Following the New Year’s Eve celebrations, thousands of Muslim youth around the world ushered in the New Year armed with bin bags and litter-pickers to help keep the streets clean.

As part of an International initiative, members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) began the New Year with the pre-dawn prayer to supplicate for peace, harmony and coexistence in the world, and then proceeded to clean their respective neighborhoods and cities.

“We partnered up with local councils and their contractors, and targeted parks and streets that get heavily littered after New Year’s celebrations helping to tidy them up before the day begins,” National President of the New Zealand (NZ) chapter of the AMYA, Azeem Zafarullah said,

“Following a visit from the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad to NZ in 2013, the AMYA was instructed to also begin the New Year’s clean up here in New Zealand along with other ways of serving our country.

“Our motivation and drive for such charitable acts are the teachings of Islam. Islam not only teaches us to love and serve our country, but also to help keep the environment and surroundings clean,” says Mr Zafarullah.

He further said, “The Prophet Muhammad has stated that ‘removing harmful things from the road is a charity’. Therefore, in keeping with the spirit of the Islamic teachings and to encourage Muslim youth to serve our respective countries, we set a precedent for the rest of the year.”

This year, approximately 40 volunteers, from as young as 8 years old to retirees over 60, helped clean Albert Park, Queen St, Myers Park, and Victoria Park in Auckland, as well as Lake Domain and surrounding streets in Hamilton. Similar activities will be undertaken by the Ahmadiyya Muslim youths the world over.

“As part of our pledge we say, ‘I solemnly pledge that I shall always be ready to sacrifice my life, wealth, time and honour for the sake of my faith, country and nation” says Mr Zafarullah. “There is no contradiction in being a practicing and sincere Muslim and serving our respective countries. As with past years, we will inshaAllah [God willing] be participating in blood donation sessions, charity collections, homeless feeding sessions, peace symposiums, interfaith events, participation in ANZAC parades and many other activities,” Mr Zafarullah concluded.