We believe that it is a human right that every person has a home and somewhere to live.

We have received contributions from faith groups to offer reflections to faith groups on homelessness.

A Muslim perspective on homelessness

Thank you for this contribution by Dr Musharraf Hussain OBE, DL Chief Imam Karimia Institute Nottingham:

Muslims are people who practice the religion of Islam. So, they believe in one God and follow the teachings and practices of the prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him). The Qur’an, the Muslims holy book, was revealed to the prophet Muhammed over 14 centuries ago. Muslims believe that God has always guided humanity by sending the prophets to teach people how to worship him. So, Muslims believe in Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus and many more as teachers from God. Muhammad is the final Prophet of Islam who in the seventh century taught Islam.

Muslims are asked to ponder on the vast universe, an amazing creation of God. He is the Owner, the Master who deserves our thanks and appreciation. He created humans as representatives on the earth. Humans rely and are indebted to the God Almighty. The purpose of a Muslims life therefore is to recognise his Lord and worship him. There are clear guidance on how to do this. The Muslims worship the Lord God by praying five times a day, fasting, going on the pilgrimage and by giving charity to the needy people. A Muslim must develop good character, be kind, caring and charitable. Naturally, a Muslim is concerned about the homeless and the needy members of the society.

The homeless refugees

Islam started in the city of Makkah in Arabia in the early seventh century, here they were persecuted. So, after 13 years of preaching and teaching Islam they were forced to migrate to a northern city of Medina. They became refugees, homeless and penniless. The generous Muslims of Medina welcomed them and shared their homes with them.

You reap what you sow

Here is how the Quran encouraged its followers to take care of the needy and homeless.

“Have you seen him who has turned away? The one who gives little then becomes even more miserly. Does he have knowledge of the unseen? That he is seeing the hereafter. Has he not been informed of what is in the Scriptures of Musa? And that of Ibrahim the one who fulfilled his responsibility that; no one will bear the burden of another and each person will only have what he has worked towards. And the outcome of his work will soon be shown, and he will be fully rewarded, and indeed to your Lord is the destination.” (Al-Najm: 33-42)

Feeding the needy

When it is said to them ‘spend from what God has given you, the disbelievers say to the Muslims ‘Why should we feed those who if God wants He could feed them?’ They are terribly misguided. (Yasin: 47)

The two passages are teaching how important it is to give charity. These teaching are motivational and encourage the believers to spend on needy and the homeless. Therefore, some Muslims support the work of charities that support homeless people. We would all love to see an end to rough sleeping. Himmah is a Muslim charity that focuses on feeding the homeless. It began 10 years ago, after a chance encounter between its founder councillor Sajid Muhammed and a homeless man in Nottingham. The journey to feed, house and settle this man resulted in the creation of Himmah. At the heart of the work is the ethos for empowerment and change. Himmah works to personally engage with and help individuals and families change their lives.

For more on Islam visit: www.majesticquran.co.uk and https://www.invitation-magazine.org/

A Christian perspective on homelessness

Thank you for this contribution from Rev Liam O’Boyle, Partnerships Officer for the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham (The C of E across the city and county).   

Our Christian response to homelessness is rooted in Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 25, verses 35-40 where Jesus urges us to show compassion by being alongside anyone who is hungry, destitute, or without a home, demonstrating God’s very real love for each and every person in very practical and hospitable ways.

Matthew 25 is a very powerful statement about what we The Church (The Body of Christ) should be doing, as it seems to go to our very identity as Christians: not only does Jesus call us to be alongside others, but we’re also told that when we do this, it’s like we’re doing this for Jesus Himself:

“For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me”. (Matthew 25:35 – 40).

Throughout the whole Bible (Old and New Testament) God is on the side of the dispossessed and the marginalised and so must we. As another Gospel writer John puts it in one of his letters to the early Church: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (1 John 3:17) To love God means loving others – the two go hand in hand, they are inseparable. The Early Church (the first followers of Jesus) got this: they showed compassion and shared all their possessions with those in need just as Jesus had taught and showed them (Acts Chapter 4: 32-35)

Love your neighbour – Good Samaritan

To provide a bit more insight into what my faith says about homelessness – I’d like to focus on a famous story Jesus told in response to a set of questions he was asked by a smart-Alec lawyer/ religious teacher of his day: The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25 – 37)

Jesus is teaching a crowd to love their neighbours.“And who is that?” he was asked. In reply he tells the story of the man who was beaten up and left to die by the side of the road. A few people hurried past, including some religious types; and then someone stopped – an enemy, a sworn opponent, a Samaritan, a hostile neighbour to Jesus’ largely Jewish audience. He tends to the man’s wounds and takes him to safety.

Jesus’ story of the injured man and all those different people walking by is so powerful because its an everyday ordinary story… and the genius of Jesus’ parables is that I am, and you are, every character in that story…

You don’t have to go far in any city in the UK before you see someone who is homeless. My son Sam has just gone to university in Manchester and the other day tried to give a young homeless man some food who threw it back at him saying he only wanted money…he now doesn’t know what to do as he knows those people begging are usually feeding a drug habit.

Diagram by Jon Kuhrt, Faith and Community Adviser, Ministry of Housing, Church and Local Government, categorising different forms of homelessness response by churches and faith communities.

The diagram shows the wide range of ways Churches are already responding to people experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness or who are vulnerably housed in Nottingham. To find out more please see Christian Action Network Nottingham (CAN) – Transforming Notts Together

One of the things we can offer in this area of work is provide really strong relationships, a place of welcome, a place of community, not transaction, where people can come in and be valued. Because of Jesus’ teaching to demonstrate God’s compassion – we have a message that speaks to peoples’ very identity – that they are loved, valued, created in the image of God. That we want to help them to rebuild their life by being alongside them, empowering them to move forward…

For more information for on How to Help Homeless Callers please see https://southwell.anglican.org/mission-ministry/seeking-justice/housing-justice/:

For more information on what services are available locally Street Support Nottingham – Working together to tackle homelessness in Nottingham

If you or a member of your community, including from a humanist perspective, would like to offer a reflection that will contribute to our resource, please let us know. Gill@emmanuelhouse.org.uk