MAN distributes zakat in Ibadan, assists 23 indigents, 30 teachers

THE Muslim Association of Nigeria (MAN), Ibadan branch, has disbursed N1,475,000 zakat in terms of cash and working tools to 53 beneficiaries for the year 2020.

Thirty teachers who are in the employ of the association’s primary school were among the beneficiaries who received financial assistance at the event, which was fourth in the series of the programme.

The chairman of the Muslim Association of Nigeria Zakat Administration Programme (MANZAP), Alhaji AbdulGaniy Abdur-Rahman, said the inclusion of the teachers in this year’s zakat disbursement was informed by the need to reduce the financial strain induced by the COVID-19 pandemic on them.

Alhaji Abdur-Rahman said: “Giving part of the zakat to our primary school teachers was informed by the realisation that many parents could not pay school fees due to the COVID-19 crisis that erupted, especially since March. The situation has affected the payment of the teachers’ salaries.

“We thought we could not leave these teachers like that, more so that Prophet Muhammad emphasised that we should start our act of charity, our act of goodness from home. We believe that whatever we could afford we should let them have a share of the zakat.”

He expressed gratitude to Allah for giving the association the grace to carry out the yearly disbursement to indigent members of the society since the inception of the programme in 2017.

According to him, the programme is intended to create awareness and gear up Muslims, not only MAN members, as regards the importance and the obligatory nature of zakat as the third pillar of Islam, which many Muslims have been neglecting.

Alhaji Abdur-Rahman said: “Many Muslims claim they have faith, they say their obligatory prayers, they do fast in the month of Ramadan, they perform hajj and umrah, but consciously or unconsciously, they neglect this very important pillar of Islam called zakat.

“It is on this premise that MAN thought it fit that a committee should be saddled with this responsibility, and Alhamdulillah, so far so good.

“Since the inception of this programme in 2017, we have given out about N6 million zakat in terms of cash and working tools to 176 beneficiaries.

“Our expectation is that, insha Allah, in the next few years, the beneficiaries will be able to give out sadaqat (voluntary charity) and go on to do better to give out zakat through their businesses.

The chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Lasun Sanusi, urged scholars and clerics to address the challenge of poverty among Muslims by ensuring that the growing number of zakat management organisations has an appreciable impact on the general welfare of vulnerable members of the ummah.

He also emphasised the importance of publicity of zakat distribution, saying that it would go a long way in assuring zakat payers that their donations are being judiciously administered.

The guest lecturer, Imam Abdur-Rasheed Attah, lamented that a good number of Muslims have restricted Islam to rituals alone and deemphasised well-being of the faithful, which he described as an essential ingredient of their spiritual growth.

Attah, who is the imam of the Nigeria Police Central Mosque, Eleyele, Ibadan, said: “Islam is an institution. It is all encompassing. It comprises our total way of life.

“Zakat, a yearly obligation, is so important that Allah mentions it at least 82 times in the Qur’an, just as he emphasises solat, which is performed daily, 82 times. This shows that zakat is as significant as solat,”

The cleric urged beneficiaries at the event to perish their greed and resist selling the tools or using the funds they received on frivolities.

Imam Attah encouraged Muslim leaders and scholars to prioritise the use of statistics for adequate measurement and determination of the impact of zakat activities on the Muslim ummah.

Professor Hashim Ahmad, who represented the chairman of MAN’s Board of Trustees, Professor Dawud Noibi, described zakat as a divine provision for human empowerment in Islam.

He advised the beneficiaries to make the most of what they received.

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