LILONGWE – Paying Zakah to educate helpless children was the key motto that encouraged the Muslim community in Malawi to achieve success in its campaign to support education for less privileged Muslim students in the Southern African nation.
“We have managed to bring hope to those who had completely lost it,” Muhammad Osman, National Director for Islamic Zakah Fund (IZF) told OnIslam.net.
“Children whose futures were uncertain have managed to access education up to tertiary level both locally and internationally. The impact has been so huge.
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“Because of the impact of our work on the communities, we have managed to win people’s confidence.”
Recently, the Muslim community in Malawi has intensified its efforts to collect Zakah to offer education advancement of less privileged Muslim students.
Launching the massive campaign, they managed to support an increasing number of under privileged students.
“We have embarked on a massive campaign to collect Zakah following an increasing demand for support towards needy students who are struggling to proceed in their education pursuits due to poor economic statuses of their parents and guardians,” Osman said.
“The educational needs for needy students in Malawi are quite overwhelming. It is for this reason that we are increasing our efforts to collect more Zakah, so that even students from poverty stricken communities should be able to access education so that in the end they should lead a productive life.
“It is our conviction that it is only education that is able to break the cycle of poverty and free those who are held captive,” he added.
To encourage Muslims to pay Zakah, Osman said awareness initiatives have been organized through prayers and other forms of literature and social gatherings.
“We are reminding the faithful in the country that paying Zakah is a religious duty in Islam and it’s obligatory on every Muslim. By paying Zakah, one isn’t doing anybody a favor, but it is a fulfillment of a religious obligation,” the IZF Director said.
“These initiatives have managed to sink into people’s hearts. The response so far has been very electrifying. We have Muslims in Malawi and outside coming forward to support this cause.”
Stories of families who have benefited from Zakah are quite common in the country.
Abida Mussa, a widow whom describes herself as a “great beneficiary” of Zakah, said her two orphaned children have managed to attain university education outside the country through Zakah, a development she describes as a “wonderful gesture”.
“Without Zakah, my children would have ended up on the streets,” Mussa told OnIslam.net.
“When my husband died, his relations grabbed all what we had accumulated over the years, leaving us destitute and in pain. But through Zakah, my children have managed to get good education. We are now able to stand on our feet and be counted in society.
“We now face the future with optimism. I’m very grateful to God for this blessing,” Mussa added.
The IZF Director said through Zakah, the Muslim community in the country was investing massively in the education endeavors of young Muslims who are deprived of opportunities to access education.
The successful campaign also reflects a new spirit of a Muslim community who puts educations at its top priorities.
“Muslims are coming forward, to pay Zakah to educate our children. It’s this spirit which has helped us to reach out to those caught up in abject poverty,” Osman added.
Islamic Zakah Fund was established as a charitable organization in 1991 for the interest of the Muslim community in the country.
Its initial aim was to provide bursaries and scholarships to needy Muslim youths.
“So far, we are on course towards realizing the mission, IZF was set for,” said Osman.
Islam is the second largest religion in the southern African country after Christianity.
Official statistics suggest Muslims constitute 12 percent of the country’s 14 million people, but the umbrella Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) puts the rate at 36.
Zakah, the third pillar of Islam, is obligatory upon every (capable) Muslim.
According to Islamic Shari`ah, a capable Muslim pays 2.5 percent mandatory payment and spend it to help the poor and the needy.
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