Trial and tribulations

Luton Islamic Centre, located in the heart of Bury Park, is a hive of activity. Daily there are study classes open to men and women. On Saturday nights volunteers from the mosque serve soup to the homeless on Luton’s streets. The prayer hall, meanwhile, regularly overflows with aid supplies, ready to be dispatched to the desperate and destitute in war-torn Syria. And while many other mosques turn women away at the front door, this one welcomes them, inviting them to participate in the religious life of the community. Continue reading “Trial and tribulations”

San Francisco Mudlims

race_2332_photo_46957744On Saturday 1 October 2016, twelve adventurous Muslims from the San Francisco area took part in the brilliant Muckfest fun run to help raise funds for the MS Society’s. Running as a team calling itself the SF Mudlims, they took on a light-hearted 5K obstacle course.

race_2332_photo_46942181Set up to allow participants to have a good friends, the Muckfest mud run is not super challenging: no suffering or pretence of toughness here.

Proceeds from the event will go towards raising awareness and supporting those living with multiple sclerosis — a cause close to one of team Mudlims’ participants, who has MS herself. An amazing time was had by all involved.

Conquering our challenge

This is a guest post by Idil Osman.

Taking on Tough Mudder was one of the most challenging days each one of us have had. It was both emotionally and physically taxing, but yet immensely rewarding. The challenge to do Tough Mudder was of course our brother Bashir’s plan. He embarked on a fundraising campaign to build 50 wells across some of the driest and drought prone areas in east Africa. He had a fun raising target of £165,000, which he hoped to achieved by asking people to sponsor him to undertake Tough Mudder.

Sadly he passed away in July last year. At this time he had already raised more than half the funds and was well on his to becoming fit for Tough Mudder. It was an extremely difficult time: for us, for his friends, his colleagues and the thousands of people whose lives he had touched. But we didn’t want Bashir’s efforts and legacy to die with him. We as his siblings therefore decided to continue his fundraising and participate in Tough Mudder on his behalf.

The fundraising target by the grace of Allah was achieved within weeks of Bashir’s passing. Getting ready for Tough Mudder proved to be more tricky, at least for me. My younger siblings were generally quite fit; my brothers play a lot of football, while my sister is a marathon enthusiast, having run a number of half marathons already. I on the other hand am a workaholic and tend to dedicate very little time to other aspects of life. This had to change.

I joined the local gym, consulted a personal trainer, got a medical check up and diet advice. I felt very motivated but this came crashing down on the first day I hit the gym. I came face to face with how unfit I was and spent the next two days nursing some serious muscle ache. Determined, I went back to the gym that same week and soon started to feel the benefits of regular exercise.

Within a few weeks I was able to start running in the park which helped me to build stamina. In the gym I did 3 cardio classes and spent two days doing strength conditioning exercises. I would precede the cardio classes with a run. I did this for three months until Tough Mudder day came. My siblings had a similar training regime with some of them opting to do more running and others doing more of the football games they normally play combining it with weight lifting.

When the day came, none of us felt quite ready, but we were determined to finish it however long it would take. The Tough Mudder course is 12 miles long. There were some gruesome challenges: from the icebox challenge to the several 10-12 feet walls we had to climb. Everywhere was muddy, filled with periodic mud hills we had climb over and there were too many cold mud pools we had to walk through. If that wasn’t enough, Tough Mudder ensured electrocution was awaiting us at the very end. Our clothes were torn. I lost a leg of trousers halfway through and a shoe towards the end.

But the joy of all that anguish came when we passed the finish line and completed the course. It took us four and half hours. We needed a good few days to recover from the muscle ache and I don’t think any one of us would rush to do it again, but we are very happy to have realised our brother’s intention. We hope he would be proud.

Idil, Abyan, Muad and Mohamed

Brotherhood Mudder Run

In an effort to raise funds for Islamic Relief, a group of lifelong friends came together this past week to take on two running challenges. Coming together as a team called The Brotherhood they took part in Tough Mudder London West on 30 April and the Muslim Charity Run inVictoria Park, Tower Hamlets, on 8 May.

“We came, we saw, we conquered,” said Zara Mir, who took part in Tough Mudder for the second time, “We came back a little bruised and very muddy, but otherwise fine! Massive love to this family of mine, they were teamwork personified, always supporting one another till everyone was over the finish line.”

The team raised over £930 for Islamic Relief.

Siblings take on Tough Mudder in memory of mother

This is a guest post by Yasmin Davies.

We are a team of 5 family members, who, in a moment of scary premonition, have decided to attempt the extreme and possibly foolish Tough Mudder challenge in order to raise money for Cancer Research on behalf of our beloved mother! Our challenge takes place near Henley on Thames on 30 April.

Yasmin Davies - BG Survival Race

Our mother Zahra Davies who worked as an NHS interpreter for many years, was an active member of her community, giving her time on earth to serving people in need, humanity and her family. She was incredibly brave in voicing and standing up for the rights of the people as well as fighting against oppression. One of her main aims was to help community relations and establish peace in some of the most unpleasant situations around the world. She passed away in September 2015 after a short battle with Breast Cancer.

At this sometimes inconceivable and strange juncture in our lives we found ourselves contemplating life, humanity and how short our time on earth truly is! Which led us to our decision, to do whatever it takes to help give back and raise money for Cancer Research, which for us is an extremely worthy and rewarding charity, as it has the potential to save others from some of the unfortunate memories we share.

We have decided the best way for us, we hope, is by pushing ourselves and entering the Tough Mudder event! I have already taken part in a the Bear Grylls 5k obstacle course challenge, as well as an endurance walk, completing 25 miles in 13 hours. We expect our latest challenge to be tiring but fun.

Yasmin Davies - BG Survival Race

Please help to minimise the impact of this self-inflicted torture by donating a few quid and sending us a few words of much valued encouragement! Your generosity of time, money and good will is much appreciated.

To support Yasmin and her siblings, please visit their fundraising page today.

An epic adventure

The icy breeze of a chilly winter’s morning, 12 degrees Celsius tops, would be enough to send most of us back indoors for a lazy day at home. A bunch of brave adventurers determined to raise funds for orphans worldwide were undeterred however.

On Saturday 20 February 2016, nearly 40 men and women descended on a remote farm in rural Surrey for a fundraising challenge that would push them to their limits and beyond. To brave not just the cutting February wind, but freezing water, fearsome obstacles and muddy ground. The uninitiated would ask what on earth possessed these heroic explorers to sign up for such a challenge, at this time of year, but not so the participants themselves.

“It was all about helping out the orphans and doing something for those most in need,” explained Tarikul Islam from Luton. “We all are fortunate to have parents, so not having one is not something that we would like anyone to go through — especially small children in less able countries.”

Four teams – two groups of men and two groups of women – had signed up to take part in the ambitious Muslim Hands challenge, Crawl of Duty. They would complete a 5 km obstacle course run, following part of the course of the famous Nuts Challenge.

Tarikul went on: “An obstacle course like this was something we thought would be appealing to others to sponsor us for as they would know we were doing something tough and hence they would feel more inspired to help out.”

Tarikul’s team, the Luton Massive, consisted of five very close friends actively engaged in charity work. Members of the group had previously completed the Mount Snowdon Challenge with Muslim Hands in 2014, run marathons and taken part in several winter walks. They were set to compete against ten other men, including members of staff from Muslim Hands itself.

Team Mix It Up

Running with female instructors separately, meanwhile, twelve strong Team Mix It Up from Birmingham would challenge the seven member Team 313 from east London. The former from Mix It Up Ladies Fitness Studio in Birmingham are already seasoned challengers, having previously taken part in Islamic Relief’s Superhero Run and their Ben Nevis Challenge in 2015. They had tenacious competition, however: under the supervision of personal fitness trainers from 313 Fitness Studio in Manor Park, the latter were determined to conquer the course to raise as much money as possible for this worthy cause.

So it was that they set off on a great adventure, skirting around the edge of a ploughed field, not quite sure what was in store for them, beyond the river banks and forest ahead of them. Soon they would encounter mounds of mud and rubble to climb over, and ditches filled knee deep with freezing water to wade through. They would crawl through a tunnel on hands and knees, causing scrapes and bruises. Then more ditches and more banks to clamber back up again would follow, each one slightly more difficult than the last. They would clamber through a tangle of cables and pipes designed to trip them up and tie them in knots, then skip over old tyres set out across the ground.

A few moments of reprieve would follow as they jogged through the woodland, climbing over fallen trees here and there, but soon they would be scrambling down a river bank and into the ankle deep water, to follow the river along its course. Next they would climb up another steep bank again, grabbing hold of rope netting, working together as a team to help each other out. Over the top and down into the river again. In and out, up and down, wading and climbing and running. Climbing over a platform. Climbing over a wall of tyres. Nearly drowning when the river bed gave way to a hidden trench around a bend.

Teamwork was the key on this obstacle course. Some of the obstacles were impossible to overcome alone. At every point all the members of every team worked together, helping each other up through difficult situations. Great communication and understanding of each other’s needs helped them complete the challenge together. Far from giving up, the participants found themselves getting more energetic as the event went on.

crawlofduty7

At one point they had to pull themselves through a tunnel, set vertically up a bank. This challenge took all the energy out of the participants and only “Alhamdulilah” was an adequate rejoinder there. A massive climbing net followed, rising as high as nearby trees. Going up was not necessarily the problem though, but getting down the other side: they had to slide down poles back to ground level. Some of them would conquer their fear of heights here.

Next obstacle: a rope swing across a muddy pond. Each participant grabbed hold of the rope and tried to swing right over to the other side. Most failed miserably and sloshed down into the cold brown water almost immediately; everyone was convinced that the rope was actually too short and they’d been set up to fail. But the challenge waits for no one. Moments later they’re crawling on their fronts through sloppy wet mud, under a mesh of barbed wire.

Another water filled ditch followed. Then a balancing bar over another one. Then a mound of earth and yet another ditch, waist deep. Then another wall of tyres to clamber over; another excuse to work together as a  team. Then down into a series of tunnels, then up over a vast pile of tyres, then under a bar, then over the next one, then through a tyre, then over a fence; enough to cause anyone to give up. It was exhausting and tough.

But even all of that probably could not prepare them for possibly the worst obstacle of the course: to jump off a large platform into a deep, long, cold pond, shoulder deep, which they had to wade or swim across to the other side. They were soaking wet and the only consolation was that the water washed off the thick mud from their clothes. It’s a surprise they didn’t get hypothermia. But they’re on the home straight now: they’re heading for the finish line and victory.

crawlofduty3

“The experience was epic,” exclaimed Nadiya from Team 313, “Going through freezing cold water, the level of which varied from knee high to almost drowning, and so many obstacles: falling and slipping in mud, screaming like buffoons, conquering my fear of heights… What more can I ask for in return of helping create a brighter future for orphans, inshaAllah?”

The course took under an hour to complete, with a medal and certificate awarded at the end. Altogether, those participating raised over £7000 for Muslim Hands’ orphans worldwide appeal, which is an extraordinary achievement. But then these were extraordinary people, mashallah!

“Crawl of Duty was amazing,” said Ayesha from Team Mix It Up: “Massive shout out to the ladies that took part!! We smashed it and everybody completed it all… Covered in bruises today but feel fantastic.”

Other participants described Crawl of Duty as the best event they had been to. “Enjoyed every moment of it and would do it again and again,” said one participant.

“We are so lucky that we did this,” said another, “I would very much recommend it to others! It’s all for a good cause and you have fun. It’s win win!! Felt muddy, exhausted and tired yet still I had the best time ever, especially as I was with my close mates!”

Those of us who missed out, fearing that February would be just too cold to take on such a challenge, can only be a little envious not to have been there now. We missed an epic adventure, some brilliant teamwork and the opportunity to do immense good on behalf of others. Next time we will be brave! Next time, inshallah!

Get ready for Crawl of Duty in aid of Muslim Hands

FB-Flyer-FRONT[1]Muslim Hands are back with another round of their popular Crawl of Duty challenge, this time in the South of England early in 2016.

It will take place in Dorking, Surrey at the home of the infamous Nuts Challenge. The muddy course features obstacles, tunnels, tyres, rope swing, water dippers and much more.

With female instructors available on a gender-segregated obstacle challenge, it promises to be an exciting event for both men and women.

It’s happening on Saturday 20th February, in aid of orphans worldwide. Funds raised will go towards needy orphans and impoverished children around the world. This ranges from modest classrooms serving isolated communities that would otherwise not have access to schooling, to campuses serving large groups of poor and disadvantaged children.

For more information, visit the Muslim Hands website

Running the Major Series for Sandwell BUDS

At 11:30am on 26 September 2015 an intrepid team of adventurers, comprising Rihela Nazir,  Asma Nazir, Saikah Nazir, Mohammed Sajid, Mohammed Qaasim and Nasir Ahmed, will venture out onto the the UK’s most friendly obstacle race, otherwise known as the Midlands Major Series, to raise money for the dementia charity, BUDS.

The Major Series has been voted the UK’s Best Trail Race   and sees runners taking on 5km and 10km courses littered with all kinds of obstacles, hills, mud and water! In their own words:

The Major Series is all about teamwork – it’s not just a run. Determination and the camaraderie of your fellow countrymen will help you through. Believe it or not, you will take part in the entire challenge with a huge grin on your face! Come along ready to take on a big challenge but most importantly to have a laugh, meet some new people, and maybe even get your own back on the Major!

The team is taking on this challenge to raise money for BUDS, which  aims to improve the quality of life of people experiencing dementia and their family carers in Sandwell. There is currently no cure for dementia, but with the right information and support people with dementia and their families can continue to lead positive and fulfilling lives.

Rihela writes:

“Buds is an incredible charity that supports people who are living with a dementia through BUDS social clubs and befriending service. They also offer support to the carers who would otherwise have no where to turn.

Through my time working at BUDS, I have seen first hand just how valuable BUDS are in Sandwell and how many families rely on the service it provides.

Please donate whatever you are able to, to help me reach my goal, so BUDS can carry on doing the great work they do.”

To support Rihela and her teammates, please visit their fundraising page today.

ToughBrudders take on Tough Mudder for MAP

On 27 September 2015, Mohammed Khankhara and Haseeb Khan will be running in a Tough Mudder event, to raise funds for the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). They say:

We will never forget the tragic events of the summer of 2014, when Gaza was relentlessly attacked leaving thousands dead and many more injured, they need our support more than ever not only for basic necessities such as food and clothing but also for medical aid. Many of the hospitals looking after the critically ill are desperately in need of medical experts or life-saving equipment and medicine.

Tough Mudder is a grueling challenge: 10-12 miles of running broken up with obstacles, which will test their grit, determination and teamwork, as well as physical and mental strength. The pair recently completed the National Three Peaks Challenge. The training for Tough Mudder will be more intense: sacrificing early morning lie-ins for 5-mile runs and a 5-7 day a week training regime until a week before the event, come rain or shine.

We are not physically ‘Tough’ people but in training for Tough Mudder, we hope to become stronger people physically and mentally and your donations will be the spark that ignites our motivation to see this through.

Without donations from generous supporters, MAP wouldn’t be able to do the work they do. They work for the health and dignity of Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees. They deliver health and medical care to those worst affected by conflict, occupation and displacement.

Working in partnership with local health providers and hospitals, MAP addresses a wide range of health issues and challenges faced by the Palestinian people. With offices located in Beirut, Ramallah, Jerusalem and Gaza City, MAP responds rapidly in times of crisis, and works directly with communities on longer term health development.

To support Mohammed and Haseeb, visit their fundraising page now.

Fatima toughens up for Muscular Dystrophy UK

Fatima Gouveia from Winchester writes:

I’ve never done a challenge before and for those of you who know me, you will be shocked to hear that I have recently joined our local gym……this is how serious and dedicated I am to do the challenge but most importantly to raise funds.

I lost my brother Dino 12 years ago to Spinal Muscular Dystrophy. As I watched him suffer, without complaining, I was struck by how indiscriminate the illness is and how helpless we remain in so many cases.

I want to do the Tough Mudder challenge to honour his extraordinary bravery in the face of the cruellest of illnesses and to support the vital research into finding a cure.

While the training is tough it is such a fantastic opportunity to raise a lot of money for a great cause and I will be inspired by the incredible courage and dignity shown by my brother right to the end. The cause is Muscular Dystrophy UK. Please dig deep and donate now. We can make a difference.

Tough Mudder is a team-oriented 10-12 mile (18-20 km) obstacle course designed to test physical strength and mental grit. Tough Mudder puts camaraderie over finisher rankings and is not a timed race but a team challenge that allows participants to experience exhilarating, yet safe, world-class obstacles they won’t find anywhere else.

To support Fatima, please visit her fundraising page.

 

Spartan Race hits Arabia

Covered in sand and splattered with mud, thousands of men, women and children ran, jogged and lurched across the finish line at the Spartan Race, the country’s first obstacle sprint run on Friday 20 February 2015. Strong winds stirred up sand from dunes at the Jebel Ali Racecourse, adding a natural challenge to the 5km course for participants who were already tasked with overcoming 15 obstacles.

Runners were released in waves over 15-minute intervals, with elite athletes sprinting out first followed by the open category. Caked in mud, with sand lashing their faces, more than 5,000 participants hauled themselves up ropes, crawled under, jumped over and squeezed between wooden walls, some of which were even topped with barbed wire. They yelled and whooped as they crossed the finish line, where volunteers handed them medals.

 

Muslim Hands Crawl of Duty

Muslim Hands Scotland presents, Crawl of Duty: a 5K assault course to test your strength and stamina.

Join Muslim Hands as they embark on this obstacle packed mission to raise money for their Emergency Fund to support crises in Iraq, Palestine and Central Africa. Test your ability to the max and fuel your inner adrenaline to its peak as you fight for survival. From crawling through tunnels to jumping over walls and facing the ice cold water, you’ll be pushing yourself to the limit.

This gender segregated challenge (separate tracks for men and women) takes place at the Scottish Adventure Centre, Craufurdland Castle, Fenwick, East Ayrshire. If you live in Scotland or the north of England, this is a challenge not to be missed!

crawlofduty-poster

Book your place today: https://muslimhandsuk.wufoo.eu/forms/crawl-of-duty/

Isra Mohammed takes on Tough Mudder


On Saturday 25 October 2014, sister Isra Mohammed braved the elements to take on the Tough Mudder obstacle course race at Foil Farms, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina, USA.

Joined by Rand Alkurd, Lauren Wolcott, Husain Abdulbaqi and other friends, Isra took on twenty obstacles over the eleven mile course, emerging on the other side with a massive sense of achievement.

It was extremely tough, but nothing could defeat this Masters graduate, least of all the mud, blood, sweat, and tears! Whether she’ll run again is another matter.

Tough Mudder North Carolina

“11 miles, 20 obstacles, mud, blood, sweat, and tears. And no one forced us! Boo-YAH!”

Taking on Tough Mudder for clean water in Gaza

On 13 September  this year,  Jacqueline Choudhury will be taking on Tough Mudder as part of  Bioticfit’s #teamgreen to raise funds for Muslim Aid‘s  Gaza clean water campaign.  Bioticfit is said to be South Manchester’s biggest fitness community, specialising in outdoor fitness classes.

Tough Mudder is an endurance event in which participants attempt to complete a very muddy 10 mile  obstacle course.  Jacqueline will be taking part in the North West event at Cholmondeley Estate in Cheshire.

Muslim Aid is working on the ground in Gaza to assist those affected by the conflict, where thousands lack basic items as well as adequate food and clean water to keep them healthy.

Click here to help   Jacqueline  raise funds for sanitation in Gaza. 

Update:  Jaqueline completed the challenge, raising  £310 for Muslim Aid.

bioticfit

 

Imran Khan’s Tough Mudder for Macmillan Cancer Support

Imran writes:

So with little over a week to go, minimal cardio work in the gym and my weekly helping of McDonalds at Waterloo all ticked! I thought it was about time to set up my charity page supporting Macmillan for the Tough Mudder challenge on Saturday 8 June.

At this point you are probably thinking, yeah well done you are doing a Tough Mudder, whatever that is… so a brief explanation; the Tough Mudder is a 12 mile run with 25-40 obstacles of hell including such delights as the Arctic Enema, Ball Shrinker and Electroshock Therapy! Oh and we also have to sign a death waiver!

So, now for the serious stuff, I’m raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support as it is a charity that means so much to me. I wanted to do this insane challenge because it will be 4 years since my mum passed away at the end of June and the Macmillan nurses that helped her everyday were the most caring, thoughtful, empathetic and patient people that I have ever met. We absolutely could not have got through that period without their help and from seeing it first hand, the work they do is incredible and I wanted to do my bit to make sure they can continue to help others that find themselves in such a difficult and at times helpless situation.  So please dig deep and donate now. Thank you.

To support Imran, please visit his fundraising page now. 

Challenge Aisha: Tough Mudder

Aisha writes:

Yes, I am taking part in  Tough Mudder on Saturday 4th May.  Yes, some of the 12 obstacles featured in the 12 mile course include electric shocks, Ice baths, running through fire, and copious amounts of mud.  Yes, I did have to sign a waiver to remove any liability from the event organisers in case of injury or death.  Yes, I am bricking it!  No, I am NOT crazy!

Why am I doing this? Cause I fancied a challenge (just call me Challenge Aisha), and I think I’m just tough enough to do it (Grrrrr!). Well, I hope I am!

It also occurred to me that taking part in this challenge can shine a spotlight on something bigger than just myself, so I’m once again raising money for the ACLT. I really believe in the work they do and I hope, by doing this more people will be encourage to be a  blood/bone/organ donor, and be more aware of the work the ACLT do.

The ACLT is a leading Leukaemia charity dedicated to raising awareness of the shortage of ethnic minority donors on the UK Bone Marrow, Organ and Blood registers.  The ACLT provides valuable support to people suffering with blood cancers who face incredible odds in their worldwide search for a donor. For many, the odds are still around  one in 100,000 in finding a match.

The long term aim of the ACLT is to educate and raise awareness about the importance of registering as potential bone marrow donors, blood and organ donations. Their work will enable worldwide donor searches on behalf of Black, Mixed Race and Ethnic Minority patients.

Funds raised will enable them to:

  • Continue the essential groundbreaking raising awareness and recruitment drive programmes
  • Help pay for future Bone Marrow, Blood and organ donation recruitment drives in association with the Anthony Nolan & National Blood Service
  • To raise awareness and recruit life savers at schools, colleges, universities, corporate organisations, government offices, community groups etc
  • Fronting Media Campaigns to raise awareness about Appeals on behalf of patients in the UK and overseas

So please dig deep and donate what you can!  Thank you so much for your support!

To support Aisha, please visit her fundraising page here.