Financial Health of Al–Shifa Medical Clinic Calls for Community Support
By Perwaiz Ahmad
Pictures by Anwar Khawaja
There can be no denying that the cornerstone of our religion is Haqooq ul Ibad which is to help the helpless. With this frame of mind, Al Shifa Free Medical Clinic opened its doors in March 2000 in the city of Muscoy, San Bernardino County, located approximately 60 miles east of the Orange County. San Bernardino County was a prime choice because the figure for its uninsured and unemployed population is one of the highest in the nation.
Dr Nadvi, Imam of the institution, Dar al-Uloom al Islamiya of America, was kind enough to allow the Clinic to be located on their premise which is spread out on several acres in a section that does not obstruct any activity of Dar al -Uloom.
The sole purpose of the Al Shifa Clinic is to serve the under-privileged members of our society regardless of religion, race, color or ethnicity, free of charge.
The Clinic is housed in a modular (mobile) building which was donated by the County Supervisor who was impressed by the vision of a few doctors and community activists in the Redlands area. The building is approximately 5000 square feet and consists of 16 examination rooms, a conference room, nurse stations, supplies room, a reception area and an administrative area for record keeping.
Three weeks ago , April 20 th , a Fundraiser was held in the heart of Orange County, Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel, Buena Park to attract the most affluent people from all walks of life . Although the event was well attended, delicious food and appetizers catered by Shahnawaz Restaurant in a soothing ambiance, the net amount raised was far below expectations; it was dismal to say the least.
Rehan Jaleeli, a personal trainer of Ben Affleck and Sylvester Stallone, gave a pep talk about the do’s and dont’s of maintaining good health. The audience burst into laughter when he gave a health tip about bread and sugar we consume in large quantities: “If it’s white, it ain’t right, if it’s brown swallow it down”.
During the Power Point presentation and speeches, Dr M. Aslam, Shams Hasan and Dr Talat Khan highlighted the current state of the Al -Shifa Clinic in various departments. Despite the fact that the doctors and few community workers work without any compensation, there are several paid employees who work full time to meet the minimum requirements prescribed by the State of California.
To keep this Clinic afloat, the Board of Directors has worked diligently and relentlessly for the last 14 years to alleviate the pain and suffering of the downtrodden and the needy. However, due to financial constraints, the Board has been forced to reduce the hours of operation. It’s my humble appeal to the community members to come forward and share the burden of running this Clinic. Together we all can make Al Shifa a pride of the Muslim community in Southern California.
Like they say, a stitch in time saves nine; similarly any ailment if left unattended in the early stages becomes a major problem for the financially strapped community residents. Because the financial woes of this noble project are not going to go away by themselves, my humble suggestions to the Muslim community are as follows:
a) Donate just ONE dollar per family member per month.
b) The Board of all the Masjids, especially the affluent ones in the Orange County, must find ways and means to help the Al Shifa Clinic, such as installing a donation box in their mosques.
In my opinion a free medical service facility in the poverty- stricken areas is as noble as building a masjid if not more because it is the best way to please God and win the hearts and minds of non-Muslims in our adopted homeland who are constantly bombarded with anti Muslim rhetoric.
Please google Al-Shifa Clinic Website and learn more about the services provided in basic health care, dentistry and optometry, spread the word and donate what you can.
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