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Spiritual Traveler: Using YouTube to Empower the World

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The Cape Storm, which led to the deaths of eight people, highlighted the disastrous figure of four thousand people who are homeless in and around the Cape Town CBD. According to Haven Nights Shelter spokesperson Hassan Khan, only one thousand two-hundred and fifty of them received a place to stay at local shelters.

The dire need for welfare assistance for the poor in South Africa represents a global rise in poverty and homelessness. According to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report, there are sixty thousand people who are homeless in California alone.

For many millennials, the frustration at seeing the constant suffering, in the forms of poverty and violence, is becoming more and more overwhelming. But for many others, the question we so often ask to convince ourselves that everything is not as bad as it seems, “What can I possibly do to help?” is no longer satisfying our innate humane dispensation to see for others what we want for ourselves.

It is by time we transcend the false justification of normality that is caused by pie-in-the-sky rhetoric of superficial assistance to the poor. What we need is practical pathways to empower the poor and down-trodden.

How can this be achieved?

One transformer of society is Musab Abdalla, a millennial living in the Bay Area, California. An Imam, activist and a Youtuber, his answer to the question at hand is: thinking globally, acting locally.

“We have to be in the streets with the community helping, giving back, understanding that there are areas where poverty exists. We chose to fast in Ramadan, there are people who are forced to fast.

Musab, a previous student of America’s first accredited Muslim College, the Zaytuna College, highlights the transformation of his social engagement before and after studying at Zaytuna.

“During my time at Zaytuna, I was focused on keeping my head in the books, but once I got out, I realized how much culture I missed out on because I went into a cave, and we have to come out of our caves, especially as introverts, learning the place we live in and how to live as proper Muslims in that space and time.”

Musab’s Youtube channel, called Spiritual Traveller, focuses on practical ventures in highlighting the plight of and helping the poor and down-trodden of the community.

“We are trying to spread the message that one person can make a difference. There is an impact in me going out now, and giving that one person a smile. We are here on earth to give back. If that’s not what we’re doing, it doesn’t matter how many prayers we are doing.”

Documenting charity works has been an issue of contention, filled with hate comments from YouTube audiences, calling it hypocrisy, but Musab’s answer is from both a religious and social perspective.

“There’s a verse in the Quran, if you outwardly do good, there’s good in that. There’s a reality to fake it till you make it. Eventually it’s a habit, it becomes who you are,” he says.

“It’s time we became visible Muslims, taking our own narrative in our own hands. Voice of the Cape radio is an example of a practical initiative. I have friends who are amazing artists, who I encourage to utilize their art to take back our narrative. I bought a DNA kit, but realized that we are all from everywhere, we are all connected…we are all one.

“A lot of the time we look at those above us and we become unhappy. All we want is happiness. But what is cost by pursuing false paths to happiness, but by empowering others, making them happy, we empower ourselves, and we become happy. You thriving is me thriving. YouTube is a platform to mobilize in order to change the world. “

Musab has urged youth to connect with him on social media through his instagram @spiritual.traveler ; snapchat @digitalbook, or on YouTube via his page Spiritual Traveler.

“Go out there and do good, we will share it. This will create a ripple effect. Show what we should have more of, or what we should have less of.”

Listen to Musab’s interview on Voice of the Millennials with Yaseen Kippie:

Voice of the Millennials with Yaseen Kippie is a weekly show on VOC Friday nights at 7-9pm, focusing on issues affecting Muslim youth.

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