The Houston Chapter of the Muslim American Society (MAS) joined hands with the MAS Service Corps (MSC) in their 1st National Meat Drive, which was timed to coincide with the ritual sacrifices of â€˜Eid ul-Adhaâ€˜, which commemorates the practices and traditions of the Prophet Abraham. About 1,000 pounds of meat was distributed at various locations around Houston including the Shelter of Catholic Charities called Guadalupe Center at South Jensen Drive, the Refugee Resettlement Center of Catholic Charities at Louisiana Drive, the apartment complex of after-school program of Catholic Charities, Masjid Hamza and Masjid Al-Mumenein. Many of the recipients were refugees from countries including Burma, Russia, Turkey, Sudan, Somalia, Cuba, and El-Salvador. Several Muslim ladies and young boys and girls were involved in this project and despite rain and extremely cold weather, worked diligently to accomplish this important humanitarian task, including Sister Nermin Elhadik, MAS-Houston Outreach Coordinator and Sheikh Hesham Ebaid, MAS-Houston President.
Significance of feeding in Islam can be seen from these Verses of Quran: â€œAnd they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive. (Saying) We feed you for the sake of Allah alone: no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks.â€ (Qurâ€™an Chapter 76 – Verses 8 & 9). Additionally, God says, â€œTheir flesh and their blood reach not Allah, but the devotion from you reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject unto you that ye may magnify Allah that He hath guided you. And give good tidings (O Muhammad) to the good.â€ (Qurâ€™an Chapter 22 â€“ Verse 37).
This project was done on behalf of Muslims, who designate their â€˜Eid donation or â€œUdhiya/Qurbaniâ€ to the needy of our communities, regardless of their faith. Beef cattle, lamb, and goat were slaughtered on December 20 & 21, 2007 according to Islamic tradition, and then the meat was processed at a meat packaging plant, where it was wrapped and frozen, in preparation to shipping the meat to various MAS Chapters and Islamic Centers across USA. The meat was then distributed on January 17th & 18th, 2008 to established shelters and other designated locations nationwide for deserving Americans of all creeds. With MAS Chapters located in 20 different cities, who all participated in this campaign, a total of 15,000 Ibs of meat will be distributed nationwide, out of which 1,000 Ibs was distributed in Houston.
At the end of the annual Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, and in symbolic remembrance of the Prophet Abrahamâ€™s example, Muslims who can afford to do so, sacrifice their best domestic animals (usually sheep, but also camels, cows, and goats). The chosen animal must meet specific health, age, and other quality standards. The meat is then distributed. One third goes to the family, one third to friends, and in demonstration of the charitable practices of the Muslim community, the remaining one third goes to the poor and hungry. A universally compassionate faith, Islam teaches mankind that there is no distinction between a hungry Muslim and a hungry non-Muslim. A person who is suffering here in America is just as deserving as someone who is in distress elsewhere.
Although America is the â€œLand of Plentyâ€, there is no lack of poverty, no shortage of people who are in need. Recent reports show that one in five children in the US go to bed hungry, while the ranks of the poor continue to grow: single mothers, immigrants, the elderly, and the working poor. In 2005, it is estimated that more than 36 percent of those served by food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters were children.
For press inquiries or more information on the MAS Meat Drive, please contact 832-545-3553.