“And feed with food the needy, the orphan and the prisoner, for love of Him.” Quran 76:8
On the authority of Abu Aziz b. Umayr, the brother of Mus’ab b. Umayr, who said: I was amongst the captives on the Day of Badr. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said, “Treat the captives well.” I was held by a group of the Ansar, and whenever they brought out their lunch or supper, they would themselves eat dates whilst giving me bread to eat because of the instructions of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) to them.
Muslim prisoners have a difficult time practicing their faith in prison. Not getting access to halal food, inadequate prayer facilities, no facilitation of fasting during Ramadan as well as discrimination from other prisoners are just some of the issues faced by Muslim prisoners. This is made worse by the sense of isolation from the Muslim community they feel. As one prisoner described it: “First of all, prison isn’t easy as everyone makes it out to be… Once you’re behind the door you think everyone’s forgotten about you. Your friends, everyone forgets about you until you get out.”
Eid is a time for celebration for Muslims and for Muslims in prisons, it is the highlight of an otherwise isolated existence. One prisoner described his experience of Eid: “The prison also made arrangements for food and for the first time in my prison experience I found myself eating with other people of the same faith. It was quite an experience as we took many things for granted when we were outside these walls, and now the smallest of favours is like a breath of fresh air which you find yourself most humbled and grateful for.”
Sending small gifts for Eid to prisoners can be a major boost for them. It is a sign that they are still connected with the wider community. One prisoner described the gifts as: “A little bit of a present from outside gives you a bit of reality, a bit of hope.” Our Eid packs for Eid al-Fitr 2012 and 2013 were very well received:
“The Muslim prison population did appreciate the gifts from the Brothers and Sisters outside… And I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all at IHRC for thinking of the Muslim prisoners… Can you also pass my regards to all those who have put a huge effort in building this bridge between the Prison and the community. May Allah reward all of you and accept your hard work for His pleasure.” — Muslim Chaplin, South London.
“Masha Allah! I’ve just seen the Eid gifts and very impressed by what you guys have done in such a short time. Mabruk, TakabbalAllah. I’m sure your sincerity will pay dividends.” — Muslim Chaplin, West London.
We hope to send the packs to male and female prisoners. This year the packs will contain the following items:
- Bidayat as-Sul Fi Tafdil ar-Rasul – A book about the virtues of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him)
- Inner Dimensions of Worship – A book about worshipping Allah sincerely
- Hat or Head scarf
- Perfume Jamid (solid Perfume Bar to fragrance room)
- A small miswak
- A bag of sweets
Each Pack will cost £10 and will be a wonderful gift to a Muslim prisoner to end Ramadan with.
Our packs have been extremely successful and you can read more about it at the following links:
- London Muslim prisoners received Eid packs
- Eid al-Fitr: Muslim prisoners enjoy ‘sweet’ Ramadan in London jails
- BBC Asian Network Eid Packs
This Ramadan please also take the time to donate to the IHRC Trust. Visit THIS LINK to do so. Or call the IHRC office on +44 20 8904 4222 between 9am – 5pm UK time, Monday to Friday and 10am – 6pm on Saturdays.