No fewer than 197 persons and four charitable Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) benefitted from The Companion’s (an association of Muslim Men in Business and the Professions) disbursement exercise of N30 million Zakat proceeds.
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Academy for Islamic Propagation (ACADIP), Noble heart Children Foundation and United for Kids Foundation benefitted from the distribution.
Meanwhile 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, and Abuja.
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.
The National President of the Organisation, Alhaji Thabit Sonaike, in his welcome address, noted that the collection of Zakat Funds by the body is owing 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.
“On the other hand, there are also many needy Muslims in various categories such as widows, orphans, the sick, poor, indigent and others 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 urged well-to-do Muslims to obey Allah and use the payment of Zakat as a means to purify their wealth.
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 feels 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.
The guest speaker, 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.
Chairman, Zakat, Sadaqat Fund Committee, Imam Nojeem Jimoh, 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 four charitable organisations.”