Economic Empowerment Project: using Zakat money


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Economic Empowerment Project

Three Projects are proposed to bring about economic empowerment for our community: 

PROJECT-1: Using Zakat money,

PROJECT-2: Using non-zakat money, and

PROJECT-3: Establishing an endowment fund

PROJECT-1: Proposal for using Zakat Money

As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakat) are only for the Fuqara (poor)1, and Al-Masakin2 (the poor) and those employed to collect3 (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam)4; and to free the captives5; and for those in debt6; and for Allahs Cause7 (i.e. for Mujahidoon - those fighting in the holy wars), and for the wayfarer8 (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise. [Quran, Surah # 9, Ayat # 60, translation by Mohsin Khan]

Categories for investing zakat money

1. Fuqara (poor): According to the Arabic usage (fuqara: the needy) are all those people who depend on others for the necessities of life. The Arabic word fuqara'. is a general word for all those who are needy because of some physical defects, or old age, or temporarily, and can become self-supporting if they are helped. e.g. orphans, widows, the unemployed, etc. , etc., 

2. Masakeen (destitute): According to the Arabic usage( masakin) are those indigent people who are in greater distress than the needy people usually are. The Holy Prophet especially enjoined the Muslims to help such people as are unable to find the necessary means to satisfy their wants and are in very straitened circumstances, but are so self-respecting that they would not beg for anything nor would others judge from their outward appearance that they were deserving people. According to a Tradition "Miskin is one who cannot make both ends meet, though his appearance does not show that he needs help nor does he beg for help." In short, he is a self-respecting man who has become needy. 

3. Employees of this system (zakat), 

4. Those whose hearts are inclined towards Islam, 

5. Captives (bonded labour), 

6. People burdened by heavy debt, 

7. Fee-sabilillah (in Alla's Cause), 

8. Wayfarer

Vote: Speak out on Economic Empowerment issue

Letter and Spirit of Zakat (Zakah), by Shakeel Ahmad

The Inner Dimensions of Zakat

Who should get Zakat

The Spirit of Zakat

Book: Riyaz-As-Saleheen (Riyad-us-saliheen) - most popular book of authentic ahadeeth (ahadees)

Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (THE SEALED NECTAR): Biography of Prophet [pbuh], by Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri

Islamic Art of Living: Presentations

Islamic Art of Living (manners from Quran)

Audios from 163 Islamic Scholars

Islamic Articles

Islamic Personality (Series)

A Guide to Islam for non-Muslims 

Mother's Day, Father's Day ... for us it's everyday

Muslims must be MODERATES only

Qur’an and Science: Harmonious Relationship

A Handbook of Umrah and Hajj

Before going through further details of the proposal, I urge the reader to go through Letter and Spirit of Zakat (Zakah), Part-1 and Part-2, and other related articles.

Important Points to note

  1. Do not stop helping the poor in your family, nor the poor and destitute among your neighbours.

  2. Allocate a proportion of your annual zakaat disbursement to this project, however small it may be.

  3. Bihar Anjuman will have a Bait-ul-Maal (collective fund), that will be utilized in a manner prescribed by ulemas.

Project Stage-1: Giving zakat money to Fuqara and Masakeen (categories 1 and 2), i.e. give only as much amount that keeps the recipient's wealth within the prescribed limit of Nasb (nisab). Individual recipients will be made to OWN the amount or the business established (tools purchased for this purpose) out of this amount. Purpose: empower a poor economically instead of just making him/ her meet his/ her basic needs. It will be ensured that minimum amount is spent on category-3 (employees) - this is one area in which we have proved our expertise (almost all the projects are run with ZERO overhead expense)

Project Stage-2: Once the system is well-established and has received the approval of participants, when our own learning curve reaches a desirable confidence level, zakat money will be used in the way of Allah (for "Allah's Cause" of category-7) with its extended meaning explained by Yousuf Al Qardawi, Dr. Israr Ahmad, Syed Abul A'ala Maududi, etc. In the mean time opinion is being sought from ulemas, brothers are being encouraged to go through the process of Jihad-an-nafs and prepare themselves for undertaking this stage.

"Have you seen him who denies Our religion? It is he who harshly repels the orphan and does not urge others to feed the needy. Woe to those who pray but are heedless of their prayers; who put on a show of piety but refuse to give even the smallest help to others." [Surah Al-Maun (Small Kindness), Chapter 107: Verses 1-7]

Implementation Mechanism

1. Proposals will be invited from (a) individual active members* and (b) chapters, for adoption of a village, mohalla, Qasba or city. 

Votes: The proposal submitted here will be able to satisfy 83% of voters.

2. Proposal will be considered only when an undertaking is submitted (along with the proposal) to assume full responsibility of the complete process depicting readiness to accept total accountability.

3. Proposal will be circulated in the yahoogroup for discussion. The decision to approve or reject the proposal will be taken by the moderators, or by a committee of active members formed for this purpose. 

4. The proposal should be supported by a survey of people in adpoted village, mohalla, Qasba or city identifying the deserving candidates and their interest areas, finding out feasible projects for them depending upon their own interest levels, capabilities, available infrastructure and support mechanism.

Vote: Possible Business with Zakat Money

5. The proposal should include details of the monitoring, follow-up and support mechanisms for the project. It should also include list of volunteers (with description of their abilities) proposed to be assigned these tasks and any remunerations to be paid to them for these purposes, etc. 

Vote: Educational Empowerment using Zakat or non-Zakat money

6.  If there are more than one village, mohalla, Qasba or city nominated by people, along with their concrete plans, we will have a discussion on them. After discussions, moderators or a committee appointed by them for the purpose will choose one (or more than one) from those proposals.

O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that, then they are the losers.
And spend (in charity) of that with which We have provided you, before death comes to one of you and he says: "My Lord! If only You would give me respite for a little while (i.e. return to the worldly life), then I should give Sadaqah (i.e. Zakat) of my wealth , and be among the righteous (i.e. perform Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah)).
And Allah grants respite to none when his appointed time (death) comes. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.
[Surah # 63, Al-Munafiqoon, Verses # 9-11]

7. The group will be kept abreast with every stage of project implementation to maintain transparency in operations and to get maximum assistance from members willing and capable to do so. 

8. Local Chapter representatives will have overall responsibility to facilitate monitoring, follow-up developing of support mechanisms. Group members willing to audit the process will be allowed to do so by the local chapter who will provide all the necessary help required. Visiting members will be encouraged to participate in this process as much as they can. Only a spirit of cooperation and collaboration can turn the dream of economic empowerment into a reality.

* Active members are defined as: those from among the members of Bihar Anjuman who have already demonstrated their sincerity by fulfilling responsibilities undertaken by themselves, for BA, or assigned to them by a chapter

Shikwa-e-zulmat-e-shab se to kahin behtar tha;
Apne hissey ki koi shamm'a jalaate jaatey. [Ahmad Faraz]

Better light a candle than curse the darkness