Dozens of American Muslims are living out long prison sentences under abusive conditions and solitary confinement. These are people who are so beloved to Allah that they are being tested. And we ourselves are being tested in relationship to them.
It has been narrated by Saeed through his chain from Hibban bin Jabalah, that the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said: "Indeed it is obligatory upon the Muslims to free their captives or to pay their ransoms." It is not easy for us in America to pay for someone's freedom - or even pay for their lawyer fees - but we can still make a huge difference to the life of someone caged and helpless.
Those prisoners who have no family in the US, nor a network of friends, may have no money in their commissary. Prisoners need money to be able to make phone calls, or buy razors, toilet paper, toothpaste, stamps and paper as well as snacks.
"The Federal Bureau of Prisons allows for special purchase of Ramadan items (such as dates) during this holy month and NCPCF would like to send the money as soon as possible so the inmates can receive them before mid June."
This Ramadan, NCPCF is seeking 180 individuals to donate $105 to a Muslim in America's prisons. The $5 would pay for the money transfer fee. This is an opportunity to help someone you don't already know about, to go beyond the high profile cases that already have a lot of supporters taking care of their everyday needs. But even the high profile cases, after some time, the world forgets about them. I wrote to one prisoner at CMU after about 8 years of incarceration, who told me that although he used to be well known and respected in the community, nobody but his mother corresponded with him anymore. He had even stopped receiving photos of his children. He requested me to send money to another Muslim prisoner who did not even have shampoo.
If you already have a previously established relationship with a prisoner, please consider them also when you are calculating your zakat. If you don't have the money at least send them a card! There are also volunteer organizations which drive children to visit their parents in prison.
Other ways to help prisoners is to make dua: "ALLAHumma fukka qayda asrana wa asral-muslimeen (O ALLAH! Break free the shackles of our prisoners and the prisoners of the Muslims)." This dua is important because we also need to care about the prisoners in Muslim countries too. The goal of Islam regarding captives is to free them and integrate them into society.
Please send your check to: NCPCF, Ramadan Gifts Program, P.O. Box 66301, Washington, DC 20035. When you make a donation please email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them that you have sent a donation.
Abu Dawud mentions the hadith narrated by Abu Talha Al-Ansari and Jabir Bin Abdullah, that the Prophet Muhammad (SA) said, "No man forsakes a Muslim when his rights are being violated or his honour is being belittled except that Allah will forsake him at a place in which he would love to have His help. And no man helps a Muslim at a time when his honour is being belittled or his rights violated except that Allah will help him at a place in which he loves to have His help."