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Paying Zakat to the Poorest Families in Northern Nigeria
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Nigeria is a country where almost 80% of the population earn less than $2 a day and over 40% of children do not have access to primary education. In the rural communities of Northern Nigeria, roughly 60 million people live in extreme poverty and there is difficulty to attain even the basic of necessities.
Zakat is the third of the five pillars of Islam. It is an obligation on all Muslims who meet the requirements. Zakat was legislated in 2 AH, approximately 18 months after the arrival of the Prophet ﷺ to Madinah.
The word Zakat occurs in the Quran thirty times. In twenty-seven of them it is associated with prayers in the same verse. In one place it is mentioned with prayers in the same sequence of verses, this is, “those who humble themselves in their prayers” and “who are active indeed in zakat.” This shows that zakat is second only to Salah in terms of importance for a Muslim.
A question that is often asked, “I give a lot of charity throughout the year, then why do I still have to pay zakat?” Zakat is a pillar of Islam and it is an obligation on every Muslim that meets its requirements. This obligation cannot be offset by the normal charity. A person is rewarded for his generosity, but this obligation needs to be carried out irrespective of the amount of charity that is given provided certain conditions are met.
Remember, we cannot delay paying zakat as it is the right or trust of the poor that we have in our custody. This is actually how we should look at zakat. It is the money of the poor that Allah is channelling through us. It wasn’t ours such that we dictate how it is to be used etc. Add to that, another angle that we can look at is that our 2.5% is someone’s 100%.
Allah tells us, “In their wealth and properties is the right of the poor, the beggar and he who is in deprivation.” [Surah al-Dhariyat, 19]
Keeping this importance in mind, An-Nadaa Educational Foundation is working on the ground directly to make sure that your zakat reaches verified individuals in the form of cash. An-Nadaa operates under the guidance of Sheikh Ibrahim Nuhu (Madinah) and are very strict when it comes to the distribution of zakat funds.
The beneficiaries include:
– Sick who cannot afford hospitals or any form of medical aid.
– Widows and orphans
– Families in extreme poverty
– Duat that are sent to neighbouring villages to teach the people. These duat are also from poor families
Each beneficiary is carefully vetted and verified by the team on the ground that is connected to the local community. In addition, the team uses the help of local imams and schools to identify and confirm families are in need and are to be included as part of the food distribution drive. This strict verification procedure makes sure that your zakat reaches those who really need it and are eligible to receive it.
Sheikh Ibrahim Nuhu said, “The recipe for success is to look forward to paying our Zakah and to be in the first rows of the Masjid just like we look forward to breaking our fasts on a hot day.”
An-Nadaa Educational Foundation is an Islamic non-profit organization which is one of the first government certified Muslim organization on the ground. Their focus is on launching and managing educational, da’wah and welfare projects across underprivileged communities in Nigeria.