Get to know Nour
We get asked one question often & regularly. Who founded Nour? Why was this initiative taken? And how did you manage to establish a charity?
The truth is, each time we are asked those same questions we forget how far we have come and how much work goes in constantly to keep Nour alive to even dwell on our humble beginnings. It literally makes us pause, think and then answer and even the answers take us back by surprise.
We are two friends like friends no other. And we formed a strong friendship whilst both at university. We were loud and free spirited but our love of politics and Islam always kept our discussions more soul searching and with a desire to want to help others. And this was easy because of the Islamic society and the pivotal role they played in supporting charity week. As Muslims we grew in our deen together and each day found a sweetness in our Iman but paradoxically discovered the bitterness in some of our own Muslim communities. (It is true the company you keep does mould you).
As women we loved that Islam gave us the right to be born brave, be educated, be strong and be independent. We were women with goals of fulfilling all that and more. Through one of our discussions and a sad discussion it was, we touched on the issue of Domestic Violence. How severe was this problem and more specifically was it a real threat in our communities? We are all so well versed in the rights of women in Islam but theory and practice don’t always marry together and we dwelled on how little help or support there was to both tackle this issue but also support women suffering from DV.
What was more disheartening was that we knew of several charities for orphans, disaster relief, and so forth but not a single one for helping the community and fighting against DV. It is in fact such a large issue that a lecture at the local masjid with the Imam advising you to be kind to your wife does not hit the nail on the head let alone suffice. Of all the charities we have and nothing for DV!!!
Angry and upset of course we reminded each other that it is better to be proactive rather than reactive. That in itself set a challenge and made us eat our own words and so within minutes we rushed out to buy a notepad. We had the name within the next 5 minutes or so. We wanted to bring Nour to the lives of those oppressed and be that light at the end of a dark and torturous tunnel. And that was all we had, a name.
With no idea of how a charity functions, the governing laws or the the effort and sacrifice it takes, what we did have was fire and determination. We started scribbling various ideas and started with what we wanted to offer and we started with strength, support and solace. Those three words are the backbone of everything we do at Nour.
Did I mention this was all during our industrial year and the crunch of the work was to begin during our final year at university. Juggling everything became difficult but we moved ahead slowly but we did not give up. We utilised this time to do background research and see what the average Muslim knows about domestic violence and whether a charity serving the Muslim community would be beneficial. Unsurprisingly, we found many Muslims had not heard of a charity where Muslims being abused could turn to, where their faith was considered and appreciated. Thus, this was enough of an incentive to launch a charity to serve these people. Two passionate university students, who did the odd charity work here and there, yet we had no idea how to establish a charity.
Initially we approached many charities and requested whether we could work under them as a sister organisation, however there was no positive responses. This of course disheartened us however did not dent our passion, and we were even more so determined to establish a separate charity alhamdulillah. At that point we turned to Brother Azad Ali, a well respectable figure of our community, may Allah bless him in abundance. We knew off him, however he did not know us, yet when we approached him with our idea and asked him whether he would provide us with help and direction in setting up a charity, he was more than willing to help. Brother Azad met us on a few occasions, to assist and give us the motivation that we needed to establish a charity whilst simultaneously meeting those dreaded dissertation and lab project deadlines.
5 years on, we are excelling every year alhamduilllah with support and prayers from you all. Our gratitude first and foremost goes to Allah, for allowing us to serve all these people who have been suffering in silence, and to Brother Azad in abundance and everyone else who has supported and continue to do so.
A heartfelt thank you from us both.