Author: Khonsa Zulfa


In recent decades, the frequency of incidents and disasters, along with the associated casualties, injuries, material losses, and the number of people affected, has significantly increased worldwide. Over the past twenty years, natural hazards have impacted 4.4 billion people globally and resulted in the deaths of 1.3 million individuals. Various international organizations, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), have proposed numerous strategies to mitigate disaster risks, emphasizing the use of local capacities and public participation.

How Islamic Institutions can help

To what extent can Islamic institutions contribute to help local communities in times of crisis? Broadly speaking, mosques in daily activities, are trusted by communities and do not belong to any specific group. Mosques often serve as immediate shelters for those displaced by disasters and act as hubs for the distribution of food, water, clothing, and medical supplies. Their central location within communities makes them accessible for those in need of refugee. Mosques also can organize volunteers for rescue and relief operations and are effective in spreading information about safety measures, evacuation routes, and available aid through sermons, announcements, and community meetings. The strong community network within mosques allows for quick mobilization and coordination of efforts.

In this section, we would like to highlight how mosques around the world have been evidenced to contribute in emergency response as follow

  • Indonesia – Tsunami in 2004
  • Japan – Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombing (1945)
  • India – Kashmir Valley Floods (2015)
  • Afghanistan – Floods (2007)
  • England – Floods 2015
  • Finchley (2019+)



Mosques have been instrumental in responding to many of Indonesia’s disasters, both large and small, such as the 2004 tsunami that killed 167,000 people and the 2009 earthquake that left thousands homeless in Padang, West Sumatra.

When the powerful tsunami smashed into this Aceh 20 years ago, one of the only structures left standing in many neighborhoods were Baiturrahman Grand Mosque (pictured above). Many survivors were sheltered in the mosque while waiting for government’s aid to come

In Indonesia, mosques serve as supply storage, coordination centers for relief efforts, distribution points for supplies, and places for therapy and long-term healing.


In Japan, during the second world war in 1945, when the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were devastated by the US atomic bombing, the Kobe Mosque, which was built in 1928, remained strong even though the surrounding buildings were destroyed. Japanese soldiers who took refugees on the ground floor of the mosque with the weapons hid there and managed to survive the attack and the mosque became a place of refugee for the victims.

India - Kashmir Valley

During the 2015 floods in the Kashmir Valley, the Jama Masjid in the Hyderpora area turned into a major relief center, housing hundreds of people, including women and children. The mosque operated a community kitchen and received clothing donations. Approximately 2,400 people, irrespective of their religious beliefs, were fed daily at the mosque.


The Kabul River is crucial for agricultural activities in the surrounding area, but it becomes a threat during monsoon rains in June and July, causing recurring floods. In 2007, using the mosque’s loudspeaker, over 1,000 households were warned in time, enabling them to save their lives and valuable belongings.


Mosques were mobilised to help those affected by floods in Northern England. Mosques have offered shelter to those whose homes have been devastated by the flooding in Northern England in 2015. The Jamia Masjid Hanfia Mosque in Bradford prepared food and drink for the local community no matter their faith. Following a power outage, the Golden Mosque in Rochdale appealed for candles to be distributed to homes and also made sure emergency supplies of tea was made available.

Finchley Mosque

In our local context, Finchley mosque have been involved in providing shelter for holmes and serving hot food for those needing support especially in winter since 2019, and open to Muslims and non Muslims. This is a collaboration project between the mosque, local community, and humanitarian organization. In addition, Finchley Mosque helped giving food for those in crisis during Covid-19.

This blog has written by Khonsa Zulfa who has a MSc degree in Risk, Disaster and Resilience at UCL


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Gunardi, Y. 2021. A Mosque as a Center for The Rescue of The Ummah. Journal of Development and Integrated Engineering. 

Utaberta N, Asif N. 2017. Mosques as Emergency Shelters in Disaster Prone Regions. Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities. 25(S):207-16. 

Major role for mosques in disaster. 2011.

Religious Institutions and Disasters: Scope for DRR and Long-term Recovery. 2021.