A socio-religious group from Tamil Nadu is making mosques the pivotal point to usher in social reform by providing food, job opportunities, education and 25 other allied services
Waquar Hasan| Caravan Daily
CHENNAI – If you thought that a mosque is only good for offering namaz or prayers, then it’s about time for you to change the way you think. Masjid Sevai Kuzhu (Mosque Service Committee), a socio-religious group in Tamil Nadu has been using mosques to do social service for almost half a decade now.
For the past five years, this group has been using mosques, in a unique and practical way, to provide food, jobs, education, medical treatment and 25 other services to those in need.
Interestingly, their service is not limited to any particular area, region and state. They claim that they can provide solutions or help for any social issue, but only through mosques. For instance, if a particular person approaches them for any aid, then they visit the mosque located in the area, survey the area and conduct the program and decide on the solution that needs to be provided.
“We offer all type of social services, but only through the mosque. We are following Sunnat-e-Rasul (practices of Prophet Mohammed). Doing social service through mosque is the practice of Prophet Mohammed. We initiated this practice on January 1 of 2013, in Erode, Tamil Nadu. It was welcomed by all kind of people. As of now, we have initiated social service programmes through this model in 700 mosques of Tamil Nadu,” said A. Syed Ibrahim, National Organizer of Masjid Sevai Kuzhu, while talking to Caravan Daily.
Ibrahim, for his social service model, was honoured with the social leadership award at the Social Leadership Summit, organized by Movement of Empowerment of Muslim Indian, in New Delhi. Ibrahim, a resident of Erode is a businessman by profession.
With the mosques being the centre for social service work, a number of people help and support the projects initiated. They get their volunteers from the mosque itself.
“Called the one-week project – Friday to Friday, we first get the permission from the mosque, then come over and conduct a survey. Then, we list the issues and we give them solutions within a week,” said Ibrahim.
In the past, through such programs, they have successfully set up tuition centres and schools, provided education and job assistance to women, helped the needy to avail educational scholarship, arranged marriages, set up interest free banks, provided food kits to the needy, rehabilitated drug addicts, provided accommodation for the orphans and the elderly and even helped people to set up small business.
They have also organized medical awareness camps, law awareness camp, job placement camps and even conduct educational counselling for the youths.
“We are offering over 40 services. We have a network across Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and collaborate with other organizations,” he said.
The model for providing these services is simple – connect the poor with the rich. “We actually connect the poor with the rich. Simply put, we connect the solution providers with the ones who are in need of a solution,” said Ibrahim. “Every month we are distributing 80 lakh food kits,” he added.
Talking about medical treatments, he said, “We are having a tie-up with 2500 doctors of which 100 doctors are very close to us. They are giving treatment at low cost and we are also utilizing government schemes.”
Speaking of how they solve the issue of unemployment, Ibraheem said, “We collect the resumes of those in need of a job and share it with 160 companies that we have a good connection with. These youths are then selected on the basis of their interview performances.”
They have even set up coaching centres within the mosques, where students both from the Muslims and non-Muslim community study together. They collect money from the neighbourhood to set up the system of education.
Ilyas Asad, a resident of Tamil Nadu’s Vaniyambadi, feels that they are doing a wonderful job. He said “In our area, they have used the mosques in a very creative way to provide social services. They visit mosques of every cult and sects and they don’t talk about sectarian differences. They say that they have to just do services and they have no relations with any sects, cults, groups and associations. They have been doing wonderful jobs.”