As this Gregorian year draws to a close, I usually like to take stock of what WISE has been involved in and supported through the year. 2020, the year of COVID-19 was a challenging year for one and all, but Allah’s blessings can be be seen in everything and at every time, and all praise belongs to Him!
Extension work was carried out on the Masjid, extending the current basement and the wudu/ghusl area completely refurbished – the work continues.
Our many activities continued as they were until lockdown came into effect in March which saw some of them moving online, others stopping, and the introduction of some new ones to help the community get through these difficult times.
WISE have actively participated in numerous local community initiatives, e.g. as a key contributor to the East Wycombe Community Organising network, providing representation in the new Bucks BAME forum, and providing representation on the TVP Independent Advisory group (IAG), as well as others which will be mentioned below.
We also set up the WISE Jobs network to help people get back into work after redundancies related to COVID.
The beginning of the year also saw us gathering our kids together and cleaning up Bowerdean, collecting litter and safely disposing it.
The Education & Tarbiya services continue to be tweaked. Weekly classes and courses were aligned in a way that complement each other and other activities.
Weekly classes and regular lectures on many different Islamic subjects continued online through the year in both English and Urdu, as did various Qur’an recitation classes, Arabic language classes, iGCSE Islamic Studies, and the Salaam Academy classes. Details can be seen on the Our Activities section of this site. We also introduced online Bitesize reminders, a new Book Club for sisters, Urdu classes explaining Sahih Bukhari, as well as signposting our youth to various external online lectures and seminars they should be attending.
In March of this year, the sisters reached a major milestone in that they finished the commentary to the whole Qur’an in Urdu, a journey that had started nine years earlier. Online classes studying the Qur’an word-by-word are ongoing.
Advice & Counselling
Complementing all this we have the Imam’s Advice & Counselling service which is in huge demand and has, generally, been very well received. Our confidential Counselling Service for women also continues, both currently over the phone.
An incredibly successful and well received initiative launched to help those of our community in need during the COVID-19 crisis. Help was provided with shopping, picking up urgent supplies, prescriptions or just being on the other end of a phone for a friendly conversation. HELLO! received a COVID-19 hero award from Red Kite residents and is now 1 of 3 organisations in Wycombe officially recognised by Bucks Council to provide food/shopping support to those self-isolating due to COVID-19. More details here.
Additionally, we are now regularly supporting a number of families with food drops on a weekly basis in partnership with the Wycombe Food Hub and Cllr Arif Hussain.
The WISE Madrasah, Salaam Academy moved online with minimal disruption after lockdown and teachers were trained to deliver classes online; work continues on its online backend services as well as the new website. In addition to normal classes, enrichment sessions are held and there was also a campaign run to support the Rebuild Lives in Gaza initiative that WISE is running.
Youth & Young Adults at WISE
Our youth are incredibly important – they are our future. We want to give a shout-out to all the fine young men and women at WIN and ARISE (The Two Youth initiatives at WISE) – they are so dedicated and have delivered so much for our youth. May Allah bless them all.
The tarbiya programmes also moved online in March.
ARISE, on the girls side, continued their work in inspiring, educating and injecting confidence in the Young Muslimah. They ran many sessions through the year covering topics such as how to defend your faith, race & discrimination, self-care, controversy and a Hijab workshop.
They also ran a Monthly Sister Halaqah, a stories of the Prophets series, a Qur’an memorisation club, as a well as a Ramadan Journaling Series and a Virtual After School Club (giving young women a chance to have a conversation about stress and COVID-19 worries as well as the struggle of being away from friends).
WIN, on the boys side, also continued holding activities such as Late Night Linkup for young adults, and Saturday Night Linkup for the youth. They also launched Project Lockdown, ran a photography competition and hosted an incredibly important talk that was extremely well-received: From Prison to Deen.
The Sunday Circle was introduced to provide education and tarbiya to the youth at ARISE and WIN. (Currently paused but will resume soon in shā Allāh ).
The Friday Circle run by Salaam Academy continues online for young adults – male and female – an open, comfortable, non-judgemental area for them to learn about Islam. This has been extremely well received and attendance has been consistently high.
Saturday Night Buzz
This was split up into two separate sessions for boys and girls as numbers of attendees were just too many. Kids were given reminders, mentoring sessions and participated in lots of fun games and activities in the Masjid, all with the goal of making them love their faith and have fond memories of the Masjid. This stopped in March but will resume in shā Allāh once government guidelines allow.
We partnered with Tazkiyah Tours to run an Umrah Trip with Shaykh Sajid Umar, a second was also planned with Shaykh Ali Hammuda but was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Trip to IlmFest
Reviving an old tradition of taking a trip to conferences
Ramadan was very different this year but by Allah’s grace, we as a community achieved so much in this blessed month despite the lockdown restrictions in effect. From releasing a series of info-graphics giving advice and guidance for the unique situation we find ourselves in, as well as daily reminders giving practical tips to improve the quality of our relationship with Allah, to the many outreach initiatives and so much more. You can read in detail here: Ramadan in LOCKDOWN
Or Check out the YouTube video here
Eid in the Park with COVID-19 precautions in place was held, a video and infographics were produced giving guidelines to the community. Watch the event here
WISE participated in the national campaign aimed at preventing injustice during marriage breakdown and focusing on the impact that such an event has on children.
PEARLS FROM THE DIVINE Conference
We held our second WISE Winter Conference in December, almost entirely organised by our young adults. It was meticulously organised, inspiring and well received with numerous world renowned speakers attending.
February Holiday Programme
Including Let’s Sew and Let’s Cook sessions, Lecture on From Prison to Deen, Life After School and Why Hijab? workshops.
Winter Holiday Programme
Great community online fun as well as reminders and a lecture by Shaykh Abdurraheem Green
WISE worked with Fountain Tajweed, providing high quality, professional Tajweed classes for both brothers and sisters at all levels, and an ijazah programme for more advanced students.
Da’wah Stall & Revert Support
The da’wah stall in the Wycombe town centre continued until March with a dedicated team leading it and training is given to volunteers. A support team was set up for new Muslims, as well as delivering a course on Islam, specifically tailored for them.
COVID-19 Ghusl & Janazah
A collective effort with all local Masjids to set up a dedicated ghusl facility for those of our brothers and sisters who passed away from Covid-19. This included procuring necessary PPE equipment and training up our volunteers to safely wash infected bodies. May Allah have mercy on all our deceased.
Gift packs were given to the volunteers at Wycombe Homeless Connection, OneCan Trust as well as to the NHS hospital staff as a token of our appreciation for all their amazing work.
The 28th Wycombe (WISE) Scouts and Cub Scouts have now been running twelve years, and ran for around three months this year. The Cubs did a DIY badge and made bird boxes as well as poetry presentations for the Entertainer badge. Boy Scouts started whittling and made presentations on community health issues. During this time they also ran a campaign raising money for HHUGS.
Girls Scouts re-launched and were doing their Hillwalking and Global Issues badge. Unfortunately, they had to stop soon after launch as COVID-19 precautions were put in place.
Our community centre, the HIVE has been running for over three years now by the grace of Allah. Demand was growing exponentially, and it was in daily use by Muslims and non-Muslims, until lockdown that is. Even during lockdown, some activities continued as and when government guidelines allowed.
The HIVE hosted a foodbank for the WISE Hello! Initiative. The Listening Place continues as a support circle throughout the lockdown (and ran popular events like Dino Day and World Mental Health Day). We hosted the Reptile Roadshow, ran the HIVE Academy Science Tuition classes which raised over £2000 for WISE, as well as a pop-up coffee shop with the Coffee Snobs during lockdown.
We introduced a new boxercise class for youth aimed at bringing them off the streets and into a safe environment where they could have fun as well as engage in open discussion.
The extremely well received Fitness Fusion for women moved online, as did the brilliant and very popular women’s Tafseer Class.
Numerous other bookings saw sessions held for Adviza Employability Workshops, Wycombe Wanderers Sports, Sports Coaching, NHS Weight Loss Programme, Pregnancy Pilates, Kids Kickboxing, and lots of (COVID secure) weddings!
Allah’s Messenger (Saw) said, “The most beloved people to Allāh are those who help others the most.” In keeping with this, let’s not forget all the outreach work that WISE is involved with, locally and internationally:
Running, financially supporting, sending volunteers or partnering with various local initiatives
- Wycombe Homeless Connection
- Janies Homeless Friends
- One Can Trust
- Wycombe Food Hub
- Wycombe Refugee Partnership
- One Nation
- Let’s Cook & Let’s Sew Projects
- Healthy Living Centre
- Community Organising Network
- Wycombe Mind
- Healthy Minds
- WISE Hardship Fund which provided support and grants to support local people suffering economic hardship.
Initiatives and seminars to address problems in the Muslim and wider community, or aimed at bringing about general well-being.
- Racism & Discrimination talks, reminders and workshops
- Parenting talk: Teens & Tweens
- Mental Health & Well-Being
- Fitness Fusion for women
- Let’s Cook for Boys & Girls
- Let’s Sew for Girls
- GCSE Science and Maths tuition
- iGCSE Islamic Studies
- The Friday Circle for young adults (boys & girls)
- Sisters Social
- Sew Sisters
- Sisters Book club
- Ramblers Walking Group
- Boxercise at the HIVE
- Men’s Football
- Dawah Stall
- Course for New Muslim
- WISE Job Network
Also continuing were three major initiatives
- The Listening Place in partnership with Wycombe Mind
- The Counselling Place – a confidential service for women
- The Big Elders Lunch Club, giving back to the elders of our community, Muslim and non-Muslim (stopped after Lockdown)
WISE Welfare began in 2010 after the Pakistan Earthquake and now has a global reach by Allah’s grace. Zakat and Sadaqah is collected from the local community and distributed where needed, not just internationally but locally as well (to help those in need and in debt).
WISE Welfare launched a massive international effort during the COVID-19 crisis aimed at bringing about some relief to our brothers and sisters suffering around the world. This included providing food aid and poor family support in the following countries:
- Pakistan (Malakand, Karachi, Peshawar, Swat, Multan, Karnana, Balochistan)
- Egypt (Food Distribution, as well as Skills To Work training programme to help people find work)
- Rohingya Food Aid Programme: Ramadan Kitchen in Myanmar
- Egypt – Water Purification Facility in a remote village
- Sindh Flood Appeal – Food Aid & Shelter
- Sudan Flood Appeal – Food Aid, Shelter & Medical Assistance
- Gaza – Rebuilding Lives
- Phase 1 – Lighting up Gaza
- Phase 2 – Setting up a Farm and planting olive trees
- Morocco – Education Project (providing key education items for poor students)
- Pakistan – Eye Camp – free cataract surgery, over 500 operations were performed
- India – Blue Inc School and Masjid in Uttar Pardesh
- India – Widows Support in Kerala
- Palestine – Orphan Sponsorship
- The Refugee Crisis – Food Aid & Clothing
- Yemen – Food Aid and Zakah distribution
- Yemen – Food Aid funded by the Selfless Sisters
- Zakatu’l-Fitr (fitrana) was distributed in Palestine, Morocco, Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt.
- Qurbani was performed in Pakistan (Balochistan, Tharparkar, Punjab, Swat), Egypt, Palestine and Burma.
May Allah bless everyone who volunteers and works so hard, and our community who is always there to support us. May Allah keep our efforts sincere for Him and Him alone. Ameen!