Tips for a Socially Relevant Charity

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By a Staff Writer

Ramadan is a spring season for virtues. All good deeds have been promised limitless rewards. So most people choose to disburse their zakat, charity, sadaqah etc during the month of Ramadan. It is imperative for us that we distribute our charity to socially relevant and productive purposes. While the poor, needy and indigent people among neighbours, friends, relatives and acquaintances deserve our charity on a priority basis, one should not lose sight of the social projects such as schools, hospitals or medical assistance funds, employment generation societies, skill development centres, orphanages, and even institutions such as libraries and research institutes. Here are a few tips for disbursement of Ramadan charity:
1-     Reserve your charity for such families who are known to be in want of financial help and struggling to bring up children with good care, education and training and you see in them a promise of becoming productive citizens with immense self-esteem.
2-     Avoid giving charity to madrassas as they are simply mushrooming everywhere with no purpose other than providing livelihood to a”¦”¦”¦”¦.?
3-     If indeed you decide to fund a few Arabic madrassas, choose only those whom you know or their credentials can be certified by you. See that you inspect them once in a while without announcing your visit.
4-     Get the bank account nos. of the madrassas to whom you would like to donate the money and make direct deposits into the accounts. Networked banks have made it easy to deposit money in accounts in any branch anywhere in the country. Remember nearly 40% of the charity you extend to the madrassas goes directly to safeers (charity collectors) towards their commissions and their travel expenses. You can even ask the madrassas to do away with safeers.
5-     Never donate for madrassas for whom request for help is made by the imam invariably after every namaz in the mosques during Ramadan. These may be fake, fly by night operators, may not have the number of kids they claim to have, or may be simply useless or superfluous.
6-     The best charity is one that may convert an individual into a productive individual capable of earning a decent livelihood and himself able to donate a few years later. Going by this yardstick, donate for scholarship funds, rehabilitation centres, even modern schools for the vital infrastructure they need and vocation training centres.
7-     Do not give zakat money to mosques, as they do not come under the categories of deserving recipients. It is the responsibility of the community to set up and maintain the mosque and arrange for the salaries of the staff.
8-   The community is in need of modern social infrastructure such as disabled homes, counseling centres for women in distress and students, children’s homes, coaching centres, translation centres of useful literature for the humanity, etc.
9-   Do not reserve your charity to Muslims alone. Poverty, diseases and illiteracy can afflict anybody. Extend the circle of your beneficence to include non-Muslim brethren too and help them in whatever way you can.
10-                      Never make a grand show of distribution of charity items like clothes, grain, or money, for it may attract several people who do not deserve it.