Monday, 24 October 2005

Hyderabad's contribution for Zakat

October 2005
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 24: Hyderabadis contribute the largest Zakat fund during Ramzan in the country with the charity totalling to a whopping Rs 100 crore.
About 60 per cent of the Zakat funds come from the one million and odd Hyderabadis residing abroad. Since Zakat is mandatory on well-to-do Muslims at the rate of 2.5 per cent of their total savings minus liabilities, the NRI Hyderabadis pump in the funds into the city during Ramzan, the holiest month of the Islamic calendar. Hyderabadis in the USA, the UK, Dubai and Saudi Arabia give the highest contribution to the fund.
Hundreds of Zakat organisations collect the funds during the month and spend them mostly on distribution of clothes and utensils among the poor. Only a dozen bodies take up activities like payment of scholarships, widow pensions and construction of houses. As much as 95 per cent of the Rs 100 crore Zakat fund goes on unproductive and temporary works defeating the very purpose of the annual charity.
"It is wonderful that people in a single city donate Rs 100 crore in just one month. But in the absence of a centralised body to channelise the funds, the charity goes mostly in the form of alms-giving to the poor and the needy. If the funds are utilised for constructive purposes like setting up of industries, self-employment schemes and on educational institutions, the poverty percentage in the principal minority community could easily be reduced," feels Moulana Abdul Kareem. There is no systematic or organised system of collecting the funds for the common good of the poor in the minority community.
The Zakat fund in the city has been going up at the rate of five per cent every year thanks to increase in the wealth of NRI Hyderabadis. There are certain families in the city which singly contribute about Rs 2 crore each towards the Zakat fund. Hyderabad has 25 lakh Muslims constituting 35 per cent of the city's population. The city has the second largest Muslim concentration in the country after Kolkata but its Zakat contribution is more than that of the latter.
With the city pumping in so much money towards charity it is no wonder then about 5000 people from different parts of the State visit Hyderabad every day to collect Zakat. Some of those who collect Zakat from the city distribute them among the poor in districts, particularly in the backward Telangana.
About 5000 madrasas in Hyderabad and Telangana districts survive for the whole year on the Zakat funds they receive during Ramzan."Centralised system of collection of Zakat is a good idea but it is impracticable in our country," feels Abdur Raheem Qureshi, general secretary of All-India Muslim Personal Law Board. Some persons give Zakat among close relatives while others give to charitable organisations. It is quite a difficult task to implement common zakat system.

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