Sunday, May 18, 2008

Blessed gardens

The increasingly bleak visage of this blog, fueled by the occasional words of reminder from a few people which are noticeably becoming frequent (thank you), I feel like I should finally write a word or two. Presumably I’ve been busy, although looking at the things that I do every day, one might have a hard time telling apart a medical student from a standard-fiver. However, final exams are almost here and everyone’s all gung-ho about it (actually more about the part that comes after it, where we’re going back home, but let’s skip the details.), so I think I’m gonna wash my white coat soon and come out brand new- literally and metaphorically speaking. Hehe.

Last week we held a fundraising campaign for the construction of a new mosque in the Kirovskiy region of Volgograd. Some of the activities included a talk, clip show, charity sale, and a trip to the current mosque adjacent to the construction site of the new one. We had all been made aware of the cause last year but not many really understood the dire need of it (me included). I thought, so they were building a mosque, good, good… I’d be glad to donate what my wallet could offer at the time.

But that day I decided to participate in the trip, and I finally understood, wholeheartedly... I was rendered speechless at the sight of the humble mosque which was about the size of a three-person room in my hostel (which we still complain about from time to time). We'd been shown a video interview of the elders who frequented the mosque earlier during our talk at the hostel, and I thought they were showing a part of the praying area, but really that was about the whole of it. The place itself was a picture of utmost calm, with comfy rugs and comforters over wooden benches where the elders sat, but it was nowhere sufficient for local Muslims to pray, especially during Friday prayers. The only other mosque in Volgograd (where Malaysians usually frequented) was also reported to be barely adequate during Fridays.

The cost of building the new mosque is estimated at 15 million Roubles (roughly equivalent to RM 2 million) and the accumulated sum so far is approximately 2 million Roubles (13.33% of the required amount)- 1 and a half years after the fund’s initiation, from what we were told. So you can see that we’re in quite a fix here. The project didn’t receive financial backing from the state government, although apparently talks are under way (which I imagine won’t be a walk in the park, not in very secular Russia). I feel like I need to do something besides giving a few wads of cash, and spreading the word seems about the only thing I’m in power of doing at the current ‘minion’ state of mine.

I thought I could do a decent job, perhaps with beautiful flowing words to attract people to the plea, but I guess this can get no plainer. Nevertheless, it’s an honest plea on behalf of Muslims in Volgograd who will tremendously benefit from the building of this mosque/Islamic centre, and you and I can be part of the barakah attained within it. I may not even be here when the mosque is finally completed, but building a mosque (especially where it's urgently needed) is a lasting heritage, a grounds for mercy in the hereafter, so that’s enough motivation for me.

If anyone would like to find out more about the project, please visit here. Contact persons are given at the site, but if you would like to make donations through me, you can email me at

“And the likeness of those who spend their substance, seeking to please Allah and to strengthen their souls, is as a garden, high and fertile: heavy rain falls on it but makes it yield a double increase of harvest, and if it receives not heavy rain, light moisture sufficeth it. Allah seeth well whatever ye do.” (Al-Baqarah:265)