As the plane touched down at Toronto Airport, I felt safe after a long time. As I moved in to Nisa Homes I found out that I was pregnant.
With mixed emotions, I contacted my parents in Pakistan to deliver the news that they are about to become grandparents. To my horror and surprise, they immediately told me to get an abortion, and come back to Pakistan so I can get remarried. They wanted nothing to do with their unborn grandchild. I was crushed and I knew it was wrong to get an abortion. I couldn’t do that and my family in Pakistan abandoned me.

With immense support and guidance of Nisa Homes team and countless indications from Allah, I decided not to abort the baby despite constant pressure from my family. This was the toughest and the best decision I ever made.

During my pregnancy I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes – everything made me sick and dizzy and I could only eat certain foods. In this vulnerable state, I decided to stay at Nisa homes until I delivered my baby. During my pregnancy, the Nisa Homes and NZF team was able to get me welfare payments and housing solely through donations.

When my daughter, Sumayah, came into this world, I knew I could never love someone more than I loved her.

My dream is to help other victims of domestic abuse and make this world a safe place for my Sumayah.

I thank you all who support Nisa Homes. Without Nisa Homes I don’t know where I would be today. Thank you for saving my Sumayah.

Your sister in Islam

Ayesha

National Zakat Foundation

PO Box 12051 Creditview
Mississauga, ON
L5C 4R7