Lecture on ‘zakat’ in Guwahati generates encouraging response

Guwahati: Abdul Wasi, President of Al-Ameen Welfare Society Guwahati, while welcoming the audience to the lecture meeting on the ‘Significance of Zakat and its proper Utilisation’ at Hotel Grand Starline in Guwahati on Sunday explained that ‘Zakat’ is a term used in Islamic scriptures as well as in Islamic economics to refer to the obligation that an individual has to donate a certain proportion of wealth each year to charitable causes.

Zakat is a mandatory process for Muslims in order to physically and spiritually purify their yearly earnings that are over and above what is required to provide the essential needs of a person or family.
Komoruzzaman Ahmed, former President of Al-Ameen, ‘lamented’ that the Muslim society in Assam still have a “half-hearted approach to Zakat, as a result of which the benefits of Zakat are not fully visible in the society.” He stated that one who pays Zakat regularly registers his love for the Creator over his love for wealth. “Zakat also protects one from evils and miseries and gives opportunity to the possessor of wealth to show his gratitude to the Almighty whose blessings bring the wealth to the owner,” he added.

Phakil Ahmed Bora, Secretary General of Al-Ameen Society, explained the aims and objectives of the lecture programme. One objective was to create awareness among all stakeholders, increase their knowledge about the system and the other was to facilitate interaction among the audience for sharing information and for removing misgivings.
The keynote speaker, Prof Atowar Rahman of Physics Department, Gauhati University delivered a comprehensive and thought provoking analysis of the Zakat system starting with the categories of people who could be supported with Zakat money. In this category are people who live in abject poverty, people in heavy debt, travellers who are in need of support, a bonded labourer who is to be freed from the clutches of his master etc.

He cited the examples of many other countries where Zakat funds have been used pragmatically for the benefit and welfare of a large number of people. For instance, he said, the second largest children’s cancer hospital in the world is in Egypt and this was established mostly with the funds received from Zakat contributions. He further informed that an Africa based organisation has estimated that the total volume of annual Zakat funds collected and distributed across the world ranges from $ 200 billion to $ 1 trillion.
Elaborating in simple language, Prof Rahman explained about the rules for paying zakat, the rates thereof, and who needs to pay the Zakat and the best practices of paying Zakat.
During the interactive session, it was pointed out that Nur Nahar Saikia, a student from Dampur HS School in Kamrup District was given scholarship by Al-Ameen Society out of Zakat funds and she was able to excel in both her HSLC and HS exams. There are instances of hundreds of poverty stricken students of the State who were able to complete their professional courses in medicine, engineering, law, and management etc only because oWhile offering the vote of thanks, Masum Ara Rahman, said the work done by voluntary organisations in collecting and distributing Zakat to the needy has been praiseworthy so far but lots more remain to be done. She appealed to the stakeholders to rise to the occasion and strengthen the community ensuring proper utilisation of the Zakat funds.f the support they received through Zakat funds.