A call has been made for the provision of a legal framework for the collection of Zakat, a form of almsgiving ordered in the Quran to be collected by Muslim Ummah.
Zakat by Quranic ranking is next after prayer in importance in the list of the five pillars of Islam.
Speaking at a workshop in Abuja on “Maximising the Power of Zakat to Support Families Forced to Flee in Nigeria,” which was organised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Chairman of Association of Zakat and Wagf Operators in Nigeria (AZAWON), Mr. Muhammad Maidoki, observed that just like Sukuk that has redefined the story of infrastructure development in Nigeria, the Zakat has the potential to reposition the country’s economy.
Maidoki said the nation is in perilous times economically and need all strategies to get on, noting that with a legal framework for Zakat, billions of Naira could be collected annually that would be used to provide for developmental needs of the nation.
He added that the collection could be used to put welfare in place for the very poor in the society, including orphans, widows, widowers and aged.
He lamented that almsgiving has remained discretional because there is no legal framework put in place for the collection of Zakat presently in the country while many rich Muslims that should have paid alm evade it by leaving meagre sum that is not enough to make appreciable impact on the country.
Maidoki, who spoke to journalists at the workshop that brought over 40 members of AZAWON across Nigeria, said: “With the legal framework, the rich Muslims would be compel to pay and this in turn would bring many Nigerians out of poverty.”
He noted that the legal framework should be instituted at both the federal and state levels, insisting that there should also be a centralised framework for Zakat collection and distribution.
In her welcome address, the UNHCR Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Chansa Kapaya, said the meeting presented an opportunity to create more room for financing projects for the vulnerable among us.
Kapaya said: “Today’s program is organised in partnership with the Association of Zakat and Waqf Operators in Nigeria. We are incredibly pleased to be forging such strong relationships with the association and Zakat Houses. Together, it enables us the opportunity to explore how we can channel the power of Zakat to support those most vulnerable amongst us.
“I would like to take this opportunity to talk about the Zakat Fund’s beneficiaries in Nigeria – the internally displaced men, women, and children who have been forced to flee their homes because of violence and conflict.
“There are an unprecedented 3.2 million internally displaced persons or IDPs in Nigeria. And 3.2 million is an immense number. To put it in perspective, this number of people is almost equivalent to the metro area population of Abuja of 3.5 million people. It is a whole populated city of community members, businesspeople, entrepreneurs, parents, school children, teenagers, forcibly displaced, by no choice of their own, living without a home.”
“Faith serves as a significant driver for so many of us. Faith guides our actions and values, including the core value to treat each other with kindness.
“I have seen the kindness of the Muslim community in Nigeria. I have observed this kindness and warmth in meetings with the Muslim community, business leaders, and Islamic organisations. And I have witnessed the incredible dedication to building communities and helping alleviate hardship.
“Today, this special workshop honours the intersectional space of humanitarian relief and faith-based organisations. It serves as the platform to actualize what we already know. By working together and identifying ways to maximize our efforts, we can help uplift vulnerable communities that we seek to support.”
( ThisDay )