Scholar prescribes hamonisation of Zakat to reduce hunger
As the Holy Month of Ramadan begins, Muslims in Nigeria are currently groaning under the prolonged naira scarcity, which has led to serious bottlenecks to households’ ability to access cash and food.
The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) currency re-design policy is identified as one of the key drivers of the hardship.
In a finding done by The Guardian, some Muslims may not participate fully in the spiritual exercise mandated on every Muslims who is fit to fast.
Many Muslims are now relying on charity organisations to provide them with meals to fast (Sahur) and break their fast (Iftar).
According to some charity organisations, they have not received enough donations from well-to-do Nigerians up till the first day of Ramadan to cater for the needs of those who are depending on them. Though they are still hoping that people will come out to donate money to feed people to enable them fast.
Director-General of Muslim Zakawaat and Sodaqaat Foundation (MUZASAF), Alhaji Mutiu Olajobi, acknowledge high demand for the foundation’s Eid-el-Fitr packages, saying and it is alarming compared to last year’s.
He said the group supported a total of 750 families last Ramadan, but due to inability of people accessing cash to buy food stuff during the holy month, the demand has been high. Thus, the foundation will be feeding 1000 family of six persons.
He solicited support from Nigerians to raise N10 million Naira to feed 1000 families of six at N10, 000 naira each.
He added that MUZASAF is a platform for mobilising resources from members of the Ummah to cater to the needs of the needy and underprivileged in the society using the divine window of Zakat.
“It was aimed at providing a credible platform for management and administration of Zakat, devoid of sectarian undertones or control, but as a trust for the generality of the Ummah.”
The Founder of Al- Abrar Islamic Foundation, Shaykh Adam Adebayo, prescribed harmonisation of Zakat as the solution to food shortage during the holy month of Ramadan.
“ When Muslim groups come together to harmonise the Zakat collected in their different organisations, the bayt al-mal (public treasury) can be established to cater to the needs of Muslims in each state and Nigeria in general.”
He noted that the bayt al-mal or public treasury was established during the reign of Umar al-Khattab, the second rightly-guided Caliph.
It originated during the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) time but not as an institution. Its main function is to administer wealth contributed and acquired by Muslims through various sources.”
He added that it is from the bayt al-mal the Muslim clerics’ welfare is attended to,”.
“The Holy Prophet did not transact business during his prophethood, likewise all the caliphs during their tenure as caliph, they focused more on their leadership roles.”
He said the government can come to the aid of the ummah in institutionalising the Zakat as this will help to alleviate poverty in the society.
“The competence of the scholar will determine the number of clerics that will be on that payroll. Some clerics are not competent enough to be addressed with the title of scholar. Those scrutinised can be on the payroll as Ulamah as done in the northern part of the country.” He urged Muslim societies to have a zakat and sadaqat committee and they should be enlightened on how to disburse their zakat and sadaqat proceeds. Part of the Zakat collected should be transferred to the state bayt al-mal to cater for Muslims, most especially during the holy month of Ramadan. This will address the issue of not having food to fast during the holy month and also cater to the needs of Ulamas who will be devoting their energy and time to lead people in prayer (Tarawih and Tafsir) during Ramadan.,” he said.