This Ramzan, in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, a system of collecting and distributing zakaat called bait-ul-maal is proving effective in helping those hit by the lockdown.
While zakaat (mandatory charity) system is followed by all the faithful Muslims, bait-ul-maal is a centralised system of pooling zakaat money from the well-off Muslims and giving it to those who need the most.
Though we have been helping poor people every year with our bait-ul-maal, this year, more people will need financial assistance as countless daily wagers have reached penury because of the lockdown, said Kaisar Inamdar who runs bait-ul-maal. This year, the amount collected is lesser than the average because many people have suffered financial losses during the lockdown, while those in need of money are many.
Mr. Inamdar said, Normally during Ramzan we used to receive around 50 applications, but this year the number of applications is about 150 because of the lockdown and the loss of livelihoods, On the other hand, their total collection has reduced for the same reason. They hope to bridge the gap by asking for additional donations by those who can afford it.
Ration and cash
Al-Aqsa, one of the masjids in the city that has been running a bait-ul-maal for over a decade, has been offering ration and cash to poor people during the lockdown. Bait-ul-maal now has a bigger responsibility to help such people, said Abdul Gafoor, who is one of the functionaries.
Two educational institutions Anjuman Degree College and SECAB Institute have also set up their own bait-ul-maal.
We receive zakaat of around 2.5 lakh which we use to offer free tailoring training and sewing machines to around 30 women of poor families, said Mohammed Afzal of SECAB.
Anjuman College uses bait-ul-maal in a different way. We receive zakaat of around 90,000 a year. We use this money to pay the college fee of poor students. Every year we bear the fee expenses of around 30 students to ease their financial burden, said Sayed Istiyak Hamid, a lecturer of the college. The demand is higher this year.