The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “The best charity is giving water to drink.” (Ahmad)
Water is so much more than just a drink: it’s needed to cook food, water crops and livestock, wash hands and cooking pots to stop diseases spreading… Islamic Relief aims to give people all over the world water for life.
“We made from water every living thing…” (Qur’an 21:30)
Water is essential to life. Clean water is vital for drinking, growing food and keeping clean. A person can only survive on average three days without water, and if the water they have is dirty and contaminated, fatal diseases spread quickly and the effects are devastating.
While the media focuses on wars and conflict, lack of clean water is silently killing one child every single minute. The statistics are truly shocking: nearly 800 million people have no access to clean water, while a woman in Africa walks an average of 6km a day to fetch clean water.
The problem isn’t going away – it’s only getting worse as climate change causes more and more droughts, leaving large areas of land dry and arid. Rich countries do the most to cause climate change, but it’s the poor countries that suffer. This simply cannot go on: it’s time for change.
How Islamic Relief is helping
“The best form of charity is giving water (to drink).” (hadith of the Prophet ﷺ, narrated by Ibn Majah)
Islamic Relief believes in giving water for life. When we build a water system, we want to ensure that after we leave, the locals never need to ask for help accessing water again.
That’s why we take a carefully tailored approach in each area. In some areas there is no groundwater, so digging a well won’t work – we build a system which catches rainwater instead. In countries which have wet, rainy seasons followed by long, dry periods, we construct micro-dams and reservoirs to store the water safely for use all year round. And to save women and children the difficult physical task of pumping water by hand, we harness natural energy with solar-powered wells.
It isn’t just about building systems – it’s about building people too. Five years ago, more than 50,000 water points across Africa had failed, because no-one taught the communities how to maintain and repair them when they broke. We train local people to take care of their new systems, as well as teaching them how to use water safely to improve health and hygiene, so that when we leave, they have truly been given water for life.
A Blessed Gift
“When a person dies, all their deeds end except three: a continuing charity, beneficial knowledge and a child who prays for them.” (hadith of the Prophet ﷺ, narrated by Muslim)
Ongoing charity – sadaqah jariyah – is one of the most valuable acts we can do in this life, which continues benefiting us in the next, even after we have left the earth.
InshaAllah, we hope that our water projects are not only a continuing charity, providing water for years to come, but also include beneficial knowledge, teaching communities to access water and keep themselves and their children healthy, knowledge which will be passed on through the generations!
Allah tells us in the Qur’an that the reward of spending in charity is like “a grain of corn which grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains” (2:261). Water projects are a true example of how one act of charity keeps multiplying, bringing more and more benefit and reward: when a community has water, we see families growing food, healthy children able to attend school, clean hospitals treating patients safely…the list goes on!