By Suleiman Shehu
The Elders Consultative Forum for Sharia in Nigeria, Oyo State branch, on Sunday, distributed more than N2 million Zakat (obligatory charity in Islam) to 122 indigent persons in Ibadan.
Zakat is one of the five obligatory pillars of Islam and it is an annual deduction from every wealthy Muslims’ income, assets, savings or farm produce.
The Chairman of the forum, Alhaji Lasun Sanusi, said in Ibadan after the distribution that the intention was not only to empower the jobless, poor or ailing Muslims, but to enhance the holistic development of Muslims in the state.
Sanusi added that the money distributed would go a long way in alleviating the suffering of the beneficiaries.
He explained that the distribution of Zakat by the forum started five years ago and since then, different items and cash were given to the needy annually.
He called on well-to-do Muslims to pay their Zakat when due “so it can be distributed to the needy to reduce their plight.”
Sanusi said that the forum had initiated many programmes, including an education fund through Zakat to assist indigent students.
He noted that the forum also had a health programme aimed at assisting Muslims with medical challenges.
“There is also the need to empower young Muslims who are not academically gifted to learn a trade or a skill,” he added.
In his lecture, Shelkh Dhikrulah Shafi, a Muslim cleric, said “there is punishment for those who have the capacity to pay Zakat and decide not to pay.”
Shafi said that poverty was rampant among Muslims because the rich had ignored the payment of Zakat.
He noted that if Zakat was religiously observed, poverty would reduce and there would be peace in the society.
The Minister of Communication, Mr Adebayo Shittu, who was at the event, expressed sadness at the level of poverty in the society.
He promised to sponsor the education of four orphans up to the university level.
Mrs Sifau Ganiyu, a widow and a beneficairy of the Zakat, appreciated the forum for the distribution.
She said that the assistance came as a surprise to her because she had lost all her children who she believed would be of assistance to her.
The amount of money given to each beneficiary ranges from N15,000 to N30,000.
Dignitaries at the occasion were Alhaji Sakariyau Akinpelu, Alhaji Kunle Sanni, Chairman Muslim Community of Oyo State, representatives of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) and representative of the Chief Imam of Ibadan land, among others.