Zakat Backbone of Madrasas' Financial Structure, Community Must Not Forget them in Lockdown, Say Leaders
Mumtaz Alam | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, MAY 2— The Coronavirus-driven lockdown is badly affecting the economy of not only general individuals and companies but also social-educational institutions like madrasas which are fully dependent on charities. The month of Ramazan is the best month for madrasas for revenue collection from Zakat donors in metro cities, big towns and business hubs. As due to the ongoing lockdown, madrasa clerics and staffers are unable to move out for collection, rich Muslims and those eligible to give Zakat must spare the portion of Zakat fund for madrasas that they have been giving every year, say eminent leaders of Muslim organizations and renowned clerics.
Zakat (2.5% annual religious tax of wealth) and Sadaqat (charities) given out in Ramazan have been the backbone of the annual budget of thousands of madrasas across the country. In the current situation, many leaders told India Tomorrow that donors should help the madrasas through online transaction or preserve the amount for the madrasas for post-lockdown period.
“It is the responsibility of Zakat donors to get the bank details of the madrasas which they want to help and send the amount into the account and inform the madrasa management about their contribution and seek receipt through post. This is a practical way to help them in the present situation,” Maulana Syed Mohammad Wali Rahmani, General Secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) told India Tomorrow.
Maulan Wali Rahmani, Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali, Mohammad Salim Engineer, Mufti Mukarram Ahmed, Zafar Sareshwala
Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali, Imam, Lucknow Eidgah, said: “This is very important issue. Most of the people take out Zakat in Ramazan and everyone wants to help madrasas with this amount in Ramazan. The financial structure of most of the madrasas is based on Ramazan. Due to the lockdown, people are unable to move out. In order for madrasas, which are forts of Islam and main institution for Islamic learning, do not face trouble in the coming days, my appeal to all people is that those who have been helping madrasas they should either transfer the amount in the bank accounts of those madrasas or keep the amount with them and when situation becomes normal, they give that amount to those madrasas so that they do not face any problem in imparting education of Quran and Hadith.”
Maulana Mufti Mukarram Ahmed, Imam, Shahi Fatehpuri Masjid, Delhi says that no month or day is fixed to give out Zakat; generally people give it in Ramazan, but it can be given in any month and in the present case in post-lockdown period.
“No month, day or time is fixed for Zakat. If the lockdown continues for two months, we can give Zakat after that, there is no problem in it. We have manufactured this fashion to distribute Zakat only in Ramazan. This is wrong. Shariat has given concession in the issues related to Zakat. You can keep the Zakat amount with you and then give it to the needy. Suppose if you have to give out Rs one lakh as Zakat, it is not bound on you to give it out in one go and in one day. You can spend it throughout year,” Maulana Mukarram told India Tomorrow.
He is also of the view that donors can send Zakat in bank accounts of madrasas or keep it with them for the time when situation becomes normal.
“If some madrasas give you bank accounts, you can transfer them or you can keep the amount with you and give them after the situation becomes normal or can call the madrasa collectors then. You should preserve the amount to give to the madrasas after the lockdown,” he said.
Mohammad Salim Engineer, Vice President of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind shared his views: “Madrasas are key source of religious education. They should be helped. They should not be ignored in this time of crisis because poor students also study there and madrasas arrange for their food and lodging. The community has been bearing the big part of the cost of madrasa expenses even though it is the government’s duty to arrange for education. It is true madrasas give religious education, but they impart modern education also.”
He also said that Zakat donors should help madrasas through online transactions and “the lockdown should not prevent us from helping the madrasas.”
“As people are resorting to modern techniques for various things, Zakat donors should also use such medium to help the madrasas. They can transfer Zakat amount in the bank accounts of verified madrasas they trust. There should be no problem in it,” said Jamaat leader.
Renowned businessman and former Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Zafar Sareshwala advocates for a proper system of Zakat collection and distribution. In the present situation, he is also of the view to help the madrasas through bank transactions.
“There should be a system for Zakat collection and spend for madrasas. For quite some time, many people have been paying zakat through cheques. Now almost every madrasa has their bank account. We should think about it as our own responsibility not theirs. Most of Zakat donors maintain list of such madrasas,” he said.
Lockdown Has Taught a Lesson – Givers Should Reach Takers
The community leaders did not approve of the prevailing system of Zakat collection – madras clerics going door to door, shops and offices and seek zakat from donors. The ideal system, they said, should be the opposite.
Maulana Wali Rahmani says: “We should keep it in our mind that it is the blessing of Allah that madrasa people are going to cities and towns and draw attention of the people towards madrasas and get their donation. But the correct thing is that the affluent people and Zakat donors and those who donate in Ramazan should send the amount to them and the needy. People have forgotten this.”
Zafar Sareshwala says: “When these madrasa people would come for Zakat collection, I would feel pained at this system of Zakat distribution. These people come to our doors and we give them Zakat as if we are doing favours to them. The real intention of Zakat was that the giver would be grateful of the taker. I would say now that the time has come to revive the real system of Zakat. The rich people should come out of their comforts and look for the needy persons and give them Zakat.”
Jamaat leader Salim Engineer also said: “Sending zakat to madrasas through banks is better than the prevailing system where large number of madrasa people visit cities and stand in lines to get Zakat amount from donors.”
He said that people have started helping the madrasas in that way and appealed to madrasas “to maintain bank accounts and thus maintain transparency.”
Rich Muslims Should Go Beyond 2.5% of Zakat, Spend More on the Needy in Today’s Crisis
AIMPLB General Secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani said: “Given the epidemic and economic crisis, people should go beyond Zakat and spend more on poor people. As for Zakat, it is not the donor’s amount. If I give Zakat, this 2.5% is not my amount. In Quran, Allah has described this as ‘right’ of deserving people. The term shows that though the amount is with us it is not ours, someone else has right on it. At other place, Allah has asked us to help the seekers and the deprived and this is above Zakat. We should spend more than Zakat.”
Mufti Mukarram Ahmed says: “Given the crisis at hand, people should go beyond the limit of 2.5% and give 5% and 10%. Allah will give best rewards to them. They should give 2.5% to the poor, destitute, labourers and keep 7.5% for madrasas. Limiting the charity to only Zakat is not right for the rich and affluent people.”
He further said that whole amount of Zakat does not need to be spent in one go or in one day.
“Zakat can be spent in instalments. It is not time bound like five-times prayers. People should also spend on the needy people going beyond Zakat. Second thing is that if you have spent our Zakat but a needy person comes to you, then you can give him next year’s Zakat in advance also. The next year, you need not to give zakat.”
Maulana Khalid Rashid also emphasized on spending more and more on the poor going beyond Zakat.
“2.5% is minimum limit which every Muslim eligible to give Zakat should give. Beyond that, they should also help with sadaqat, khairat and general donation. In the current situation, when people around the world are facing trouble and trials sadaqat and khairat have been described as an important source to get rid of the problem. We all should come forward and help the needy people because the Prophet said if you help those on earth, Allah will help you,” said the Maulana.
Zafar Sareshwala said: “Not just Zakat, we should give sadaqat, khairat, fidya. The economy of Islam is based on giving. Big madrasas have grains but small madrasas are in hand-to-mouth situation. They are in miserable condition.”
“Zakat (2.5%) is just minuscule amount of our wealth. Rich people should understand that with this 2.5% they are actually saving and cleansing their 97.5% wealth. They should go beyond and spend on the needy with Sadaqat and khairat. No one becomes poor by giving. We should spend as much as we can on the poor. My father would teach us that to give sadaqat every day is a health insurance,” said Sareshwala.