Of parasites thriving on Zakat

Zakat is one of the fundamental pillars of Islam. It is neither tax money nor charity or a burden. It is an obligation which Muslims owe to the poor and a right of the poor in the wealth of the rich, but Muslims are too neglectful of this pillar of Islam which ensures Peace, Social Justice and Tranquility in society. Who is siphoning off this real estate meant to provide sustenance to the poor? Zakat is paid by a small minority of Muslims.  It is their duty to see that it truly reaches the deserving ones or not. They are too busy with their tight schedules that they try to get rid of this Zakat burden as soon as possible. The zakat, even if collected for some madrasa or orphanage, a large chunk of it gets siphoned off by collectors or middlemen, leaving the deserving high and dry.

Other forms of donations in the form of Sadqa, Niyaz etc are also disbursed but what happens to the money? The Niyaz money is mostly handed over to shrine authorities. I may not fall into this debate whether it is lawful or unlawful to pay niyaz money to shrine or not, but it is a fact that Muslims offer their niyaz in the form of monetary donations at shrines and this is true for the whole subcontinent.

According to the Delhi Waqf Board Survey Commissioner the daily offering at the Nizamuddin Dargah approximates Rs 7,000-10,000 whereas the Pirzadas, the saints descendants claim a lower sum.(“Dargah Authorities To Give Accounts”, The Milli Gazette 16-31 October 2004, P-20). Regardless of the exact sums, the Dargah authorities have not spent any funds on public good in the poor neighbourhood. “In fact when the Delhi High Court directed the Central Waqf Council and the State Waqf Board to ensure proper accounts of the collection, the two organizations were simply unable to act due to the power of the Pirzadas” (Munsif Daily online edition 11 April, 2005) Why don’t they allow the truth to come out and provide proper records of the money and the areas they spend it on. How can they? Because they fill their pockets with this money, these pious mafias, and they must be proud of it because Islam has ordained them to adopt this stance? These learned, pious, godly but materialistic, lustful, worldly, thugs, ‘innocent’ thieves who eat away the public money as if it is their own to fill their coffers. I remember an incident from the illustrious life of our Pious Caliph Umar (RA) who was questioned about the length of his cloak by Salman Farsi (RA) before the whole public gathering despite being one of the greatest conquerors the world has ever seen, he satisfied Salman with an accountable convincing answer. I think this was the Islamic contribution to history, a real Democracy, but what we ourselves are cobwebbed in is a brutal hereditary rule and hegemony of a dominant elite who assume to be our religious leaders, saints, preachers, teachers and spiritual masters in the process draining our well earned wealth to fill their own coffers instead of using it for public good for which in reality it is meant for.

What have these parasites contributed towards the upliftment of humanity as a whole and Muslim community in particular? The money which comes in the name of the saints in whose names the shrines are built, are not needed by the dead pious saints, but the donations are a sign of their immortality which need to be used for the betterment of humanity. It was what the Saints stood for, what they fought for during their whole lives and the persons who now are staying, maintaining and minting money by selling their pious names are the same people who were their voracious critics, enemies and stumbling blocks during their whole inspiring, fruitful and dedicated lives. I hope it is what Tahmina Durrani meant in her book Blasphemy, also Khalil Gibran in his Jospeh The Mad and it is what Allama Iqbal meant by these verses:

Yehi Shaikh Haram Hai Jo Chura Kar Beeich Khata Hai
Galeem Boozar, Dilak Owais Wa Chadar e Zehra

These appearing Pious Mafias instead being a source of contribution, solace and help to mankind are parasites who are drawing the last drop of blood from its host. If the Muslims have to progress and contribute their part in world civilizations again, they have to get rid of these good-for-nothing parasites adorning saintly garb. They are dead wood which needs to be chopped off.

“Each one according to his skill and to each one according to his need” doesn’t hold good for Muslim Society, but the parasites are proving this dictum as a fact, because if only a minority can enjoy at the cost of majority then we don’t need religion because there is no need of a religion which can’t wipe the tears of a widow and feed a hungry orphan?

Mushtaqul-Haq Ahmad Sikander

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 January 2010 on page no. 2

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