108 indigent Lagosians benefit as Jaiz distributes zakat

NO fewer than 108 residents of Lagos State have received zakat worth N4 million in cash and materials from Jaiz Charity and Development Foundation.

The Executive Director of the foundation, Dr Abdullahi Shuaib, said at the distribution ceremony on Tuesday in Lagos that the highest percentage of the zakat proceeds went into education support to boost human capital and economic development.

He said 54 per cent of the zakat was devoted to education support and 32 per cent to economic empowerment, while the remaining was targeted at taking care of people’s health challenges.

Explaining why education support got the highest percentage, Shuaib said education was the best legacy that  could be bequeathed to the younger generation, especially children from humble homes.

“From our empirical studies over the years, we found that when we give people money for health challenges, more than 50 percent usually divert the money for sustenance, believing that God will take care of their challenges.

“This happens because the foundation has little control over the monitoring aspect but at the point of doing the mid-assessment, we do realise that the money given out to take care of their health was diverted to other things.

“Likewise on economic empowerment, the foundation has placed more emphasis on buying equipment for beneficiaries and equally tried to reduce the number of beneficiaries that usually access physical cash. We believe the equipment will generate income,” he said.

He advised the benefitting students to focus on their academic pursuit.

According to him, “Allah has solved one of your challenges by providing this unique opportunity for you. So, dedicate your time to studying very hard and ensuring that you come out with good grades.”

The Grand Mufti of the Conference of Islamic Organisations (CIO), Sheikh Dhikrullah Shafi’I, described zakat as an essential component of Islamic economic system which eradicates poverty through its proper implementation.

He noted that the success of the zakat institution couldn’t be denied due to increase in sustainability every year.

He emphasised that government’s participation in zakat collection would have a huge impact on the people, especially the downtrodden and boost the drive to achieve prosperity in the country.

“The reason why some Muslims are still enmeshed in poverty despite the high proceeds of zakat is due to the non-involvement of the government in the system. The government needs to support the system for it to become very effective,” the cleric said.

He urged clerics to give proper enlightenment to zakat payers and beneficiaries, saying that most people paying zakat were only paying sadaqat due to the fact that they were not aware of the actual amount they were supposed to pay. “Likewise, zakat beneficiaries don’t know about the usage of zakat benefits,” he added.

The Chief Imam of Adangba Central Mosque, Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Sulaiman Adangba, said: “Many Muslims remain enmeshed in poverty because they lack the education of the usage of zakat. We must let people know that zakat is not free money. They are to work with it and return it into the system so that others could benefit as they have benefitted.”

He advised that a template be put in place for the collection and disbursement of zakat to avoid a situation whereby people collect zakat from different organizations.

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