BY HAROON RASHID BHAT
There is a mention of Charity in all the grand religions of the world. However, In Islam, the concept of charity is widely discussed and elaborated. In the Islamic welfare state, there is a concept of state Baitul- Maal that works as the State treasury. The primary function of this institution is to take care of the financial or material needs of the underprivileged class. As there is no institution like Baitul- Mal working here under the direct supervision of the Government but being the Muslim-dominated territory, we have established here local Baitul-Maals, which are doing a very commendable job in fulfilling the material and financial needs of the underprivileged class. However, there is a need to do more in this direction; giving an expansion of such institutions; widening its scope with perfection and accountability.
Though the concept of Baitul- Maal is deeply rooted in our society but, this virtuous activity geared its momentum during the post-flood situation in 2014 and during this most critical phase when the entire human race is facing heavy economic crises due to the second wave of COVID- 19. This alarming situation left many families in complete poverty.
Let us take the lesson from the local history and to know how our forefathers managed such odd situations earlier. Syed Baha-Ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari RA, popularly known as Naqashband Soub RA, Khanyar motivated people to collect the materials donations so that they could be distributed among needy people. He also conducted a special prayer (Khoji-Digar) on an annual basis as a mark of gratitude in the court of Almighty Allah after the collection and distribution of the goods among the needy people. Feasts were arranged by an affluent class of the society and distributed among the poor people. The philosophy behind that noble work was to develop the habit of charity among the well-off people of the community.
Sometimes, it is the given situation that motivates an individual or any group to establish such social organizations. Recently one of my friends from Krangsoo, Anantnag Sajad narrated to me the heart-wrenching story of a person who became the extreme victim of this prevailing lockdown situation as the person could not repay the due installment in favor of the construction agency against the house that he acquired from the construction agency. As the amount was thick, he applied for a Bank loan but because the person is working in a private company and nobody was ready to introduce himself as a guarantor. Hence, he managed that amount from the local finance company on loan with the hope that the situation would return to normal, and he would pay his debt. But, unfortunately, he could not manage the amount in time that resulted in the exponential increase in the loan. During this up and down situation, he lost his land and house. The family became homeless. They shattered psychologically. That particular episode motivated him (Sajad ) to establish a local trust within his vicinity. He involved a few youths from the locality and founded the local Baitul- Mal. He started the door-to-door campaign, motivated the people to donate the material and non-material assets in favor of the Baitul-Mal monthly. And the first work that they accomplished through this organization was that they arranged a piece of land for that family and constructed the two-room house.
This is one such case, but there are numerous such cases in our valley where an individual or a family became the victim of the odd situations. The need of the hour is to establish more local Biatul- Meals so that we can take care of the financial or material needs of the people. Let us develop the microeconomic plane on a local and gear up our social activities within our locality so that nobody in our neighborhood sleeps with an empty stomach, no one in our area will commit suicide, no brother or sister of mine suffered from any severe diseases lost his/her precious life because of the poor financial condition, no boy or girl leave their studies in midway, no girl will be deprived of womanhood role. Giving in no way is a loss of a human being. We must learn to give and to share with others. Helping other today will never leave you helpless in your bad times. Learn to give and learn to share the blessing you are given to the one who is in need of. The Holy Quran states: “And be steadfast in your prayer and pay charity; whatever good you send forth for your future, you shall find it with Allah, for Allah is well aware of what you do” (2:110) Let us take a pledge to be the front runners in social work.
The author is a teacher by profession and can be reached at