ICNA Relief Blog

Face-to-Face with ICNA Relief's Sister Amtul Atya Kazmi,

Coordinator Muslim Family Services,  ICNA Relief Chicago


“Following the 9/11 incident, I strongly felt the need to join an organization committed to bringing about positive change, not just at the individual level, but within the community at large. My search led me to ICNA Sister's Wing and I am truly grateful to Allah (swt) for guiding me to it. It fused my quest for Islamic knowledge with opportunities to actively participate in building the community through volunteerism. Then came the opportunity for relief work when ICNA Relief Chicago’s Muslim Family Services (MFS) was established in 2013.  Its vision is to build strong communities by sustaining and strengthening families. This is indeed a huge task and with the help of Allah (swt), a dedicated team, and with collaboration from other organizations,we can build a society that can truly see us as Muslims For Humanity.

When our MFS helpline was launched back in March 2014, we began getting calls from needy families and single mothers from all over Illinois. Needy families and struggling sisters approached us. After proper screening, we see to it that everyone gets the required help. Whether it is transitional housing, rental assistance, paying utility bills, providing cars or counseling and mentoring, we try our best to ease their plight and guide them. We coordinate with local masjids and other social service organizations to empower the underserved and neglected to become self-sufficient, integrated members of our community.

We were a family of ten children and, despite our modest means, it never kept my mother from opening her door to help others. She was my first role model. My father was also such a noble example of someone who valued honesty and a halal income. He was a Judge in India.  I remember once, when we were little, someone who had a case pending had sent a basket of fruits as a gift for him. At that time I didn’t realize that it was an attempt to try and influence him, but my father saw it clearly. He had the fruits returned immediately.

"[Given those experiences] what better opportunity could I have than working for ICNA Relief Chicago’s Muslim Family Services (MFS) where I can be in direct contact with those who are struggling and need assistance. It reminds me of the immense blessings Allah ta’ala has granted us and, as importantly, the huge accountability that comes with it. It gives me immense joy and comfort to be able to relieve someone’s difficulty.  I am excited about all the programs run by ICNA and hope these enable our Muslim community to participate fully in building a society that is based on core human values of justice, compassion and love.

I feel obligated as a Muslim to help anyone in need. So much emphasis is placed on this in Islam, and in the prophet’s (peace be upon him) exemplary behavior, that one just cannot ignore the profound importance of charity and helping others.”