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Updated: July 22, 2013 02:16 IST

This Ramzan, zakat backs secular education

J. S. Ifthekhar
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Noor Kamal of Myanmar, seen here with his wife, lost both his upper limbs, in the violence against Rohingya Muslims last year, and needs prosthesis costing Rs. 3 lakh.
Noor Kamal of Myanmar, seen here with his wife, lost both his upper limbs, in the violence against Rohingya Muslims last year, and needs prosthesis costing Rs. 3 lakh.

As opposed to the usual practice of funding madrasa education, the idea of supporting secular education and meeting the medical needs of poor Muslims is gaining ground

More than the objects around us, it is people who need to be restored and redeemed. And what better way to reclaim them than to meet their immediate needs. Many Muslim organisations – social and philanthropic – are staking a claim on zakat, the poor’s due, given by the community mostly during Ramzan.

Zakat for education and medicine is now the catchword.

Traditionally, Muslims have been offering their annual zakat to madrasas to fund the education of children studying there. A part of the charity also goes to the lesser privileged in the family, the needy, orphans and the wayfarers. Now the idea of supporting secular education and meeting the medical needs of poor Muslims is gaining ground.

NGOs pitch in

Well-known builder Ghiasuddin Babukhan has pioneered funding the secular education of deserving boys and girls through his Hyderabad Zakat and Charitable Trust. Now, several Muslim organisations have realised the importance of using the huge zakat amount generated every year to do the same. A symbol of Islamic social justice, zakat is considered the community’s best bet to lift itself up.

Appeals for zakat and sadqah are pouring in from different institutions this Ramzan. The Helping Hand Foundation (HHF), a Hyderabad-based NGO, has come up with a list of programmes which Muslims can support through their zakat.

The case of Mubina Begum, 30, a widow with three children, is pathetic. The condition of this graduate was highlighted by The Hindu when she was living on a footpath. Later, the HHF came to her rescue. There are 84 such deserving widows and orphan children who desperately need support.

Expensive treatment

The story of Noor Kamal, a B.Com student from Burma, is also pitiable. He lost both his upper limbs in the violence that erupted in Myanmar’s Rakhine last year. He needs prosthesis that costs Rs. 3 lakh.

The HHF has identified 114 such cases of breadwinners affected by trauma, accidents, cancer, kidney failure, paralysis, TB and HIV. There are also 30 spastic and disabled children and 50 mother and child nutrition cases requiring support. “We need the community support to help such deserving persons round the year,” says Mujtaba Hasan Askari of the HHF. The HHF can be reached on 040-23302004.

Another voluntary organisation, Help Hyderabad, is also seeking zakat donation to carry out programmes such as assisting the poor with rations, medicines, scholarships and livelihood skills. One can contact the organisation on 9246339507.

The Safa Baitul Maal has come up with a novel programme of distributing Ramzan ration among the poor. One can meet the cost of food packets through the zakat amount.

The ration packet costing Rs. 1,500 contains rice, dal, oil, dates, garlic and ginger paste.

If you want to touch the future, touch a life. Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

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