Home India News Mosques show the way in relief activities during Chennai flood

Mosques show the way in relief activities during Chennai flood

By Shafeeq Hudawi, TwoCircles.net,

Chennai: “While the entire nation is debating on the “non­sense” called “intolerance”, there is humanity at its best in Chennai. I can tell this for sure because; I stay in Qatar and my family (wife and 2 kids aged 11 and 7) are in Chennai. With all the floods and problems, I am getting the message from them, “We are safe”. In the wake of calamity, Chennai is “One”,” reads a Facebook post by Biju Vargheese, an expatriate from Chennai.


“It has only one religion, “Humanity”; it has only one enemy, “Water”; there is only one aim “Help”. And they did it in style. When they were offering help, they didn’t ask whether you are a “Hindu” or a “Christian” Or a “Muslim”. They didn’t ask whether you are “Rich” or “Poor”. They didn’t ask whether you are a “Tamlian”, “Malayalee”, “Telugu”, “Kannadiga” or “North Indian”,” the FB post further reads.

These lines, which went viral on social media, sums up thepost- flood relief work being done by the residents of Chennai in unison.

The mosques in Chennai, which are more than 500 in number, as per the figures with the Indian Union Muslim League Tamil Nadu state committee, too have opened their doors and have emerged as critical shelters particularly for poor flood victims, irrespective of their religious beliefs.

“Mosques are not only places to perform prayers. They are cultural centres and some times, as it now happens, shelters for the persons in need,” K M Khader Moideen, former MP and Indian Union Mulsim League (IUML) Tamil Nadu state president told TwoCircles.net.

Mosques like Triplicane Labbai Jamaath Masjid, Dharma Kidangu Mosque, Hafiz Ahmad Khan Mosque, Bahram Jung Mosque, Casa Verona’s Mosque, Makkah Masjid, Masjid Mamoor, Masjid­o­Anwari, Thousand Lights Mosque and Triplicane Big Mosque are welcoming the victims by offering them food and shelter; while many of them from neighbouring places come to fetch water as well.


The doors of the mosques have been opened or the flood victims and the verandas of these mosques bear a scene, which is first of its kind in Chennai – and perhaps whole country – where people from various localities, irrespective of their faiths or castes are hurdling together in this time of grief.

“This calamity has definitely brought the communal harmony of Tamil Nadu to light. The flood has united everyone here,” says Faizur Rahman of Chennai based Islamic Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought.

In most of these mosques, the imams, clerics and other employees are emulative hosts by giving their rooms to the victims. Mosques have also opened doors for victims to use toilets as well as water tanks otherwise used for performing ablutions before prayers.

IUML, Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), Tamil Muslim Munnetta Kazhakam, Thableed Jama’at and Tamil Nadu Jamma’ate Islami have directed the mosque committees to actively participate in the relief activities and make the mosques maximum available for the victims.

M.H. Jawahirulla, Ramanathapuram MLA and Manithaney Makkal Katchi leader, shares an experience he had at Makkom Nagar in Chennai during relief activities.

“Our volunteers saved a Hindu family from his residence, which was under water, and took his family members to the hospital. He bowed his hands and told us “forgive me” after thanking our volunteers. We wondered that why should a person apologize us for saving him. The residents in my area were not allowing any Muslim to our locality, now, I regret this,” Jawahirulla told TwoCircles.net, adding, “It’s a privilege for us to serve our non-Muslim brethren in this times of distress.”

“It’s the time to get rid of the compulsions of the caste, religion, colour and creed. We welcome our Muslim and non Muslim brothers to the mosques. They flock to the mosques as they have no place to go,” says IUML Tamil Nadu state committee secretary Aboobacker.

Besides shelter, these mosques are also providing them food, water, mats and clothes. Triplicane Mosque tops the list with providing food for more than 3000 people a day while other mosques do their bit by feeding more than 1000 per day.
Water bottles, biscuit packets, bread and packet foods are distributed in most of the mosques.

“Actually, we don’t yet know from where these food items, water bottles and clothes have come; many benevolent people have come forward,” Mohammed Arshad, who has been actively working for the victims for five days, told TCN, adding, “Among the beneficiaries, there are some familiar faces and but many strangers as well. It’s not the time to check their idenditities.”

Muslim organisations have exhorted the committees in other states to extend maximum financial assistance to the relief activities, being carried in Tamil Nadu. A delegation of Hyderabad based Sahayata Trust, supported by US based Indian Muslim Relief and Charities (IMRC) is already on the way with medicines, drinking water, food kits and blankets. Several other organisations from across the country are collecting money for relief or are already on the way.

“We have been getting contributions from abroad and our Muslim brothers in other states,” informs Arshad.

Respective state units from Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh of IUML and SDPI are actively collecting money and transferring them to their sister wings in the state for help.

Jawahirulla adds that talking about money is irrelevant at this point. “The residents are unable to go out and get money from banks. Most of the banks or their ATMs have not been functioning. We are instead focusing on distributing food and medicines,” the Ramanathapuram MLA says.

During Friday prayers volunteers were seen collecting money outside different mosques, not only in the state but in other parts of the country as well.

Led by former MP Abdul Rahman, IUML has fielded more than 500 volunteers from various age groups to strengthen the relief activities in mosques in Chennai while more than 3000 volunteers of Manithaney Makkal Katchi are working in the flood hit areas.

Several other local Muslim organisations are also working in their own respective areas, while individuals gathered to help in whatever ways they could. In fact not just mosques, but even temples, churches and other organisations too came forward to help each other during last week flood. There are also reports of several Muslim families being sheltered in temples.

Meanwhile, for their relief works in hours of tragedy, Muslim organisations have received appreciations from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha as well.