‘Zakat’ given by hundreds of faceless Muslims is transforming lives of many, thanks to its centralised distribution

When a pebble is dropped in a pond, it creates a ripple effect far and wide. While some families get timely relief, lives of some change forever.

The ‘zakat’ (poor due) given by hundreds of faceless Muslims is transforming the lives of many thanks to its centralised distribution. Traditionally, it is the ‘madrasas’ which corner the lion’s share of the annual obligatory charity given by the well-heeled Muslims, usually during the month of Ramzan. But of late, many voluntary organisations run by Muslims are also staking claim for the zakat to fund secular education.

Well-known builder, Ghiasuddin Babukhan, takes the credit for pioneering the concept of centralised zakat collection and its usage for education of the less privileged children of the community. The Hyderabad Zakat and Charitable Trust (HZCT) founded by him in 1992 started off with zakat amount of just Rs.11 lakh - mostly the contribution of his family and friends. And today, with public contribution, it has touched the Rs.7 crore mark.

Wonder where all this money goes? For the education of about 40,000 boys and girls whose family income is less than Rs.6,000 per month. Opportunity is what one needs to transform dreams into reality. Jeelani Basha of Madanapally in Chittoor district made the best of the scholarship provided by HZCT and cracked the civil services exam two years ago. Today, he is serving in Chennai as officer of Indian Revenue Service.

Sheema of Anantapur has made it to a multinational company in Bangalore after becoming a Chartered Accountant through the zakat fund. Her father was an auto driver. Similarly, Afzal Biyabani of Karimnagar has landed a professor’s job in Riyadh University. His father used to sell pickles.

Muslim boys and girls who don’t know where their next meal will come from are turning a new leaf all because of the zakat amount is properly channelised.

“If correctly calculated, the zakat of Muslims in Andhra Pradesh, including NRIs, will come to a staggering Rs.1,500 crore. But what is being contributed is just Rs.100 crore”, says Mr. Ghiasuddin.He believes in reaching out to poor Muslims in the districts where none goes. Apart from scholarships, the HZCT is utilising the zakat fund for empowerment of women through skill development, welfare of young widows and education of their kids and marriage of orphan girls. Recently, it has taken up sponsorship of ‘gems’ in corporate colleges.

Now, Mr. Ghiasuddin is in the process of setting up Hyderabad Institute of Excellence to meet the challenges in the field of education.

Wonder what your tiny zakat can do? It can do wonders.

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