The Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF) has disbursed the sum of N3.5 million in equipment and cash to 38 deserving residents from across Oyo State in furtherance of its promotion of the institution of zakat and alleviation of poverty among members of the ummah and the society at large.
At the ceremony held last weekend in Ibadan, the state capital, the Executive Director of the foundation, Prince Sulayman Olagunju, underscored the need for the beneficiaries to use the equipment and funds given to them to improve their economic status and set themselves on the path of financial freedom.
Olagunju emphasised that eligible Muslims must be alive to the duty of executing the third pillar of Islam by regularly paying their zakat and be partakers in the betterment of the lot of their underprivileged brothers and sisters and earn the pleasure of Allah in the process.
He used the occasion, which was chaired by Dr Koyejo Jolaoso of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Ogun State, to announce the commencement of a social security scheme by the ZSF which, he said, was designed to take care of the welfare of vulnerable senior citizens.
According to Prince Olagunju, the idea of the scheme tagged “Senior Citizens Support Programme” is borne out of need to ameliorate the suffering that aged people, especially pensioners, are passing through.
“One of the criteria adopted in the selection process is that the beneficiary must be somebody who has nobody to support him or her and has no means of supporting himself or herself. The beneficiaries are people who cannot work and do not have people to take care of them,” he said.
The guest lecturer, Dr Mubarak Noibi, decried the general attitude of Muslims to the institution of zakat, saying people had not been doing enough in terms of the Islamic tax.
Dr Noibi, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan, noted what he called the erroneous belief by some Muslims that zakat is the same thing as sadaqat.
According to him, the intricacies of zakat have not sunk into this category of Muslims as they believe that once they give something to somebody, they have given their own zakat.
“So, we need to educate people the more that zakat is different from sadaqat. Even the sadaqat they give, what is the quantum of that sadaqat from their wealth? People need to be reminded of accountability to Almighty Allah. The best you can do is to give to others once you have satisfied yourself.
“People need to be enlightened. People just know that zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam but they don’t know the intricacies of zakat and how important it is for them to pay that zakat,” he said.
Speaking on the topic of the lecture, “The Institution of Waqf in Islam: The Inner Dimension,” the don called on Nigerian Muslims to try and start something along the line of waqf, which he described as Sadaqatu Jariyah, a kind of sadaqat which is perpetual; which continues even after the death of the person that has given it.
“In the first place, we should know that waqf is to seek the full pleasure of Almighty Allah and that would only be accessible, in most cases, in the Hereafter, and then benefit people who are in abject poverty,” he said.
Dr Noibi said one of the ways by which infrastructural decadence and pervasive poverty could be addressed in Nigeria is by investing in waqf.
According to him, the opportunity is not limited to the rich in the society as the average people can also participate with as low as N1,000.
“We can improve the lot of our people by contributing even as low as N1,000 into a waqf foundation where such monies would be invested and reinvested for the benefit of the masses,” he added.