“Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for bringing hearts together and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the [stranded] traveller – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” (Quran 9:60)
Giving charity in the form of Sadaqah and Zakat is an obligation upon able Muslims. However, it is also important for a believer to ensure that the charity actually goes to the intended user and the fund so collected is not used for divisive and destructive purposes. A recent finding by EU Disnfo lab revealed that a charitable organisation named ‘Muslim Aid’ has a trustee & chairman belonging to the terrorist organisation ‘Al Badr’ which was responsible for killing thousands of Bengali intellectuals during Bangladesh liberation war. For those who don’t know, EU Disnfo lab is a young independent NGO focused on researching and tackling sophisticated disinformation campaigns targeting the EU, its member states, core institutions and core values. Muslims who donate religiously as commanded by religion must enquire about the end user before donation as the funds may end up in the hands of organisation like Al Badr.
Another aspect of charity as commanded by Islam is the fact that charity is intended for needy people as mentioned in the above verse which may include the poor, the destitute, those people who collect money for propagation of education and for promoting unity and harmony in the society and the nation. Those people under debt and unable to pay, those persons who have been working for welfare and prosperity of the country and the stranded traveller may be counted as beneficiary of charity.
“Allah has made it obligatory for them to pay the Zakat from their property and it is to be taken from the wealthy among them and given to the poor.” (Bukhari 1395)
Organisations like ‘Muslim Aid’ collected thousands of dollars in the name of helping India through its USA, UK and Australia branches. What’s conspicuous is the absence of accountability regarding distribution of charity to the targeted section. The situation further become grim when composition as well as incentives and perks of the board members of Muslim Aid organisation is taken into consideration. While most of the board members remained unchanged, those who left the organisation were granted hefty sum as severance package and those who remained with the organisation were rewarded heavily. All this happened despite the fact that in the last couple of years, the organisation remained inactive intermittently and propped up its head intermittently. The logical conclusion can be drawn that the board members as well as the trustees of the organisation kept feeding off the charity money which they collected in the name of poor.
Materialism has become a visible aspect of today’s life. The charity business has not remained untouched. While the targeted beneficiaries of charity continue to remain poor, homeless and uneducated, the charity collectors are growing reach with every passing day. Those turning blind eye to this aspect are doing more harm to the society than any good. The situation becomes scary when the charitable amount is diverted to fund terror activities which starts threatening the unity and integrity of the nation. The onus lies on the donors to rectify their mistake and stop the gross mis-utilisation of a noble cause like charity.