By: Nazim Ali

It was a great honour, and I was profoundly humbled to arrange the 10th annual ‘Creating Smiles’ gifts initiative to celebrate the birthday and life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

As well as delivering gifts to poorly children in Ward 17 at Airedale Hospital, we provided roses to the nursing staff in recognition of their exceptional hard work. They do a tremendous job!

We were celebrating the Islamic date of 12th Rabbi Ul Awwal in the Islamic calendar, the date of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

We also provided roses and chocolates to members of the public in Keighley Town Centre to spread peace, love and harmony.

Roses symbolise love, happiness, inclusively and to this end I feel we were successful as so many people were touched by the gesture and loved the cards with each gift with sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

It truly was wonderful to see the smiles galore on the faces of the hospital staff, the youth, elderly and people from all communities and all walks of life!

I dedicate this gift giving and roses and chocolates distributions to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on his birthday as he is loved and revered by the world’s almost two billion Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has inspired through his life and teachings British Muslims like myself to engage in civic renewal which I have done proactively and steadfastly for 25 years. They taught me irrespective of faith or ethnicity to help others.

I express my gratitude to Shiraz Ahmed & Fairaz Ahmed (Managing Directors) of Bradford-based Saveco Cash & Carry for their kind and selfless on-going support.

My dear friends Mohammed Azeem and Haji Adnan Fiaz (Friends of Airedale Hospital) once more accompanied me to Airedale Hospital as well as helping me in selecting and purchasing the gifts.

Mohammed Azeem spent 61 days in hospital of which 41 were in a coma as he successfully battled against Covid-19 and thanks to Allah (God) he made a full recovery. Prior to Covid-19 he successfully battled against cancer.

It can be a stressful time for parents to have children in hospital. We dropped off over 30 Gifts (for poorly children ranging from 0 – 16 years) at the Children’s Ward 17 of Airedale Hospital. The diverse range of gifts included cuddly toys, play sets, babies toys and so forth with a mixture for boys and girls.

It was a gesture of kindness and to show that members of the wider community do care and think about them (poorly children) and ultimately uplift their spirits.

The gifts were for all children in the ward irrespective of faith. The essence of the Islamic celebration of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) & his life’s teachings has the universal concept of kindness and compassion to all particularly those in need. It is these values that bring all people together regardless of belief and we hope we have achieved this at some level.

We realise this is a period of reflection for Muslims. However, it is also a period where we should reflect and support the most vulnerable in society. To this end we felt the need to make a proactive difference.

As a child I spent a significant period in hospital due to my struggle with TB and can empathise with what the children are going through. To date thousands of pounds worth of gifts have been distributed from my now 33 visits to Children’s Wards to Bradford Royal Infirmary and Airedale Hospital Children’s Wards and those hundreds of smiles of innocent poorly children has certainly enriched me and humbled me.