Rampur (U.P.) An irony of the age – Secular politics and Islamic charity runs in parallel. But this is happening in Rampur where people were executing the obligatory part of Islam i.e. paying of Zakat, by submitting their Zakat money at the office of “Samajwadi Party”. Till now we have some Islamic organizations conducting the affairs of collecting Zakat funds and distributing them to the needy people. Which is a temporary solution in the absence of the proper mechanism which the Shariah mandates which is under the functioning of an Islamic state.
As exposed by an Urdu daily newspaper, Muhammad Azam Khan, a top leader of Samajwadi Party (SP), floated a foundation by the name of Muhammad Ali Jauhar University fund. It is collecting Zakat Funds to help the needy Muslim students of Muhammad Ali Jauhar University. As a chairman of Jauhar Trust, Mr. Azam issued an appeal to Muslims for depositing their Zakat to the Trust. The appeal also mentioned a Fatwa justifying the act but it did not divulge who issued it. Later it was added that the cash payment of the Zakat could also be submitted at SP’s local office. As it was apprehend by some, a big stream of people started pouring in and depositing their Zakat at the SP’s office. Many of the Zakat payers were so politically motivated that they were insisting that the information of their contribution should be conveyed to Mr. Azam. It also included those people who were never seen before this as enthusiastic regarding Zakat. The people who are running madrasas said it badly affected their annual fund collection needed for executing the affairs of Islamic madrasas. It is also being said that this Zakat Fund has been established to attract money from Gulf countries. Obviously, it is a politically motivated attempt to exploit an Islamic obligation and to benefit the secular non-Islamic parties.
It could set a wrong precedent and has the potential to mislead gullible Muslims to channel their Zakat to groups which are engaged in non-Islamic politics and to abandon the due right of the needy Muslims.
Abu Musab, New Delhi
26th October 2006