Miami, FL – February 8, 2024 – Bound by their faith and a shared desire to help those in need, seven runners from across North America united under the banner of The Zahra Trust, an Islamic charity supporting orphans and widows, to conquer the 2024 Miami Marathon on January 28th.
Driven by the initiative of Salim Kassam, The Zahra Trust's media and communications manager, the team wasn't merely competing in a prestigious marathon; they were embarking on a mission of compassion and awareness. Despite their diverse backgrounds and varying levels of running experience, these individuals quickly forged a deep brotherhood, fueled by their shared purpose and unwavering faith.
Among them was Kumayl Lakha, a Minneapolis-based lawyer who initially grappled with self-doubt due to his limited running background. Yet, the opportunity to contribute to The Zahra Trust's noble work proved irresistible. "The night before, the pre-race jitters were palpable," Lakha shared. "But the camaraderie we shared, the encouragement and belief we gave each other, made all the difference."
Joining forces with fellow runner Ali Zhian, Lakha set his sights on raising funds for orphaned children in conflict-stricken regions like Iraq, Yemen, and Syria. Their combined goal: $2,000 USD. As part of the larger Zahra Trust team aiming for $10,000 USD, their efforts resonated with donors, bringing them close to their target with $1,735 USD collected so far. Their unwavering determination pushes them to reach the finish line of their fundraising goal by February 28th.
"They ask you [O Prophet in] what [way] they should donate. Say, 'Whatever donations you give are for parents, relatives, orphans, the poor, and [needy] travelers. Whatever good you do is certainly well known to Allah,'" Lakha recited, quoting the Quran to emphasize the importance of aiding vulnerable populations.
For Lakha, the Miami Marathon marked the beginning of a personal journey in the world of running, intertwined with his commitment to charitable causes. He envisions himself participating in future marathons, each stride propelling him closer to supporting those in need.
The Zahra Trust, recognizing the power of such challenge-based events, is already planning its next fundraising endeavor – the Hackney Half Marathon in mid-May. "These events foster community, build connections, and raise awareness about our work," explained Kassam. "When participants actively fundraise, they become ambassadors, spreading the message to their networks, creating a ripple effect of positive change."
The Shia Muslim Foundation applauds the unwavering dedication and inspiring efforts of The Zahra Trust runners and their supporters. Their unwavering commitment to serving the underprivileged serves as a beacon of hope and a testament to the transformative power of collective action. We are honored to share their story and encourage others to join their mission of making a difference in the lives of orphans and vulnerable communities worldwide.