A curious proposal

As summer faded away in 2013, a curious invitation began circulating on the Internet, calling daring sisters to raise hundreds of pounds for charity by getting sponsored to take part in October’s famous Mud Runner event at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire.

Advertised as The Adventurous Muslimah’s Eid Al-Adha Charity Challenge, it had a confident air of brilliance which truly captured the imagination. As one blogger put it, encapsulating the enthusiasm for this imaginative concept:

“I love the Eid Mud Run– what a beautiful way to celebrate Eid!”1

In the event, Mud Runner came and went without its team of warrior Muslimahs with hearts set on victory. There were too many factors counting against it:

  • Mud Runner is one of the toughest races around and hardly ideal for novice runners, however enthusiastic.
  • It took place at the end of October, when days are short, making it nigh on impossible to fit salat in around the race.
  • Two months’ notice was just too short a time to enable potential participants to both train and collect sponsor pledges.
  • There was an absence of clear leadership behind the idea, relying too much on individual teams to make their plans autonomously.

But while this idea foundered, others across the Atlantic were undeterred. In an effort to raise funds for Islamic Relief, twenty Muslims took part in August’s Mud Factor event in Maryland, USA. Taking on a muddy five kilometre course interspersed with tricky obstacles, the group managed to raise enough money to sponsor an orphan for five years.

“What makes a mud run really worthwhile and popular is the chance to raise money for Islamic Relief.”2

With smiles on their faces to prove it, the team had a whale of a time, jumping over fallen trees, trekking up hills, leaping over muddy streams and taking on a series of man-made obstacles over the course of a morning.

“This event was great for charity and a good event for dawa. People were so impressed with all the hijabis running with the team.”3

Inspired by these efforts, and others like them raising invaluable funds for charities all over the world, this proposal sets out the case for the development of a sisters-only fundraising event, which sees UK Muslimahs sponsored to take on a fantastic obstacle course challenge.

Though wanting in its execution, last year’s aborted Mud Runner charity challenge was surely onto something: build on Eid al-Adha’s theme of sacrifice and you have an event with a festival atmosphere. A day out for runners and spectators alike, and an opportunity to do great good in the earth.

Obstacle course events have an astonishing appeal. Perhaps it is a primordial attachment, as we recall our creation in black clay; perhaps it is just our love of farce, of a wacky adventure, of the need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones from time to time. Whatever it is, these events are a great way to have fun, whilst simultaneously supporting the most serious of causes.

This proposal is my sadaqa: take my ideas and use them freely to ultimately benefit the most needy amongst us, wherever they may be in the world.

I pray you will give this proposal some serious consideration and, inshallah, bring it to fruition.


1 Sarah, author of Muslim Runner, a blog about running, food and faith:  http://muslimrunner.wordpress.com

2 Rasha, recorded on the Islamic Relief USA blog: http://www.irusa.org/blog/getting-muddy-for-a-good-cause/

3 Abdel Rahman, also recorded on the Islamic Relief USA blog.

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