Monday, April 10, 2006

Oct. 14, '05

Earthquake in South Asia

The devastating 7.6 earthquake that hit Pakistan, Kashmir, India and Afghanistan on Saturday, October 8, has already claimed over 38,000 lives. The death toll will undoubtedly rise once more bodies are retrieved. Particularly in the mountainous, rugged part of Kashmir where winter has made an early and sinister appearance, the misery of the wounded, the homeless and the destitute are beyond words. The “paradise on earth” has turned into a graveyard.
As in other regions of the United States, local mosques and charities in the Bay Area began to mobilize immediately. South Bay Islamic Association (SBIA) of San Jose and Muslim Community Association (MCA) of Santa Clara led drives to collect donations of cash, warm clothes, blankets and other necessary materials. The collections are being sent to Pakistan mostly through Edhi Foundation (, and Hidaya Foundation ( All donations that SBIA collected on Friday, October 14, at the Jumah prayers at its 3 locations – Downtown, Evergreen and Napredak – were set aside for the earthquake victims.

The tragedy has shaken believers in this holy month of Ramadan. If there is one lesson we should take from it, it is that we must be grateful to God for what we have and not waste our life by chasing after what we don’t. When we read about barely-alive children rescued from under the rubbles whose arms or legs had to be amputated because gangrene had set in, the simple fact that we can breathe and are able to walk should be reasons enough for thanking the Creator. When we read about families huddling under trees day after day against freezing rain and howling winds, we should be thankful for the house we live in and not be consumed by thoughts of bigger, fancier houses because others have it or because we just want it. This lesson must not fade after the heart-rending images of quake victims disappear from the front pages; otherwise, we have learned nothing.

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