Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

SAFAR
- RABI-UL-AWWAL 
1425 H
APRIL
2004
Volume 17-0
4 No : 208
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Reflections


Charity, Most Important!

Charity, Most Important!

Huge sums of money is taken out by the Muslims all over the world, and if most of the money actually fulfills its purpose, then we shall see a vast change in the disadvantaged section of our Ummah

 

By Shahnawaz Khan

Of all our obligations as a Muslim, I feel that the most important duty which will directly affect our Ummah in many ways today, is that of Charity. The other four Pillars of Islam are more of a personal nature and affect the Individual, but Charity is our obligation towards the Muslim community and a social duty. Our Zakat, Fitra and Donations can become a vehicle which can energise the rest of Ummah into a cohesive community. We need to look at this issue more closely, as just giving handouts will tend to encourage Begging, prevent useful employment and overall create a sense of dependence on freebies, among those who receive it. This will never help anyone to grow into a Giver and excel in any alternative occupation, and we shall be responsible for the Misuse of these funds. As Muslims, we are well aware, that giving Charity to the right person and in a constructive manner, is as important as charity itself.

We all know that huge sums of money is taken out by the Muslims all over the world, and if most of the money actually fulfills its purpose, then we shall see a vast change in the disadvantaged section of our Ummah. All we have to do is create a network of Credible Organizations who will work and act as a transit point for this inter-change. The Affluent Muslim countries, such as those in the Gulf region, can take the lead in this venture. Let us find ways in which this virtually simple obligation on most Muslims can make a difference.

After helping our immediate relatives who need help, we should ensure that the balance money goes to a Collection Center from which it is distributed. Others who come to us for help should be re-directed to these Centers, where they can receive more help than what we can provide individually. The people responsible for running these centers can ensure that the applicants are cared for in a humane and orderly fashion, as they are public trust bearers and are not doing an obligation to those who deserve to be helped. For this, they can be trained to handle this public relation position, including ways in which discreet inquiries can be made to find and serve more people.

These Centers can handle various aspects of Community service, which is much beyond individual capacity, such as Employment and Housing. We can use these funds to create Low-cost housing which can be provided to deserving people. There are many villages and small towns in which community housing projects can be done at very reasonable cost. This will encourage more Muslims to live in communities together, thus providing them with a sense of safety and security. These houses need not be sold, but can be owned and maintained by Centers, who can then allow poor Muslim families to live in them. This collective living can encourage the development of Schools, Madrasas, Healthcare and other essential facilities, which are most lacking in the disadvantaged sections of our society. Also these sort of projects can provide employment to many poor Muslims and help them to earn an independent living.

Another good idea to use community money would be to open small scale industries. These industries can provide employment to poor people from within our community, at the same time produce goods which can be donated to people in other regions. Profit is not the motive behind these enterprises, except maybe to sustain some part of the expenses, the main motive is to use Charity money to provide employment, at the same time produce goods which are in-turn used for donations. These can be Clothes, Hosiery, Sweaters, Caps, Food items, Medical supplies, Stationery, Hand Pumps, Candles, Kerosene Lamps, Packing materials, anything.. anything which requires less skill and minimum machinery. This material can be sent to other charity organizations throughout the world, thus supplementing the efforts and encouraging interaction between Centers working for a common cause.

Medical Centers and Healthcare units are another cause deserving to receive donations on a community basis. Yes, there are many organizations which presently undertake these services, but they need to be expanded further. Also Training centers to provide courses and skills on a free or subsidized basis to Muslims will go a long way in helping the weaker sections gain some self respect.

The whole idea is to organize our donations in an effective manner, discourage begging and dependence on hand-outs within our community and to be effective in actually helping the disadvantaged to stand on their feet. Also provide employment and widen the scope of help to a larger number of people. In all probability this will also prevent the poor from falling into the trap of illegal and unsocial activities, thus helping the entire Muslim community from being branded in a negative fashion. Over a period of time this will be a form of Dawah to other people and give strength to the entire Muslim Ummah.... I am not an Islamic Scholar and do not know how these will stand up as per our Sharia, but as an individual, I feel these may help us.

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News Community Roundup Editorial Letters to the Editor Exclusive Making Difference Open House Trends Debate People Track Community Development Men, Missions and Machines Children's Corner Just for the Young Muslim Perspectives Quran Speaks to You Hadith Reflections Question Hour - Dr. Zakir Naik Religion Quran and Science Guidelines Women in Islam Muslims and Cyberspace Back to the Past Harmony Journey to Islam Job Hunt Matrimonial
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