Ikeja, the capital city of Lagos, witnessed an enthralling atmosphere, when no less than 97 individuals thronged the old Secretariat Mosque Hall in Alausa, for the Lagos State Zakat fund disbursement ceremony organised by The Companion, an association of Muslim Men in Business and the Professions.
Four charitable organisations such as Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Academy for Islamic Propagation (ACADIP), Nobleheart Children Foundation and United for Kids Foundation also benefitted from the distribution.
Muslim News gathered that the association had earlier made similar disbursement to about 100 beneficiaries in Kwara, Osun, Oyo, and Cross River States, including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
No fewer than 197 persons benefitted altogether across states in the disbursement of the N30 million Zakat proceeds.
The Companion Zakat Fund Distribution Ceremony was established in 2012 to assist qualified Muslims to fulfil their zakat obligations and provide a platform to give assistance to needy Muslims and others, who require financial and other forms of support.
Zakat, the third pillar of the Islamic faith, saddled on well-to-do Muslims, to pull out a token of 2.5% on a certain amount of money, which has been in their custody for a period of 12 months, to be given to the less privileged. It has been discovered to be a major tool for the eradication of poverty and ensuring circulation of wealth amongst every individual in a society.
Zakat, the most neglected pillar of Islam – Sonaike
In his welcome address, the National President of the Organisation, Alhaji Thabit Sonaike, noted that the collection of Zakat Funds by the body is owed to the vacuum it has observed overtime in terms of its payment and distribution.
According to him, it is common knowledge that Zakat is one of the pillars of Islam, yet, it is without doubt the most neglected by many Muslims. The negligence is out of ignorance for some, while for others, it is out of carelessness. As a Muslim organisation, The Companion has noted with concern that there are many qualified Muslims who ordinarily should pay Zakat and genuinely want to fulfil that obligation, but require little prompting.
“On the other hand, there are also many needy Muslims in various categories such as widows, orphans, the sick, poor, indigent, etc who also genuinely need assistance to cope with the vicissitudes of life, especially at a time when Nigeria is touted as the poverty capital of the world and Muslims are arguably the greatest victims of the poverty index.
“The need to, therefore, channel support to our Muslim brothers and sisters in line with the Shari’ah, prompted The Companion to create this platform. We are aware that a few other Muslim organisations are engaged in the collection and distribution of Zakat, but the truth is that, given our population and spread, we really need more of such organisations to genuinely reach out to both the givers and the takers.
“We also need the expertise which is lacking in most Muslim organisations. At The Companion, we are committed to poverty alleviation among Muslims and Zakat as ordained by Allah, is a veritable instrument to achieve this goal as it provides both spiritual and material benefits for everybody involved”, he buttressed.
He further called on well-to-do Muslims to obey Allah and use the payment of Zakat as a means to purify their wealth.
Be sincere with what you will be given – Dr Shuaib urges beneficiaries
The Chairman of the occasion and CEO, Jaiz Zakat and Waqf Foundation, Dr Abdullah Shuaib, in his opening speech admonished the beneficiaries to sincerely utilise the proceeds they were given.
“According to the Prophet, the believers are like a body. When one part is in pain, the other parts feel it. The Companion has seen and shared our pains and decided to ameliorate the situation through this Zakat fund distribution ceremony.
“The money and materials you get should be well utilised and not sold. No matter how little, you should be sincere with it, as it is enough to ameliorate your situation and after a while, which is our prayer and owing to what we have seen, you will become a payer of Zakat to other less privileged in the society,” he sued.
Payment of Zakat is the solution to world crisis” — Sheikh Ar-Riyaady
Speaking at the event, a Lecturer at the Department of Arabic at Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, and Mudir ZamZam Academy, Sheikh Dr Munirudeen Salaudeen Ar-Riyaady emphasised that the payment and distribution of Zakat is a key solution to the crisis rocking countries of the world.
According to him, “Zakat is a pillar and Allah, who created us knows He did not create us to be equal financially and in all ramifications of life. If we have, we give somebody. A simple analogy is ‘someone who receives your blessing will not curse you, but will rather pray for you’.
“If we give Zakat, all issues of killing, kidnapping and so on will not exist. The more the less privileged are having what to survive with, the more they pray for the givers. Let’s inculcate Zakat, as it is the best way to empower the less privileged and raise the political and economic status of any society or nation”, he noted.
He further disclosed the importance of Zakat as a tool for the creation of wealth.
In his words, he said “Zakat is one of the pillars of Islam and Allah instructed that Muslims should give it to the less privileged, in order to raise their financial status. If we refuse to give Zakat, we face a lot of challenges politically, economically, morally, socially and in fact, spiritually.
“In the Quran, Allah says if you give it (Zakat) silently (secretly), He’ll bless it. If decide to publicise, He will also bless it. This (this event) is not even a public one. So, giving Zakat will assist us. If you look at those countries where Zakat is given to the less privileged, you will see that the level of poverty is low compared to countries where it is not given.
Opportunity is open to all – Chairman, Zakat Fund Committee
Responding to questions from journalists, including Muslim News, Imam Nojeem Jimoh, Chairman, Zakat, Sadaqat Fund Committee said the disbursement is open to all in need, but added that they will be subjected to screening.
According to him, “The screening process begins with announcement of Zakat distribution through a public announcement, which we do on yearly basis. A Google form was designed and available on the public space and people are free to fill. That is the first step. Then we conducted interviews with the applicants to be sure they are telling us the truth.
“Across the nation, we have 197 but here in Lagos today, we have 97 individuals, 15 additional individuals in the business category receiving 500,000 naira and 4 charitable organisations.”
On who are those qualified to receive the proceeds of Zakat, he said “Zakat is for Muslims who have means, to take from their wealth, 2.5% of whatever they have managed to save for a period of 12 months, and give in charity to the less-privileged.
“This money can only be given to eight categories of people which include the poor, the needy, those who are attached to Islam and others are some of the people we are encouraged to give. 2.5% taken out of the wealth once in a year, given to the poor is what we call Zakat,” he added.
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