Ramadan in Somalia with Islamic Relief Canada’s Medical Team


Ramadan in Somalia with Islamic Relief Canada’s Medical Team

Dr. Ikramuddin Syed is a Canadian doctor volunteering in Somalia with Islamic Relief Canada. Below are some of his reflections and thoughts on the current crisis.



It was just the other day I realized that there wasn’t really any crying. There was unbelievable suffering but no real crying… I know it was the extreme state of exhaustion and not having any energy left that explains it. The situation in Mogadishu is a nightmare and best and unimaginable at worst.

Ramadhan for me this year started during a layover in Rome, en route to Nairobi with the final destination being Mogadishu, Somalia. We had no idea what the plans were, no specific expectations except knowing that what we would see and experience would most undoubtedly change us in some fundamental way… But what we lived there, no words can do justice to. May Allah Azawajal ease all the suffering and heartache.

Fasting for us here in the West can never really be considered hard, I mean maybe there are days where it is little challenging but it cannot compare to actually dying of hunger… and this is what I saw. Five year old children who could not support their own weight and would simply flop to the ground, 2 year old children weighing 3kg… the weight of a newborn child! Children in unbelievable states of malnutrition, things I’d only seen in text books. Subhanallah… We don’t know the blessings we have.

We landed in Mogadishu on a one runway airport, off to the side was a derelict relic of a plane long since crashed and pillaged. No one had thought to remove it, then again who would have removed it. This is a place which has seen such turmoil over the past 2 decades, such violence and sadness and today’s famine is a culmination of so many factors all rolled into one… and who suffers the most? The one who walk 10,15,20 days to come for help, burying along the way, or in some cases leaving behind the little ones too weak to continue the journey. Yes, I said leaving behind babies, with a prayer that someone coming along from behind would pick them up, because no one in their group had strength enough to carry them forward. Ya Rabi, forgive us our neglect for sitting comfortably while so many suffer in unimaginable ways.

We had traveled with Islamic Relief Canada and met up with the heads of
 Islamic Relief USA as well Islamic Relief World and Islamic Relief Africa, of us all there was really only one person who had gone into Mogadishu in the past few weeks, for the rest of us it was something nothing could prepare us for. After leaving the airport we went for a quick little tour of what Islamic Relief (IR) was doing in Mogadishu. Actually IR is focused more in the southern areas of Somalia, areas which are not accessible to the vast majority of Aid agencies/NGOs due to the political powers which control those lands… a completely different story in of itself. The second place we went to was a day clinic being run by some local physicians at one of the Internally Displaced Camps (IDP camps)… our medical team
consisted of myself, a podiatric doc and a nurse. The plan had been to only visit, but when saw the line of sick kids we couldn’t just leave. So we joined in with the local docs and starting seeing the people.

One of the first people who came to me was a father with his little boy (3 or 4 years old its my own shortcoming that I can’t even remember his age now). The father told me the boy had measles, and I thought to myself how? Of course I had completely neglected to remember that there is no vaccination program in Somalia and that measles are endemic. So the father continued his history and told me that this is his 4th child, that the other 3 had been ill in a similar way and after they had reached a similar state as his current child, he had buried all three, one by one during the past week…both he and I knew that there was nothing more to do. This was the one of the first people I saw and the stories only got sadder. Person after person, heartbreaking story after story, this is all that there was. The largest 
hospital in the city is run by 3 docs and 6 interns, no one really gets paid. It is something they do in order to try and help their brothers and sisters. It is a crisis beyond belief.

There are dozens of tales I could share, but the reality is that no matter what I say, no matter what we see on screens or read in papers there is nothing which can truly capture the magnitude of what is happening. By the Mercy of Allah Ta’ala, I have been around the world on medical missions similar to this but I can truly say I have NEVER before seen suffering, especially that of children, in the way I saw it in Mogadishu. From any other journey I have taken, I usually have at least one heart warming story, from Mogadishu I bring nothing back but heartache and tales of misery.

I have 2 little boys and our concern is not how to feed them, but rather how to feed them the BEST of things. What makes the little boys and girls in Somalia any different? They are also my children. So how can I sit here and not remember the Infinite Blessings of Allah Ta’ala and not give thanks for all that we have? So for those who do end up reading this, please do one thing, pray for them and us, pray that Allah Ta’ala Showers them in Rains of Mercy both Literally and Metaphysically and pray that Allah Ta’ala Forgives us and doesn’t take us to task. And for those who can donate, please do so… In Canada we currently have dollar for dollar matching with the Federal government, so every dollar donated is matched by a dollar by the government. Please check out the website there are some videos of IR‘s work in Somalia as well as around the world.

Please remember me, my family and the ummah in your duas.

Videos from the “Help Haiti, Heal Haiti” Emergency Online Fundraiser: Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Imam Zaid Shakir, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Imam Mohamed Magid, Dr. Sherman Jackson, Imam Tahir Anwar, Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, Imam Khalid Latif and Others

Just in case you missed the “Help Haiti, Heal Haiti” Emergency Online Fundraiser, here are the videos from the event:

Over $105,000 Raised Through the “Help Haiti, Heal Haiti” Emergency Online Fundraiser – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Imam Zaid Shakir, and Others Exhort Us to Support Our Neighbors in Haiti

As-salamu alaikum,
May this reach you in the best state of health and iman. Ameen.

Earlier today, Islamic Relief, SeekersGuidance, MSA National, United for ChangeFawakih Institute, and Relief Works banded together for an emergency online fundraiser to alleviate the suffering of the victims of Haiti Earthquake. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital, resulting in wide spread devastation and destruction. Several Muslim organizations immediately initiated relief efforts, including SeekersGuidance.

Alhamdulillah, thanks to you and your contributions, we were able to raise over $105,000 in just two hours. If you were unable to attend the event, we will be uploading pictures and videos soon, but please take a moment and make a donation to Islamic Relief for the noble cause of eliminating global hunger. You can make a donation here.

Special Thanks
We would like to give special thanks to our wonderful scholars and speakers – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Imam Zaid Shakir, Imam Mohamed Magid, Dr. Sherman Jackson, Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Imam Tahir Anwar, Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, Imam Khalid Latif, Joshua Salam, Nader Khan, Nura Sediqe, Christopher Abdurrehman Blauvelt, and Faraz Siddiqui.

We would also like to thank key members of the SeekersGuidance staff and team, especially Sidi Khuram Zaman, Sidi Abu Bakr Batasi (Outreach), Tarek El-Messidi (Direct Programs), Ibraheem Shakfeh (Outreach) for their efforts in making this event a success on such short notice. And to Naeem Muhammad, Anwar Khan, and Sheema of Islamic Relief USA and Sr. Hafsa Hasan of Islamic Relief Canada.

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf made a surprise live webcast at the end of the fundraiser

Imam Zaid’s Challenge: Let us raise $1,000,000 for the people of Haiti

The original goal for the fundraiser was $100,000 and by its conclusion over $105,000 was raised. Imam Zaid Shakir said that we as a community must strive our hardest and should try and raise $1,000,000 for the people of Haiti.

Our income as a community is $170 billion. Brothers and sisters, what is one million out of $170 billion? Its nothing! We can do this and inshaAllah, we will do this! … We are a community that is on this earth to make a difference and to do positive things … Remember the saying of our Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) “Allah will continue to help His servant as long as His servant is helping his brother.”

To facilitate this, SeekersGuidance will give a free course for the Winter 2010 semester to anyone who donates over $500. (To view our course catalog, go to Once you’ve donated, send an e-mail to our help desk stating “Haiti Online Fundraiser Donation” in the subject.

Donate Now!

You can donate at any one of the following links:



IR Worldwide:


The Call of Compassion

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, founder of and instructor at SeekersGuidance, drew connections between the character of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the last speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., on March 31, 1968 –  just four days before his assassination.  (“Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution”)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation …. It seems that I can hear the God of history saying, “That was not enough! But I was hungry, and ye fed me not. I was naked, and ye clothed me not. I was devoid of a decent sanitary house to live in, and ye provided no shelter for me. And consequently, you cannot enter the kingdom of greatness. If ye do it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye do it unto me.” That’s the question facing America today.”

This is the call of the Prophets. It is the call of compassion. It is a call of mercy. Let us answer that call. For it is, “The merciful who are granted mercy by the all-Merciful. Be merciful to those on earth and the Lord of the Worlds will be merciful to you,” said the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). He said, “Be merciful to those on earth:” Whoever they may be, if any person who is in need, if any thing that is in need, it is the believer’s duty to hasten and assist.”

May Allah (Most High) grant us success and accept our efforts. Ameen!


SeekersGuidance Staff

Heal Haiti Earthquake Live Online Fundraiser – Featuring Imam Zaid Shakir, Imam Mohamed Magid, Imam Tahir Anwar, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Dr. Sherman Jackson, Imam Khalid Latif, and others – Presented by SeekersGuidance, Islamic Relief, MSA National, Relief Works and Fawakih Institute

The earthquake that hit Haiti this past weekend has resulted in the deaths of over 100,000 people. The devastation is widespread and people are in dire need of immediate assistance.

You’ve seen the devastating images of Haiti and the immense havoc it’s caused, and you’re asking, What Can I Do? InshaAllah, we should strive to do our part to be of assistance.

The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said: “Allah is in the aide of His servant as long as His servant is in the aide of others…”

Join us on Sunday January 17th at 2 p.m. EST for an Online fundraiser with Islamic Relief, SeekersGuidance, Relief Works, MSA National, and Fawakih Institute.

What: Help Haiti, Heal Haiti Online Fundraiser
When: Sunday, January 17th, 2 p.m. EST (click here to convert to your timezone)
Registration: Register to attend this event by clicking here


Confirmed Speakers:
– Imam Zaid Shakir
– Imam Tahir Anwar
– Imam Khalid Latif (Chaplain NYU)
– Shaykh Faraz Rabbani (SeekersGuidance)
– Shaykh Yahya Rhodus (SeekersGuidance)
– Nader Khan (Reliefworks)
– Nura Sediqe (MSA National)
– Chris Abdur-Rahman Blauvelt (Fawakh Institute)

Invited Speakers:
– Shaykh Muhammad Ninowy
– Imam Siraj Wahhaj
– Azhar Usman
– Dr. Sherman Jackson
– Much more…

Join Our Facebook Event

Send Out an E-mail to Forward

SeekersGuidance Supports Islamic Relief’s Efforts for Victims of Haiti Earthquake

The people of Haiti are in dire need of support after their country was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake this past Tuesday. 45,000 to 50,000 people are feared to be dead and many more injured. (BBC) Homes, schools, and hospitals have collapsed with people trapped inside them.

IslamicRelief has announced that it is teaming up with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to give $1 million in aid to the survivors of the earthquake. (Washington Times) Naeem Muhammad of Islamic Relief (and Native Deen singer) is leaving the US on Saturday for Haiti to assist with the relief efforts. Donations to Islamic Relief can be made here.

Eyewitness Accounts

Several brothers and sisters from Haiti and the Dominican Republic have given SeekersGuidance eyewitness accounts and updates.

Ibn Ambroise (Haiti):

“Brother Abou Bakr lost his sister when their house crumbled (she made shahada a few months ago). They are gathered at a masjid in Port-au-Prince that still stands, alhamdulillah! Their condition isn’t too good. They have no food, no water, no clothing . . .  [very little] medicine.”

Abdus Salam (Dominican Republic):

“We are in contact with brothers that are in the masjid in Haiti and it was said that all the masjid are standing while all the churches were destroyed. So the brothers and siters are waiting there for the help of Allah. Ya Allah make it easy on them . . . Ameen!

[Shaykh Faraz Rabbani’s response: “O Allah, protect the mosques and the churches–the Muslims, Christians, and others!”]

“They are really in need. They need food and all the help [they can get]. They [said] that their houses are all destroyed.”

Sr. Rodriguez Rosie (Dominican Republic):

“[Shaykh] Faraz, We have bad news. Our Haitian brother Abdurahman lost his sister, his  brother and his cousin yesterday because of the earthquake. He is very  sad, I ask you to please make lots of duas for him and his family.  We really need to give our brothers a hand…inshAllah.”

Healing Haiti Online Fundraiser

InshaAllah, SeekersGuidance, Islamic Relief, and MSA National will be hosting an emergency online fundraiser for the survivors of the Haiti earthquake. The online fundraiser is scheduled for this Sunday January 17 at 2pm EST. So far the following speakers are confirmed: Imam Zaid Shakir, Imam Tahir Anwar, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Imam Khalid Latif, and Nader Khan.

SeekersGuidance Winter Session Courses Open: Learn to Live.