Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah that can be taken at any time of the year, in contrast to the Hajj which has specific dates according to the Islamic lunar calendar.

Sumera Bashir, who lives in the village of Langley, near Slough, has won the Umrah package consisting of return flights from London to Jeddah, hotel accommodation in Makkah and Madinah, and all transfers during the trip.

Sumera was nominated by her cousin Iqra Kataria for her selfless work in providing full-time care round-the-clock for her elderly and disabled in-laws, who are both housebound, having had a stroke and contracted Alzheimer’s.

She also looks after her three children aged three to nine, one of whom is on the autistic spectrum, and has taken care of her family’s finances after her husband was taken unwell and was unable to work full-time.

Sumera did not know she had been entered for the competition until she was visited by Sultan Ahmed, from the Community Fundraising team at Islamic Relief UK, who presented her with the Umrah ticket on Tuesday 2 October, her at home.

Sumera Bashir said:

“I believe that God made us with a purpose and we should try our best to fulfil that purpose. We should try to do our best for our elders in their old age, just as we do for our children. Allah is rewarding me for my work and this encourages me and motivates me even more.

“I want to thank Islamic Relief for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. I can’t believe it. I never imagined I’d ever go to visit the sacred lands. I can’t thank you enough.”

Iqra Kataria, who lives in Nottingham, said:

“I nominated Sumera because she is such an exceptional person. She is committed to putting others first and is always smiling, even though she experiences a lot of hardship each day.

“I prayed to Allah for something to help her and that is why I am so delighted that Sumera has won this trip of a lifetime to Makkah. It will be a much-needed break and give her a boost, having made such great sacrifices for her family because she is such an unselfish person.”

Imran Madden, UK Director of Islamic Relief, said:

“Giving charity is one of the best ways to help those less fortunate than yourself and Sumera is an exceptional example of someone who puts the needs of others before her own. It is a privilege for Islamic Relief to provide someone who has shown such selfless commitment to her family with a return trip to Makkah and enable her to complete Umrah.

“Our Prophet (peace be upon him) said that ‘actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended’. We are glad that Sumera will experience the trip of a lifetime.”


For more information, please contact James Tweed at Islamic Relief UK on 020 7593 3219, or email


Notes for Editors

Islamic Relief is an international aid and development charity that aims to alleviate the suffering of the world’s poorest people in more than 30 countries, mainly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As well as responding to disasters and emergencies, Islamic Relief promotes sustainable economic and social development by working with local communities – regardless of race, religion or gender. In its 33-year history, Islamic Relief has helped more than 110m people across the world. Islamic Relief is one of the 13 UK charities that form the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) – see here. 

Islamic Relief is rated 20th in the Top 500 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the world by the Swiss-based independent media organisation NGO Adviser – see here.

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