How Zakat and Fitra can heIp needy and poor and support local economic growth….

Dr Tausif Malik

Every year during the hoIy month of Ramadhan, I get emails, WhatsApp messages and my FB and Linkedin about donating my Zakat and Fitra to organizations. This Ramadhan has coincided with the results of UPSC exams and Masha’ AIIah a good 50 muslim students have cracked the exams. Majority of the organizations and new sites are boasting that Muslim students have benefitted from their organizations work and share more Zakat and Fitra.

The significant role played by Zakat in the circulation of wealth within the Islamic society is also played by the Sadaqat al-Fitr. However, in the case of Sadaqat al-Fitr, each individual is required to calculate how much charity is due from himself and his dependents and go into the community in order to find those who deserve such charity.

“Thus, Sadaqat al-Fitr plays a very important role in the development of the bonds of community. The rich are obliged to come in direct contact with the poor, and the poor are put in contact with the extremely poor. This contact between the various levels of society helps to build real bonds of brotherhood and love within the Islamic community and trains those who have, to be generous to those who do not have”.

I don’t challenge the good work these organizations are doing…My concern is that according to Quran Majeed and Hadeeth- is to find a needy (Mustaheeq) and giving him/her the Zakat and Fitra amount is Ibaddat …but not writing a cheque or bank transfer to an organization…and seeking tax credit…For example taking care of our parents is Farz, not keeping them in oId age home or servant taking care of them…means we cannot offload our responsibility on others…

After reading this; others might challenge my knowledge about Islam and why is that I’m being negative about the success stories. No, I’m not against the success stories, good work and hard work…

Let me put it this away, today there is a movement in the world that promotes buy local to promote local businesses as it helps create more entrepreneurs, more economic output, more taxes to local governments and create sustainable economic development. Masha’ Allah Islam had put forth these points before the progressive movement started. Hence, if we find a needy (Mustaheeq) in our family or neighborhood or in our city than give our Zakat, Fitra and Sadaqaa to them, than it will percolate down to our weaker sections of the society. Their economic status gets elevated and they contribute in the overall economic activity of the society.

My other point is we should support the students who aspire to dream big and achieve high goals not giving them donations, but rather giving them karz hasna, means interest free loan.

As these students aspire to be big, than irrespective of their passing UPSC exam, they wiII succeed in their lives, hence they should aIso repay the loans and contribute back to the funds for future students. But aII these should be done not with Zakat, Fitra and Sadaqaa money but rather a community fund, so students from other economic strata can also benefit.

Also the toppers of UPSC exam, should contribute to the learning of the future students by giving them guest lectures and mentoring sessions, as they studied on community funds, it should be their duty to give back to the community. But right now, they have become internet celebrity or poster chiId of the organization, who than leverage their success to raise more funds. And the very purpose of Zakat, Fitra and Sadaqaa is defeated.

Over the years I have met many Muslims business persons, Muslims entrepreneurs and Muslims professionals, what they have done is established their own social organizations but use their own Zakat, Fitra and Sadaqaa to help students, widows, orphans and under privileged. They don’t market themselves or seek funds from others. When I questioned them why they are doing this, the unanimous answer was that it is part of my faith and it is my Ibbadat.

Lets all understand the true purpose of Ramadhan and not use it to market organizations seeking Zakat, Fitra and Sadaqaa which was the ‘Haqq’ of the ‘Mustaheeq’ (needy).

About the Author
Dr Tausif Malik is Indian American Social Entrepreneur based out of Chicago, USA & Pune, India. He recently got elected as Treasurer to Democratic Party USA’s India Chapter (Democrats Abroad). He is the founder of America’s Largest community based Spelling Bee competition MuslimSpellingBee.com, India StartUp Fest Gulf Angel Network GCCStartUpFest.com Schoolpreneur.Biz and AIMBSN.com. 

He is Managing Editor & Publisher for GCCStartup.News – Gulf regions 1st Startup & Entrepreneurship News portal, editor for the TheDesiTimes.com Chicago and Managing Publisher for Asianlite.com US edition.

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