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Plan to use Zakat money to defend Muslims who are falsely arrested for terrorism

Mumbai: Jamiatul Ulama-e Hind (JUH) which for many years has been fighting legal battles for the acquittal of Muslims particularly educated Muslim youth falsely accused and arrested for terrorism and terrorist activities across the country and has also succeeded in most cases in getting these innocent Muslims acquitted by courts in different parts of the country, now plans to use money collected as Zakat for this purpose i.e. for fighting court cases of Muslims, most of whom are innocent but accused and imprisoned because of bias or suspected involvement in terrorism and terrorist activities. So far the JUH had been using its own money for fighting court cases of such individuals and youth and last year (2015) it spent more than Rs. 2 crores on legal battles for about 410 Muslims embroiled in 52 terror-related cases all over the country. After all, its financial sources are limited and since huge amounts are needed for fighting their court and legal battles, it now plans to use Zakat money also for this purpose.

Though no authentic or even near authentic figures of Zakat collected annually is available because there is no centralised system for collection of Zakat and also there being no coordination amongst different organisations collecting Zakat from Muslims, it is however estimated that total amount of Zakat in a year in this country may be about Rs. 7500 crores. An analysis made last year by the Assocaition of Muslim Professionals on the presumption that even if 10 percent of India’s 17-18 crore Muslims pay Zakat, the total amount in a year may be about rs. 7,500 crores on the principle of 2.5 percent Zakat on their annual income and savings as well as goods and assets the value of which is equal to 75 grammes of gold after meeting their families total expenses, of course. Amounts of money collected as Zakat can be spent broadly on the poor and needy people (Muslims) orphanages, religious madrasahs, widows, marriage of poor girls etc. According to Gulzar Azmi, head of Jamiatul Ulama’s legal cell in Mumbai which finances the cost of legal and court cases of Muslims arrested on framed-up charges of terrorism, Qur’an and Hadees prescribe eight ways or causes for which Zakat money can be used, one of which is to help those who are in bondage and captivity (in addition to those mentioned above i.e. madrasahs, poor and needy people, orphanages etc.). According to him (Gulzar Azmi), these days many poor and other Muslims are being arrested for terror activities and rotting in jails for want of money to fight their cases by lawyers. He said that now Zakat money will be used for this purpose also, in addition to other purposes mentioned above. 

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 August 2016 on page no. 15

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