Amidst COVID-19 pandemic, group shares Zakat proceeds among Nigerians
Despite the economic downturn due to the COVID 19 pandemic, Muslims in the country have continued to fulfill their religious obligation of Zakat.
As the third pillar of Islam, Zakat is an obligatory act upon all qualifying Muslims and is the undertaking of submitting a set percentage of his or her profitable wealth to charity.
A non-governmental and non-profit organization, Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF) known for supporting the well being of the less privileged has doled out close to #1 billion Naira Zakat proceeds to beneficiaries across the country irrespective of their religious affiliation.
Working tools such as mini buses, grinding machine, generating sets, freezers, tricycles, cutting machine, milling machine, stoning machine, seven boreholes, industrial machine, cash and others were given to artisans, communities and individuals to grow their various businesses.
At the 2020 Zakat disbursement exercise, the Executive Director, ZSF, Prince Sulayman Olagunju commended donors for their multiple contributions this year and urged well-meaning Nigerians to key into Zakat payment. He said 2020 Zakat proceed is highly remarkable due to the generosity of Muslims in the country.
“Over #320 million Naira was mobilised at the end of October and 242 Million Naira has been disbursed. This year has been so remarkable. On our side, we did not expect that we would be able to achieve this feat because this is COVID-19 year. So many people have disbursed their zakat during the lockdown in order to assist people. But to our surprise, getting to the end of Ramadan we started receiving another alert from those that have paid their Zakat before. We are humbled by their donations and acts of charity that is why we are able to gather here today.”
Olagunju urged the government to establish Zakat institutions across the country in order to eradicate poverty.
“We still need to do a lot of advocacy to let the government see that Zakat payment is beyond religion. Even if people are talking of religious issues in this country, Nigeria is a multi-religious country, where everybody should be given their right. Muslims are not asking non-Muslim to pay Zakat. What we want is an enabling environment where Muslims would be encouraged to pay their Zakat and it will be shared among the needy.
“In parts of the country like Sokoto, Kebbi where their government institutionalized Zakat, the amount of zakat they mobilised could not be compared and the impact of such Zakat in their society cannot be compared to what we have in our environment here.
“We hope our governments, especially Lagos State government will take a look at this because we have been doing wonderfully well in Lagos State. Look at the amount of Zakat we have collected and disbursed in Lagos State. It is over one billion naira in the past five years. So, it is important to know that if we are given an enabling environment, Zakat impact will be felt in Lagos State.”
He advised Nigerians to cultivate the habit of savings that would go a long way to help in periods of need.
“Learn how to save no matter how little the savings is, it will always be helpful at one time or the other. If you cannot save when you have little, definitely when it is plenty you will not be able to save. Many of our people are not saving; they exhaust everything that they have at once.”
Olagunju advised the beneficiaries to embrace Sadaqat, even if they are not ripe for zakat.
“Beneficiaries should know that those who have paid this Zakat are being magnanimous. Not that they don’t have where to put their money or they are being religious by paying their zakat. They should start paying Sadaqat. They can pay #5, #10. Our foundation started on the basis of #5, N10 and we are still on that basis. We have never left that basis.”
He urged those who applied but their requests are yet to be granted not to lose hope. “The amount of money we are mobilizing is not enough to go round. If you are not opportune this year, maybe next year you will be opportune.”
A deaf and dumb fashion designer, Abdul Qudus Dauda was among the beneficiaries of ZSF 2020 disbursement. He got an industrial sewing machine. According to her mother who came with him to receive the machine, Mrs Mariam Dauda, She said her son can sew perfectly well which has drawn more customers to him but he is in need of an industrial machine to aid his job.
She noted that she couldn’t afford the machine, which cost about #100.000 for the boy. She praised Allah for using ZSF to make her boy’s dream come true.
Another beneficiary, Qasim Olayinka, who is into wooden furniture making got three items out of the circular saw machine, cutting board, screw driver machine, G-saw and generator he applied for. He commended the organization and prayed for the donors.
Mrs. Kudrat Adebayo also received a grinding machine, said she requested for money, but the organisation advised her to get a grinding machine, which they gave to avoid being broke again.
A beneficiary, Rahmat Dupe, was given a deep freezer to enhance her softdrink business. She commended the donors and prayed to Allah to continue to bless them. An Orphan, Itunu Aworunse also received a stoning machine to enhance her fashion job.