Support a Noble Cause
By Ahmed Sheikh
Saghir Aslam was a Pakistani immigrant who originally came to America to study. He ended up staying for the next few decades. He worked at a large retail operation that later became a successful chain of fabric stores.
He lent his time and gave his wealth to a wide range of causes that worked to improve the lives of Americans as well as establish roots of the Muslim community in Southern California: He was one of the early leaders of the Islamic Society of Orange County (in Garden Grove), the Islamic Center of Irvine (which is relatively new) and supported many of what we now consider to be the mainstay American Muslim organizations.
Many people who are now well into adulthood are products of the Orange Crescent School, which Mr. Aslam had helped establish. Of course, no one man accomplishes such things by himself.
He was well on his way to continue his philanthropic work and giving to dozens of organizations and providing them with his advice and expertise, enjoying his retirement while spending time with his children and grandchildren in Southern California. Instead, he and his wife picked up and left.
Mr. Aslam and his wife Bushra had planned to start an orphanage in Pakistan. Their charitable work in Pakistan started nearly half a century ago when Mr. Aslam was in his 20s.
It was and remains important to him that he goes back to the country he came from in order to improve lives. He has built what visitors describe as a beautiful facility.
A facility that is needed more after an earthquake leftover 79,000 people dead and 3.3 million people homeless in 2005.
When it comes to orphans, Mr. Aslam believes they should be treated like daughters, and not as mere occupants in an institution: He was advised to purchase steel beds for the orphanage because of their lower overall cost. Since he would never buy a steel bed for his daughter, he would never purchase one for an orphan.
Abu Hurayra reported that Rasullullah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The person who strives on behalf of the widows and poor is like those who strive in the way of Allah and like those who fast in the day and pray at night."
There are many ahadith that address kindness to orphans. The Aslams as well as their friends have worked to help the disaster stricken orphans of Pakistan.
So why am I telling you this? Saghir Aslam did not ask me to write this email to promote his orphanage, or say nice things about him.
I am doing this because it's a good story to tell and because this summer, Mr. Aslam will return to Southern California briefly, and I understand he will be able to tell the story of Pakistan and her orphans to those who care about the good that could be done after tragedy hits a perennially tragic country.
I am asking you, if you are able, to host a get-together of your friends and loved ones at a home or an intimate setting to learn about the orphanage. Many of you on my email list know Mr. Aslam personally, or know about him.
If you don't know him, you should get to know him, you will insha Allah be richer for that.
Host him at your home or Masjid and invite your friends so they can learn about the challenges faced by orphans and the opportunities that exist to help them with their education, their healthcare and the quality of their lives.
Forward this email to those you think would benefit from this knowledge.
To get this in motion, you may email my brother, firstname.lastname@example.org. He will schedule a time with you so that you can learn about the Aslams’ passion for Pakistan and its orphans.
If you think it would help, forward this email to anyone you think may also want to host a small event. (Mr Saghir Aslam’s email address is: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 949-654-3944.