Animal lovers will stop at nothing to help an animal in need. We recently shared the inspiring story of a man who built a “wheelchair” for a goldfish who couldn’t float (you have to see the adorable photos!), and we can’t forget about the boys who heroically saved a stranded dolphin simply because they knew it was the right thing to do. Seeing these stories gives us hope that there are plenty of people who see animals as valuable and important members of our society.
So when we read the story of a Muslim woman who refuses to stop caring for animals even though she has been outcast from her community for doing so, we were left in awe of her courage.
Norashikin Ahmad created a small shelter, called Shikin Shelter, for abandoned animals next to her home in 2014, and when a video of her rescuing an injured stray dog in a drain went viral, many praised her actions. Unfortunately, she also faced criticism for touching a dog with her bare hands. Many Muslim scholars discourage the touching of dogs, particularly wet dogs, but doing so to save a life is permissible as long as the proper purification process is used. But as this rescuer explains, she did have gloves initially but after coming face to face with animals, did not think they were needed.
Even though she has to travel to a mosque in the next village to pray because she is not welcome at the one right outside her house, she is undeterred. Her thriving shelter now houses about 120 cats and about 50 dogs with the no sign of slowing down. Ahmad uses her late father’s words as inspiration, “He told me that we should help anyone or anything that needs to be helped. It does not matter if it is a cat, a dog or any other animal in need. If we have the ability to help it, then we should.”
Ahmad’s relationship with her mother was also strained for a period of time. “Many people feel it is not appropriate me to touch food after touching dogs as it is considered unclean,” she explained. “At one point my mother could no longer take what the residents were saying, and told me to leave and take my dogs and cats with me. Eventually, she accepted what we were doing when she saw how we rescued a dog that was in pain, nursed it back to health and eventually gave it away for adoption. But it took time.”
We love how fearless Ahmad is despite the rising challenges she faces. She shows us that doing what is right trumps all. If you’re feeling as inspired as we are after reading this story, you can make a difference in the lives of homeless animals simply by volunteering.
Organizations rely heavily on volunteers to assist with animal care and day-to-day operations. There’s never a shortage of things to do and opportunities are available for people of every skill set. You can help take dogs for walks, give them food and water, and make sure their area is clean. If your preference is helping out behind the scenes, you can volunteer your services by assisting with fundraisers, outreach events or general office tasks. And please, always adopt and never shop!
To follow Ahmad’s work and keep up to date with recent rescues, follow the Shikin Shelter Facebook page.
Image Source: YouTube