We spend over N180m annually to assist the less privileged — Imam Shuaib
Imam Abdullahi Shuaib is the Executive Director, Zakat & Sadaqat Foundation, an Islamic organisation providing charity services to the less privileged to cushion the effect of poverty. He spoke to Vanguard on how zakat is helping to alleviate poverty in the society.
Basically, our major area of activity is solving the financial needs of the less privileged. We also give them capacity building and trainings and when they successfully come out of trainings, we always empower them with a token to equip their businesses and consolidate on what they have started.
We have actually supported so many people in this area by buying the equipment and providing some with working capital. Those who engage in petty trading, we give them deep freezers and generating sets and some with sets of computers and some with increased capacity building.
We also provide some form of assistance to those who are into agriculture either through capital to kick-start or to expand their businesses. We also provide free services to some people to cushion the effect of poverty.
In fulfillment of the obligation of Allah to acquire knowledge, we are seriously concerned about the education of Muslim students. We pay for their school fees, educational materials and give research grants to both local and international students among others.
What time of the year do you usually carry out these services?
We do this on a yearly basis, although it a all-round-the year activity but the peak of this activity is usually in January when we conclude our financial year.
How do you raise money and material for these people?
We have donors and sympathisers that we can’t even identify. They prefer to be anonymous. Some people just call and ask for our account number and pay money into the account since they are satisfied with what we doing. Also, we write letters to individuals, Islamic groups and organisations and we do get positive response from them. These are the two ways in which we get funds and material but essentially, most of them we don’t know.
How do you identify the beneficiaries of this programme?
We have an avalanche of programmes being aired on television and so, people take down our telephone numbers and pull a call to us, write to us asking for one favour or the other. Again, some of our donors sometimes recommend some people to us and we go after them. They will ask, how do we get to know about them but our response is usually that ‘we want to support you’.
How many people have you empowered during your last financial year?
We have empowered over 2000 people and over N180million have been expended on the needs of the less privileged. This year’s activity is still on-going because right now people still give their sadaqah (charity). Before the end of this interview, we will receive alert and it goes on like that until Ramadan is over. That is to tell you how people give to help others.
Are there other Islamic groups that are involved in this programme for the poor?
Yes, there are other Islamic groups that are doing something similar to what we are doing. We are aware of that. This is in fulfillment of an injunction in Qur’an; Chapters 9:103, 60.