In these times of adversity, sometimes we feel afraid and unsure of what we're capable of, yet our hearts are seeking ways to help with any minuscule possibility. We wish to show the world that Islam is a religion of peace. Sabariah Hussein, warmly known as Sister Sabria has been spending her days feeding thousands of people over the last 30 years in Montreal, Canada. Her kind heart, wisdom and genuine compassion will truly inspire you and cause even the hardest of hearts to soften ❤️
1. Tell us a bit about yourself!
I was born in Johor Bahru, Malaysia but I grew up and went to school in Singapore. I received special training through a teachers' training program and taught there and also in JB way back in the 70s. I also taught in Indonesia, Malaysia and Montreal Canada.
2. How long have you been in Canada?
I’ve been here for approximately 32 years.
3. You’ve been called the Muslim Mother Teresa because of your efforts in feeding people. What’s your inspiration behind this?
I should say it runs in the family. My late parents were dedicated, caring and inspiring people. They were always on the move to help people, especially those in shelters. Our houses were full of others, and those who were in dire need of help. So obviously, those spontaneous, genuine and sincere reactions from my parents have become part and parcel of my life.
4. We love that you’re collaborating with the local church to cook for people in need! Could you tell us how that opportunity to work together come about?
Approximately 10 years ago, when I was helping to prepare lunch for my shelter for about 60 people. And as I was used to preparing iftar during Ramadan for a large number of people, I told myself why not approach the nearest church in my neighbourhood to see if I can become of help? Obviously, they welcomed me with open arms. Due to sheer sincerity, we created this bond of respect and love for one another up till today.
5. Do you have a favourite dish that you like to cook for people?
Yes I do! As a matter of fact, there are 3 favourite dishes of mine. Firstly, stir-fried noodles (Malaysian style). Second would be chicken rice -Malaysian style as well! And lastly, nasi lemak, with the coconut milk rice.
6. What does an average day look like to you when you’re not cooking for people?
When I’m not cooking for people, usually on Tuesdays, it’s cleaning up the three kitchens. And on Wednesdays, it’s open to either receiving guests or people coming in for consultation and asking for advice dealing with their private, personal matters. Or visiting the sick in the hospital – widows, children - depending on the situation.
7. Do you have any advice for youths who’d like to volunteer but aren’t sure where to start?
My advice to the youth would be to register for a start with a number of organizations that have youth programs. Not necessarily religious ones, perhaps sports or others would be good for a start. The important thing is to integrate, mix with other nationalities and work together as a team.
From there, they’ll discover other organizations that are promoting healthy community work like helping people in need or simple things such as making sandwiches for homeless people. If you’re ever in Montreal, Canada you can find me on our Facebook page if you’re interested to volunteer as I have many activities for the youths that are in collaborations with other non-profit organizations.
8. Amidst all the chaos in the world today, what do you think Muslims can do to help make the world a happier and more peaceful place?
To help make the world a happier and peaceful place, what Muslims should do is to remain calm and united. Help those who are in dire need, regardless of race or religion. For example, currently the Rohingyas, Yemenis, Syrians are in a chaotic state but there are also people from non-Muslim countries who are in need of help. Go out to the extremes and give help to anyone who needs it. Love everyone and love will come to you. Last but not least, never forget Allah, for Allah will not forget you.
9. Is there any country that you’d like to visit?
Yes, Saudi Arabia, to perform Hajj insha’Allah. And countries with innocent children whose lives are at stake.
10. Fill in the blank: My hope for the world is that…
…people learn to respect and love others. With that, comes understanding and caring for others. I also hope for the world not to be judgemental, and not always pointing fingers at others because remember, the next four fingers will be pointing at you.
Find out more on Sister Sabria and her heartwarming efforts here: Facebook