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By Timur Abimanyu, SH.


A tool For Community Upliftment

Ramzan is considered holiest month of the Islamic calendar. Ramzan transforms even non-
practicing to perform all the religious rituals, pray for guidance, refrain from everyday evils, self
restraint and seek forgiveness for past sins. Ramzan is also a time when we focus on self-
reformation, spiritual cleansing and enlightenment. People enthusiasm toward religious activity is
unmatched during Ramzan. But same zeal is not visible while paying Zakat, which is one of the
five pillars of Islam.
We do not miss any chance to hit out at the government for poor condition of Muslims in India.
But when it comes to playing our part we fail miserably. As per Arjun Sengupta Committee 2008
report, 77% of Indian population is surviving on Rs 600 per month. Same report also mentions that
84.7% of Muslim population is in poor and vulnerable group.
In Western countries, charity and philanthropy is way of life for both governments and individuals.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the countries giving
the highest amounts of charity money are USA- $28.67 billion, France- $12.43 billion, Germany-
$11.98 billion, UK- $11.50 billion and Japan – $9.48 billion. The Global Humanitarian Assistance
(GHA) July 2010 report also lists countries ranked by generosity as donation per citizen from data
collected in 2008 are Luxembourg- $114/citizen, Norway - $96/citizen, Sweden-
$66/citizen,Ireland- $66/citizen and Kuwait- $33/citizen. Same report also mentions that in terms
of Humanitarian aid Saudi Arabia – 51.8 million tops the list, followed by United Arab Emirates-
35.3 million, Kuwait- 34.2 million, Russia- 32.5 million and India -14.6 million.
Recently, Buffett and Gates started a drive called “The Giving Pledge” to encourage high-profile
philanthropic promises. Warren Buffet has pledged to donate 99 per cent of his wealth,
while Bill and Melinda Gates have already donated half of theirs to charity, using it for improving
the health of humanity. Indians are crowding the list of Forbes but when it comes to be generous
they are no match for likes of Buffet. Recently, Karnataka’s minister for tourism and leading
industrialist Gali Janardhan Reddy presented a diamond-studded gold crown, estimated to be worth
Rs 450 million (Rs 45 crore), to the famous Lord Venkateswara temple at Tirupati.

Capgemini and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in their report stated that India’s high net
worth individuals (HNWIs), who are defined as those having investable assets of $1 million or
more, are over 120,000 in number, or 0.01% of the population, their combined worth is close to
one-third of India’s Gross National Income (GNI).
It would take an average urban Indian at least 2,238 years, based on the monthly per capita
expenditure estimates in the 2007-8 National Sample Survey, to achieve a net worth equal to that
of the average HNWI.
As per reports, In India only 10 percent of charitable giving comes from individuals and corporate
sector, in sharp contrast to the United States, where 75 percent is from individuals and
corporations. It is astonishing that Indian rich living so close to poverty are still very reluctant to
loose their purse-string for charity. A survey in USA brought the interesting facts out that the
poorest fifth of U.S. households contributed an average of 4.3 percent of their incomes to
charitable organizations in 2007. The richest fifth gave at less than half that rate, 2.1 percent.

Charity in Islam
Zakat, which was made mandatory in Makkah at the same time as Salat (prayers) requires, every
year 2.5% of one’s wealth is given away to the poor and needy. The requirement of
Zakat payment stops upon death of an individual. The act of giving Zakat means purifying one’s
wealth to gain Allah’s blessing to make it grow in goodness and themselves from their greed and
selfishness. In addition, Zakat purifies the person who receives it because it saves him from the
humiliation of begging and prevents him from envying the rich.
Wealth is a blessing from their creator as long as it is acquired by halal means and the person
fulfills all his responsibilities towards Allah and society. Islam sees poverty as a social anomaly
that is to be removed and alleviated. To protect the self respect of poor Allah (S.W.T) has declared
that Zakat is the “right” of poor in wealth of rich.
Islam has attached so much importance to Zakat that it is one of the five pillars of Islam. Anyone
who does not believe on any of these five pillars of Islam cannot be categorized as Muslim. Quran
has many surahs highlighting importance of Zakat and charity.

“ And perform Salat and give Zakat “ (Al Baqrah 43)

“So establish regular prayers; and give regular Charity; and obey the Messenger; That ye may
receive mercy.” (An-Nur : 56)
”By no means shall you attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which you love; and
whatever you give, Allah knows it well.” ( Al Imran, 92).

In spite of Quran laying equal emphasis on Salat and Zakat, people tend to miss out on Zakat.
Many give justification that since they are paying income taxes, they do not need to pay Zakat.
Islam has given us a system of Zakat, where poor can be benefited directly. Zakat money most of
times reaches to deserving poor and institutions. In comparison, Government with all its might and
official machinery only manages to deliver 5-10 paise out of 100 paise to intended group.

In India many institutions are surviving solely on Zakat money. Madrasa and Orphanage do
aggressive Zakat collection in the month of Ramzan. Their all annual budget just depends on
Zakat. In this month, Allah promises to multiply every good deed with 70. Many poor look
forward to Zakat in the month of Ramzan. They pin their hope and future planning for their
medical need, wedding or education on Zakat money.
Very few who try to by-pass the Zakat with their weird logic should be beware. Hazrat Ali and
Abu Hurayrah (radi Allahu anhu) reports that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “When Zakat is looked
upon as a penalty (i.e., people will pay Zakat with a heavy heart, as though it is a penalty), then
look for violent windstorms, earthquakes, men being swallowed by the earth, metamorphosis,
stones being pelted from the skies, and calamities following one another in rapid succession,
like beads of rosary falling one after the other when its string is cut.”
The Prophet (PBUH) also said, “The nation that withholds Zakat (i.e. does not pay it), Allah
afflicts famine on them.”
Allah (SWT) promises to increase the wealth of every Zakat payee at the same time denouncing
the wealth with interest. Zakat means grow (in goodness) or ‘increase’, ‘purifying’ or ‘making
“ Allah destroys wealth obtained from interest and will give increase for the deed of charity” (Al
Baqrah: 276)
It is also stated in the Hadith that Zakat brings benefits such as gaining of the pleasure of Allah,
increase in wealth, protection from losses, a cause thus established for Allah’s forgiveness and
blessings are obtained, Safety from calamities, protection from the wrath of Allah and from a bad
death, the Zakaat will provide a shelter on the Day of Judgment, security from seventy
misfortunes, it will serve as a shield from the fires of Jahannam, it contributes to Barkat in wealth
and it also saves from fear and grief.
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Indeed, an ignorant man who is generous is dearer to God
than a worshiper who is miserly.”
Zakat is obligatory on the Muslim who has reached puberty, who is sane, who is free, and who
owns at least 52.5 tola silver or 7.5 tola gold or cash or business goods equal to it. The day, on
which one will own the above mentioned amount, it is wajib on him to pay 2.5% as zakah after
passing of one complete year.
“Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for
those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth); for those in bondage and in
debt; in the cause of God; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by God, and God is full
of knowledge and wisdom.”(9:60).
Quran has clearly identified the criteria of the recipients of zakat in the verse above. They are as
1. Poor (i.e., destitute, beggars).
2. Needy (those who have needs but embarrassed to beg from people).
3. People employed to administer the Zakat funds.
4. People who have converted to Islam and in financial difficulty.
5. Enslaved people seeking freedom (could also mean Muslims in prison).
6. People in debt (to help a person in debt to come out of it).
7. Muslims who are struggling in Allah’s cause.
8. Wayfarer (a traveler who is in need to complete his or her travel).
In the world where rich are getting richer and poor getting poorer. This disparity has lead to social
tension among classes and rise in crime. Islam has provided us a system of Zakat, where this
disparity can be reduced. This also helps removing ill feeling against rich from poor heart. It also
helps in maintaining social peace. Let’s fulfill our religious-social obligation and play a part in
upliftment of the community. by GUEST POST on SEPTEMBER 6, 2010 , by By M. Zajam,

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