Hyderabad: The arrival of Ramadan marks a relief to the poorest of the poor because he or she believes at least during this month there would something to eat, something to wear would come his/her way.
Most recipients would not know why the Muslims come out in large numbers to help the poor. But they do know that any Muslim who has a little money to spare would share it with the need. Because he believes that is the call of his religion and that is what Allah has asked him to do.
It is the all-pervasive the poverty that has led the religion of Islam to declare Zakat one of the five most important pillars of his belief.
Zakat (giving away a small share of once savings) distribution is undertaken during Ramadan. This coupled with a non-compulsory charity called Sadaqa makes it more relevant for the poor as well as those who have some money to share with the needy.
A survey carried out by Hyderabad-based NGO Helping Hand Foundation (HHF) has revealed that approximately 63% of the Muslims in Telangana are poor.
It is not just the poor population that receives assistance but also educational institutions, mostly religious-like madrasas.
Madrasas are not just the religious seminaries but they also substitute as social welfare residential schools for the weaker sections that provide food, shelter and education.
A sample survey done with around 80 madrasas revealed that 30 of them have 920 students who are marked to be stuck in an acute shortage of food.
Moreover, due to the lockdown, the madrasa caretakers are unable to move out and mobilize the Zakat and Sadaqa which require help carry out their basic functions.
Speaking to the HHF managing trustee Mujtaba Askari said, “We aim to help donors make informed choices on their donations through Zakat and Sadaqa this Ramzan. We have also come up with a socio-economic classification of Muslims in Hyderabad. We believe that such data on the socio-economic background of the principal minority community will be useful in making informed choices.”
“I work as an ayah at a school. My school is closed amid lockdown with no salary. Every year school principal used to give me sadqha during Ramadan which helped me purchase clothes and other necessary things for the Eid. But this month I don’t even have food for Sahri (pre-dawn meal) and Iftaar (breaking of fast),” stated Shameem, a resident of Golconda.