Where to spend your ‘zakat’ (charity)


It is a month of ‘ramzam’, where our good deeds are multiplied manifold for its rewards, so consequently, majority of muslims give their ‘zakat'(alms) in this month. I see a plethora of ads, billboards, pamphlets where they are requesting for zakat money. No doubt, pakistanis are most philanthropists, but everyone seems to be jumping to cash on it.

We should remember, that zakat should be given in the form of money, so that the receiver has the complete authority to spend it the way he/she likes, ie to fulfil any of his/her most important need. Or in other words, you cannot buy food, or goods with zakat money and give to these poor people. The idea being, Zakat is poor person’s right, not something you give to oblige him/her, it’s their right. Unlike zakat, you are free to give other charities, and how much you want to give and in what form you want to give, eg charities like ‘sadqua’, ‘khairaat’, etc.

But ‘zakat’ is obligatory. Let me brief you about its basic rulings for Zakat. I have included only common points, while skipping others. Obviously I could not cover this topic comprehensively in one blog post, so don’t take this as comprehensive guide to cover every scenario. However, I will share link at the bottom, should you need to read further.

zakat, 2.5%, gift, charity, alms

Linguistically, ZAKAT has two meanings: purification and growth. Technically, it means to purify ones possession of wealth by distributing a prescribed amount to the poor, the indigent, the slaves or captives, and the wayfarer.

Who has to give:

It is obligatory for an adult who has saved more than *87 grams (7.5 tola) of gold or it’s equivalent cash or assets (that grows in value), continuously over a period of a year.

* 87 grams of Gold is ‘Nisab’.

Who can receive it:

I have listed only 5 common persons, we usually give zakat to:

  • Fuqaraa: Those who own property in excess of basic necessities but below the value of Nisab.
  • Masakeen: Persons of extreme poverty who possess no wealth whatsoever.
  • Aamileen: (Zakat collector) Those persons who are appointed by an Islamic Head of State or Government to collect Zakat. It is not necessary that this be a needy person.
  • Muallafatul Quloob: Those poor and needy persons who are given Zakat with the intentions of solidifying their hearts because they maybe recently converted to Islam or to bring them closer to Islam.
  • Al Ghaarimeen: A person whose debts exceeds his assets and his net assets (after deducting his liabilities) is below the Nisab limit. To determine whether a person qualifies, his basic necessities of life (house, furniture, clothes, vehicle, etc.) will not be taken into account. It is conditional that the debts were not created for any un-Islamic or sinful purpose.

Benefits of Zakat: 

  • It reminds Muslims of the fact that whatever wealth they may possess is due to the blessings of Allah and as such it is to be spent according to the His commands.
  • Zakat functions as a social security for all. Those who have enough money today pay for what they have. If they need money tomorrow they will get what is necessary to help them live decently.
  • Zakat payer pays his dues to Allah as an act of worship, a token of submission and an acknowledgment of gratitude. The receiver of Zakat receives it as a grant from Allah out of His bounty, a favor for which he is thankful to Allah.
  • Economically, Zakat is the best check against hoarding. Those who do not invest their wealth but prefer to save or hoard it would see their wealth dwindling year after year at the rate of the payable Zakat. This helps increase production and stimulates supply because it is a redistribution of income that enhances the demand by putting more real purchasing power in the hands of poor.

Allah says in the Quran: “The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn. It grows seven ears and each ear has hundred grains. Allah increases manifold to whom He pleases.” (Quran 2:261)

charity, alms, zakat

Other questions:

Who cannot be given Zakat?

What kinds of things require paying Zakat on them?

Other assets exempt from Zakat

Zakat calculator 

Further reading (& sources):

http://www.hidaya.org/publications/zakat-information/

http://zakatpages.com/faqs/

http://www.islamawareness.net/Zakat/whatzakat.html

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Oxford Union Debate “Islam Is A Peaceful Religion”


Founded in 1823 and described as ‘the last bastion of free speech’, the Oxford Union is the most famous debating society in the world. On the 23rd May 2013, the Oxford Union held a debate entitled ‘The House Believes Islam is a Religion of Peace’ between three speakers arguing for the motion, and three speakers arguing against the motion, which is now published on YouTube. Don’t forget to listen to Mehdi Hasan, the reason this debate became so popular.

MOTION: “This House Believes that Islam is a Religion of Peace.”

1. MATTHEW HANDLEY, Student from St Hugh’s College, Oxford (for motion):

2. ANNE-MARIE WATERS –  A prominent journalist and campaigner, and is a member of the Labour Party (against motion):

3. ADAM DEEN – Muslim Speaker and Debater (for motion):

4. DANIEL JOHNSTON – journalist and editor of magazine Standpoint (against motion):

5. MEHDI HASAN –  Britain’s most prominent Muslim journalist. Political editor of the Huffington Post (for motion):

(most popular in this debate):

6. PETER ATKINS is former Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and now a fellow of Lincoln College (against motion):

The debate ended with a victory for the motion, and a defeat for the Islamophobic side. 

It is said that, “When truth is hurled against falsehood, falsehood perishes, for falsehood by its nature is bound to   perish” – Quran.  Suppression or ignoring the truth, would only lead to more converts in UK and Europe, as you see now-a-days. Nobody believes in what the mainstream media presents, if it is not based on truth or lacks any logical sense.

I have started to notice that it is not much of a debater’s skills, but rather Islam itself is fairly easy to defend, when you know the facts and figures. If you are interested to have factual information about Islam, from unbiased sources, below are ones I would recommend on this topic. Or you can visit http://www.irf.net and read about Dr. Zakir Naik or listen to his videos on YouTube etc.:

1. en_Islam_and_Terrorism

2. http://www.thecommentator.com/ckeditor_assets/attachments/333/en_common_questions.pdf

3. FAQ about Islam:

http://www.irf.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=255&Itemid=199

Women exploitation in a Islamic republic


Why is the majority of women from rural side of Pakistan  (a major portion), migrate to the urban cities to earn their living and to sustain their family and their male counterparts (husbands), who mostly sit idle at home ? The concept of ‘maasi’ (literal meaning – maternal aunt, but actually referred to as domestic servant), is pretty common in all cities of Pakistan, where women are exploited as cheap labor (in the informal domestic labor industry), ignoring ethical, civil and islamic rights of women and working-women. Many of such girls are minor as well, who should not be doing such physical labor in the first place and is unlawful, by civil or islamic standards.

Rural to urban migration is an established phenomenon, and growing number of women are joining in the flow of labour to the cities. Although, it is a major issue around the world, but more so in developing countries, where women lack awareness about their rights and there’s acute poverty in the country. According to the HDI, 60.3% of Pakistan’s population lives on under $2 a day, which is like 100 million people. There are so many such evils cropping up in the society, because of poverty and division between haves and have-nots. Karachi had the most migrant women workers (40%) among those surveyed. (Siddiqui et al 2006a: 47). According to the available data, there are 20 million home-based workers in the country of which 12 million are women. There are no laws for home-based workers in Pakistan.

When Islam obligates men to be the breadwinner and women to take care of family and house affairs, staying indoors, and each doing work according to their respective natural capacities, it’s simply lack of education, which cause the society to act exactly opposite, to both nature and Islam.

Even if women earns, they’re not obliged to spend a single penny on the family, if she chooses not to, other than on herself.  Islam upholds several times higher respect to women, in comparison to man.

Which religion are these people following ? Is that the religion of ignorance !

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was once asked who amongst all the people was the most worthy of his respect and compassion . He replied “your mother”; the man wanted to know who should be next, he said “your mother”. The man enquired, who next?, he replied for the third time “your mother”, again the man asked who next? He replied “your father”.

Dr. Zakir Naik says on the topic “Women in Islam“: iii. If a woman earns any income from investments or works or engages in business during her marital life, the income is entirely hers and she is not entitled to spend a single penny on the household. She can spend it in any legitimate manner as she may desire.”

Poverty and lack of awareness (education) are the main causes that compel women to go out of their homes and look for jobs like domestic servants (house maids). Though, they’re being exploited back in the rural areas as well, where many work under the feudal lords, in return for no money, but just a land to live in. Of course there are various other factors for women migrating to cities and stories how they’re eventually treated in the cities, but I’ll keep this post to one point, that is their exploitation, as house maids (‘maasis’) in the cities.

Sources & Further Readings:

http://www.islamawareness.net/Women/naik_women.html

http://www.researchcollective.org/Documents/Women_Paid_Work.pdf

http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=articles&id=168457

http://www.kantakji.com/fiqh/files/mawareeth/4015.pdf

http://www.paycheck.pk/main/labour-laws/maternity-work/home-based-workers-in-pakistan

Pakistan and the muslim world


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xg30tHYxdAk/Tyi1fpRnzVI/AAAAAAAAACk/JmIqsetKINc/s640/map+(muslim)+with+title.jpg

Synopsis:

Here I would like to share some facts that you don’t hear ordinarily in the MSM (mainstream media), neither locally in Pakistan or internationally. Most of the time the negative information is overexposed, which cause resentment, hate, despair in the Pakistani society, eventually leading to the phenomena of ‘Brain-drain’ – mass exit of people with intellectual capability, who can handle the challenges facing Pakistan. So, my idea here is to highlight some of the positive facts, and appreciate our recent glorious past and the belief that we can do it again, where we started off being within top 10th position of the world in various spheres of life.

Intro:

The name Pakistan literally means “Land of the Pure” in Urdu and Persian. Pakistan is the second most populous Muslim-majority country. A regional and middle power, Pakistan has the seventh largest standing armed forces in the world and is also a nuclear power as well as a declared nuclear weapons state, being the only nation in the Muslim world.

Pakistan and Support for Muslim Ummah – History:

Besides economic and defense consideration, there is another fundamental principle which had influenced Pakistan largely in the determination of its foreign policy, that is its Muslim ideology. The very foundation of Pakistan is based upon Islamic Ideology. The contemporary role of Islam is consistent with the role it played in the struggle of mankind against tyranny. Even before the creation of Pakistan, MA Jinnah (known as father of Nation in Pakistan), lead All India Muslim League, and was strong proponent of supporting Muslim causes around the world, eg the support of Palestinian,  against the occupation and protesting British government for the Belfaur Declaration. Between 1933 and 1946 the Muslim League passed eighteen resolutions in support of the Muslims of Palestine. Right after the creation, Pakistan developed strong relations with Muslim world, specifically Iran & Turkey, while supporting countries like Morocco,  Libya, Tunisia and Algeria in support of their freedom against the tyrant governments and rogue nations. All the three constitutions of Pakistan stressed on the good relations with the Muslim world. Article 24 of the 1956 Constitution provided that the State should endeavor to strengthen the bond of unity among Muslim countries. Article 21 of the 1962 Constitution provided that the bonds of unity among Muslim countries should be ensured. In the 1973 constitution, Article 40 inter-alia lays down a principle of policy that the state shall endeavor to preserve and strengthen fraternal relations among Muslim countries based on Islamic unity.

In February 1949, a World Muslim Congress was held in Karachi, which decided to revive the Motamar Al Alam Al Islamic, which had been set up in Makkah in 1926. Pakistani Industrialists and businessmen, with the support and patronage of the government, convened an international Islamic economic conference in Karachi from November 26, 1949 to December 10, 1949. Even during the days of the struggle against the Hindus and the British, the Muslims of South Asia did not forget their Muslim brothers living in other parts of the world. The Khilafat movement launched by the Muslims of the South Asia after the defeat of Turkey in the 1st World War is its good example. The demands of the Khilafat movement were, the restoration of the Ottoman empire and the institution of Khilafat along with the protection of the Holy places of the Muslims. Muhammad Ali Jinnah gave open support to North African Arabs in their struggle to throw off the French yoke. He considered the Dutch attack upon Indonesia as an attack on Pakistan itself and refused transit facilities to Dutch ships and place, carrying war materials to Indonesia. He played an important role in the struggle of Muslim countries. He, therefore, provided all possible diplomatic and material assistance to the liberation movement in Indonesia, Malaya, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria and Algeria.

Distinctive Facts About Pakistan:

Let’s look at some of the important fact about Pakistan:

  • In terms of population, Pakistan is 6th largest in the world and 2nd largest in Muslim countries. 
  • It has a semi-industrialised economy which is the 27th largest in the world in terms of purchasing power and 47th largest in terms of nominal GDPPakistan has got
  • Asia’s second largest library called ‘BAIT UL HIKMA‘.
  • In February 2007, the World Bank identified Karachi as the most business-friendly city in Pakistan.
  • Pakistan has the 7th largest standing army in the world, 7th largest Air Force in the world and the largest air force in the Islamic world with 400 combat and over 200 trainers
  • Air Commodore MM ALAM has a world record of shooting down 5 Indian planes in less than a Minute
  • World toppers in O/A levels exams almost every year and topper girls in mathematics, biology in Cambridge exams. Ali Moeen Nawazish secured 22 As in A-levels exams. Moosa Firoz recently won the World Mathematics Championship.
  • World champions in Squash for over a decade (Jahanghir Khan & Jansher Khan)
  • Snooker champion (Muhammad Younus) – two times world and two times asian champion
  • Edhi – world largest ambulance service (single-handedly developed from scratch, completely on charity money)
  • Agha Hasan Abedi – a legendary banker and philanthropist, who established BCCI, largest banking network at that time with $20 billion in assets, then brought FAST & GIK, two of the top engineering universities in Pakistan today and other institutions who benefited from him includes, SSUET, SIUT, NICVD, etc.
  • Pakistan had nuclear scientists like Dr. AQ Khan,
  • Space scientist like Dr. Samar Mubaramand
  • Chemical scientist like Dr. Ata ur Rehman, who has over 900 international publications including 116 books and 25 international patents, he has the distinction of being the only scientist to be elected Fellow of Royal Society (London) in 2006 in recognition of research contributions carried out within a country in the Islamic world. He is also the only scientist from the Muslim world to have been awarded the UNESCO Science Prize (1999). Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman was the Coordinator General of COMSTECH, an OIC Ministerial Committee comprising the 57 Ministers of Science & Technology from 57 OIC member countries during 1996-2012.  
  • Dr. Adeeb Rizvi (world renowned Kidney specialist and philanthropist)
  • Ansar Burney (established large charity organization)
  • Hanif Muhammad (cricket legend) 
  • and the list is never ending, in every possible field, and countries, you’ll find Pakistanis making a difference in this world.

IQ and Intellectuals of Pakistanis:

There are 7 million Pakistanis living abroad, making history, without getting sufficient recognition. They’re doing wonders in NASA, Oracle, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Xerox, to name a few. Pakistan is the fourth highest source of International Medical Graduates doctors in the US. Pakistan is also the fourth highest source of foreign dentists licensed in the US. According to the 2000 census the mean household income in the United States in 2002 was $57,852 annually, whereas for Asian households, which includes Pakistanis this was $70,047.  Pew Research Center found that 29.5% of Pakistanis completed four years of college, 22.5% completed a Master’s in a professional degree while 1.6% acquired a doctorate degree, this compared with the American national average of 17.6%, 20% and 1.1% respectively. That just tells about the high level of IQ of Pakistanis. Pakistan produces about 445,000 university graduates and 10,000 computer science graduates per year.

Philanthropic Nation:

The Pakistani American community is said to be philanthropic, research shows that in the year 2002 the community gave close to US$ 1 Billion in philanthropic activities. This is not just true about Pakistani Americans  but according to a 2009 corporate report of Pakistan Center for Philanthropy (PCP), Pakistan in general is considered the most philanthropic nation in the world.

Some More facts: 

  • Pakistani theoretical physicist Abdus Salam won a Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the electroweak interaction.
  • In medicine, Salimuzzaman Siddiqui (nominated for Nobel Price twice) was the first Pakistani scientist to bring the therapeutic constituents of the Neem tree to the attention of natural products chemists.
  • Pakistani neurosurgeon Ayub Ommaya invented the Ommaya reservoir, a system for treatment of brain tumours and other brain conditions.
  • Arfa Karim had earned title of the youngest Microsoft Certified Expert;
  • Pakistan has an active space program led by its space research agency, SUPARCO. Polish-Pakistani aerospace engineer W. J. M. Turowicz developed and supervised the launch of the Rehbar-I rocket from Pakistani soil, making Pakistan the first South Asian country to launch a rocket into space. 
  •  In 1961, Pakistan became third Asian country and tenth in the world, to launch the Rehbar-I — a solid fuel expandable rocket.
  • In 1990, Suparco launched her first and locally designed communication satellite, Badr-I, from Xichang Satellite Launch Center of the Peoples Republic of China. With launch of this satellite, Pakistan became first Muslim majority country to have been succeeded to developed artificial robotic satellite, and was the second South Asian state to have launched its satellite.
  • In 1998, Pakistan became the seventh country in the world to successfully develop its own nuclear weapons.
  • Later Pakistan produced Fighter Jets (JF17 – Thunder), submarines, tanks (Al-Khalid), pilot-less aircrafts (Uqaab), etc. completely using all Pakistani indigenous resources.
  • Pakistan has the 15th largest population of internet users in the world.
  • The 1960s and the 1970s period is regarded as the rise of Pakistan’s science, which gained an international reputation in the different science communities of the world.[11] During this period, scientists contributed to the fields of, particularly, TheoreticalParticleMathematical, and the Nuclear physics, and other major and sub fields of Physics.[11] The research was preceded by such key physicists as RiazuddinIshfaq AhmadPervez Hoodbhoy and Samar Mubarakmand, among others.

Defence Contributions to the Muslim World:

Pakistan’s Army Service Corps School has trained up to 30 officers from Muslim countries like Bangladesh, Bosnia, Maldives, Palestine, Turkey. Pakistan Army Military College of Signals has trained more than 500 officers. from places such as Burma, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Gambia, Ghana, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Palestine, Sudan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Turkmenistan, Uganda, UAE and Zambia, most of these countries are member of OIC. Pakistan is thought to have developed its atomic bomb program with millions of dollars of contributory aid from (mostly) Saudi Arabia and Libyan oil wealth. So, Pakistan and muslim countries go hand-in-hand, helping each other for the universal brotherhood.

More than 1900 officers from Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Palestine, Turkmenistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ghana, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya and Oman have been trained in Pakistan Naval Academy. Pakistan SSGN has also trained officers from countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and Iran. During the Six-Day War in 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in October 1973, Pakistan Air Force pilots volunteered to go to the Middle East to support Egypt and Syria, which were in a state of war with Israel; they shot down ten Israeli planes in the Six-Day War, including Mirages, Mystères and Vautours, without losses on their own side. In 1979, at the request of the Saudi government, commandos of the Pakistani Special Service Group were rushed to assist Saudi forces in Mecca to lead the operation of the Grand Mosque Seizure. In 1991 Pakistan got involved with the Gulf War and sent 5,000 troops as part of a US-led coalition, specifically for the defence of Saudi Arabia. Since 1960, Pakistan has been actively involved in most of the UN Peacekeeping missions and today stands at the top with 10,175 troops and observers serving in current missions. Some of the major contributions were in Somalia, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Congo and Liberia.

Contributions in Global Politics:

In 2009, Prince Muqrin Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud,  Intelligence Chief of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, shared King Abdullah’s message of ‘unity’ from high-profile emissary. Addressing Pakistani leaders, Muqrin said that the Saudi leadership considers Pakistan as both the vanguard and backbone of the Islamic world. “Not only Saudi Arabia but also the entire Muslim world looks forward to Pakistan’s military strength and political stability, for the leading role it ought to play,” he maintained. At one point, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri told reporters on 14 February 2007 that the secretary general of OIC and foreign ministers of seven “like-minded Muslim countries” would meet in Islamabad on 25 February 2007 following meetings of President Musharraf with heads of key Muslim countries to discuss “a new initiative” for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kasuri said this would be a meeting of foreign ministers of key Muslim countries to discuss and prepare for a summit in Makkah Al Mukarramah to seek the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Conclusion:

We started off with best airline of Asia (PIA), 7th largest bank in the world (BCCI), with $20billion assets and branches in 78 countries, had nuclear program, missile program, space program, etc. The new spirit of Islam is finding its natural expression through its association with the most urgent need for the establishment of a new world order based on equality, justice and fraternity. These are essential ingredients of Islam. A unity based on enlightenment; reform and reconstruction acting as an impetus to international co-operation. A unity which will act in collaboration and as partisans in the common struggle against domination, and indeed as a spearhead of progressive and revolutionary forces.

Shrewd anti-Muslim forces knew all these facts very well, and when they try to destabilize Pakistan, that is a sufficient enough reason to believe, Pakistan is a significant force in the Muslim world and naturally the Muslim world see it as well. It’s our deteriorating Muslim brotherhood and unity, which they exploit. Agreed Pakistan’s current population is ignorant (majority is), specially having half-knowledgeable about Islam, thus the bad perception of Pakistan in the outside world and the reason for the problems that we see today in Pakistan. Due to present situation in Pakistan today, around 3,000 Pakistani doctors every year emigrate to Western economies in search of suitable employment opportunities and hence contribute intellectually to the health sector of developed countries and at the same time leaving the effects of a brain drain in Pakistan. But we are a very high IQ nation. Imagine, if we overcome unrest and ignorance problems, there’s nothing stopping us. Like I always conclude, our fundamental problem is lack of education – both worldly and Islamic. If we uproot feudalism in Pakistan, and improve literacy rate, we can be a significant force, in the muslim world again.

Our growing youth population (60 million, ie 35% aged 15-25 years) with a literacy rate of 94% is already on the right course, as they understand the importance of education and THEY are the ones, who are going to bring change to the status-quo in Pakistan and bring unity, peace and prosperity to Pakistan and the Muslim world. And Pakistan is not behind in on-line social media revolution either, with whooping 20 million+ online users and 8 million on Facebook, 80 million cell phone users, all well poised to excel in the digital age, despite all odds.

Check the work of a Pakistani, who compiled list of successful (but not appropriately recognized):

http://www.slideshare.net/tariqsarwqarawan/world-famous-pakistani

Sources & Further readings: