From the start of the pandemic, volunteers at Colchester Islamic Community Centre (CICC) came together to set up CICC Sewing-Bees and have been hard at work hand-crafting reusable face coverings to distribute, free of charge, to vulnerable people within the Colchester community. The idea for the project was sparked during the first lockdown, following a call to check on the welfare of a CICC member. The member had tested positive for COVID-19 and the whole family had to isolate. At that time, it was difficult to find facemasks, as they were in short supply, and those available were expensive for people of restricted means. A call for volunteers was put out and the CICC Sewing-Bees was formed. After extensive research on what types of fabrics would be suitable for protection and breathability, appropriate fabrics were sourced, initially from members attics and storage cupboards. But supply soon ran out and fabric needed to be bought – not so easy during lockdown. The team of 12, began sewing masks, setting themselves a target of 50 masks.
With their hard work and dedication, this target has been repeatedly exceeded and more than 650 masks have already been donated between C360, Colchester Food bank, Colchester and Braintree Homeless Shelters, First Stop Centre, Beacon House, Firstsite, Refugee Action Colchester and children and adults with special needs. Volunteers have stated, how being part of the Sewing-Bees has been such a meaningful experience; and one noted how happy it made her feel to contribute positively to society. Another volunteer described how great it was to come together, to make a difference by “limiting the virus spreading in our community & to save lives”. We are delighted that the Sewing-Bees continue to this life saving work with their motto ‘Stitch to save lives and livelihoods’.
I am happy to report that we have been conducting welfare calls to our members. The sisters have finished their welfare calls to our sister members. Alhamdullilah, everyone welcomed the calls and 99% were managing or doing well during this COVID19 crisis. For the remaining 1% appropriate signposting and help has been offered.
The volunteer brothers are making good progress getting through their membership list of calls and alhamdullilah, things have gone well there too.
In addition to this, contact has now been made with Refugee Action Colchester and 360, an organisation that amongst other things, coordinates volunteering within the Colchester community. With the cultural diversity and multitude of languages, we have access to in the COVID19 Support group we are in a good position to offer help to them and consequently they will refer some of their service users to us when needed.
A further development is that FoodInc has confirmed they can be emailed directly by our service users (who are unable to go out due to self-isolating etc.) with their shopping list, name, phone number and mentioning they are from CICC. FoodInc will then ring them to take payment over the phone. The COVID group volunteers can then be contacted to pick up and deliver the food. This is great news, alhamdullilah, as it streamlines this whole process.
Our helpline number is 07598 941828 (Open 10am – 2pm)
In light of the high number of COVID-19 deaths we have clarified the burial process for our deceased, fulfilling both government and Islamic requirements. Whilst no Muslim burials have taken place in Colchester, we have had losses within our community, in neighbouring towns. We want to reassure our members that steps have been taken to ensure we are prepared to support our community through this.
The key features of COVID-19 burial process in Colchester are:
1- Deaths can now be registered on the telephone within 5 days
2- Contact the funeral directors and Colchester Mosque
Funeral Directors : Hunnaball 01206 760049
Colchester Mosque: Imam Shamsul Islam 07758 003257
Koysor Chowdhury 07907701495
or Bashir Goni 07912026383
You can also contact Colchester Mosque to be put in touch with the Community Bereavement Support Group .
3- The deceased will be taken directly to the Funeral Directors (not to deceased home or masjid).
4- Hunnaball of Colchester Funeral Directors allow us to perform the washing and shrouding of our deceased with full PPE protection (max 2 persons) and for family to see the deceased (max 2 persons at a time).
5- Deceased will be taken directly to the Cemetery (not to the Masjid) for burial. Solaatul-Janazah will be performed at the Cemetery.
6- Colchester Cemetery allows Islamic burial with shroud only (no coffin required). Max 10 persons may attend burial. No PPE necessary but 2m social distancing applies. Please do not attend if you are suffering with coronavirus symptoms, self isolating or shielding.
We have formulated a Burial Guidance Document to allow greater understanding of what happens and to fully prepare in the event of someone in the near family passing away.
It features a Practical Guide of what needs to be done, fulfilling both government regulation and Islamic requirements. Thereafter it goes through the complete Islamic rites of passage, including the relevant prayers.
May Allahﷻ bestow His infinite Mercy upon us, Pardon our faults, Cure our sick and allow our deceased, eternal paradise without reckoning. Ameen.
underestimate how connected we are as a Muslim Ummah. The bond which unites us
together brings us closer to each other than we could ever imagine.
on Sunday 5th April, twenty plus brothers came together to join our first
weekly Brothers’ Online Meet Up.
session we focussed on:
Our connection to Almighty Allah SWT
Our connection to each other
with everyone informally introducing themselves. As nearly everyone there had
been trying some YouTube courses to improve their connection with Allah, we took
some feedback and encouraged each other to continue learning and developing
their connections to Allah
Then we touched upon why it’s so pertinent to connect to Allah.
appreciated that, if we want to become better Muslims, we do need to actively
focus on improving our connection to Allah.
requires a basic understanding of our soul and the spiritual world. The more we
develop our awareness of Allah, the more we notice the effect of this even in
the physical world…
This insight is incredibly powerful.
2 ways of learning
In the physical world we often learn through information. However, activation is actually much quicker.
How to have more activations
will have different types of activations throughout their spiritual journeys.
However, it is possible to actively seek activations
There are 3
courses on YouTube which are especially effective at delivering these activations:
our spiritual journey, we’ll realise that breathing is very important.
On Sunday we all did a breathing exercise together. Please bear in mind, that although you may think you are very competent at breathing, you probably can still improve a LOT.
This term is
used in the breathing video above. It’s useful to be able to notice this…
Keep in mind
that we often are a little scared of our mistakes. So, we’ll unconsciously
avoid them – at all costs. Once we give this avoidance a name, it becomes much
easier to notice it and to easily navigate around it.
On Sunday, we had a live activation session. Together, we learnt to make a dua to Allah, to help us concentrate whilst reciting the Quran. We also noticed unconscious energy and had many insights on how to be more connected to Allah.
the session by bringing awareness to the importance of community. We all
encourage each other and we all depend on each other’s support.
useful to be aware of the impact which you’re already having on others. We will
call this “impact awareness”. Notice the positive impact you have on your
kids/parents/siblings/relatives/friends and your environment.
Appreciating your current impact makes it easier for you to enhance your impact.
enjoyed hosting the class on Sunday. I’d like to mention that it can only
happen if you guys attend and really try and join in as much as you can. I
really appreciate the positive vibe all the brothers maintained throughout the
session. It really made it enjoyable.
I hope you all take benefit from the free courses on my YouTube channel. They will help your spiritual journey I look forward to seeing everyone at 2pm every Sunday until 7th June.