As the month of Sha’ban reaches its midway point, Muslims around the world are preparing themselves for the holy month of Ramadan. One important aspect of this preparation is the observance of the 15th of Sha’ban, a night of great significance in Islam. Situated between Rajab and Ramadan in the Hijri calendar, this night is believed to hold special blessings for those who engage in prayer and charitable giving. Conversely, for refugees and internally displaced people – who fit four of the eight Zakat categories mentioned in the Qur’an – it is an important opportunity to receive the support they need to ahead of Ramadan.
This is especially the case for the 8.8 million people in Syria who have been affected by a recent string of devastating earthquakes, many of whom have already been mired in displacement for years. Thanks to the generosity of donors in response to the crisis, UNHCR has been engaging in a multi-pronged emergency response plan, reaching a total 278,424 people with protection services in the whole of Syria. In terms of supplies, UNHCR has released 35,998 kits with core relief items (CRI) for distribution to affected families in Aleppo, Lattakia, Tartous and Hama, with thousands also being distributed to northwest Syria through various partners. Furthermore, UNHCR has released 10,000 blankets and 4,900 solar lanterns to the country from its warehouse in International Humanitarian City, Dubai. With regards to shelter, 3,893 tents have been distributed in northwest Syria, reaching 19,465 people. With a $46.5 million emergency funding gap in the country, we count on people’s generosity to help us reach more displaced families with urgent aid.
While the timing of such tragedies is never ideal, the 15th of Sha’ban offers an opportunity not just to prepare oneself for the spiritual and physical demands of Ramadan, but to show solidarity with displaced people in Syria who have been forced to restart their lives once again. UNHCR invites you to dedicate your Zakat or Sadaqah to them on this blessed night and throughout Sha’ban