Zakat and charity can reduce misery of people during lockdown
In order to enforce the strict restrictions announced by the government to prevent corona, a number of untoward incidents have taken place with the police on the streets with various classes of people including doctors and lawyers. Videos of these incidents have gone viral through social media. The police and the doctors' association made counter-statements in this regard. The High Court commented that this contradictory statement was not desirable. We think so too.
However, the question which comes first--society or the individual--is like the question about the hen and the egg. Whether you treat it a logical or a psychological question, you can make no statement about it. Society and the individual are inseparable; they are necessary and complementary to each other, not opposite. We need etiquette and tolerance. However, in this context, we should know that etiquette is an important issue. In the absence of this, conflict and chaos are inevitable in the society.
At present, the essential qualities in a man are gradually declining. Lies, untruths, extremism, instability have merged in our minds in the society. For the welfare society and the state, there is more need for etiquette or manners in office-court, meeting committee and social functions. The more one cares about etiquette, the more reputation and success he can achieve. The more indifferent one is about etiquette, the less acceptable it is to people.
One wave of corona after another has spread all over the world and the lethal COVID-19 monster has paralyzed all normal human life. This is a terrible threat to life. Bangladesh is no exception. Lockdown is going on in this situation in the country.
Come what may the purpose of this article is to eliminate the inequality of wealth in the society by paying Zakat and to improve the living standards of the poor and to establish equality in the society. It is to be noted that a one-week lockdown started to prevent the transmission of the second wave of COVID-19 in the country. Despite this, due to the increase in Coronavirus infections and deaths, the overall severe lockdown extended from April 14 to April 21. And then the deterioration of the situation has led to the imposition of restrictions on the overall activities and movement until April 28.
As a result, the whole country has somehow become paralyzed due to the effects of the epidemic. It is true that the second wave has started without cutting the effect of the first wave of the corona. Many of those affected by last year's 66-days holiday have yet to recover. On the one hand, lockdown has been imposed to avoid infection. On the other hand, the way of earning of countless people has been blocked.
In this situation, many people in the informal sector and people depended on daily income are not getting the opportunity to work. Van drivers, wheelbarrow drivers, painters, carpenters, lock-and-key mechanics, bicycle-vans, rickshaw and motor garage workers also have to stay away from work. Mobile recharge traders, flower sellers, shop employees, pavement traders are also being deprived of income have fallen into misery with their families anew. Talking to people of different classes and professions, it has been learned that the poor people have already reduced their non-food expenditure due to the impact of Corona.
Many have broken down their savings, taken out loans, and changed their eating habits. Again, many did not find a way to adapt to the situation. As a result, many have feared falling below the poverty line. At the same time, the fear of unwanted instability in the society cannot be dispelled in any way. Apart from food crisis, there is a risk of deteriorating health and mental condition of such people due to loss of income and unemployment.
In this context, experts have suggested ensuring food security and increasing social safety net programs for the poor during lockouts. At the same time the rich must be motivated to help. Moreover, creating an environment where such people can easily earn money in the post-lockdown period. As a result of the corona, two and a half crore people have become poor again.
Zakat is the corner stone of the Islamic economic system and is one of the five pillars of Islam. Salah and zakat have been mentioned together at thirty-two places in the Holy Quran and an emphatic order has been given to pay zakat at eighty-two places. It was declared an obligation by Prophet (PBUH) also. The purpose of zakat is not only to support the poor and the destitute and to bring the wealth in circulation, but also as an obligatory worship which purifies heart and soul and transforms man into a sincere and obedient servant of Allah.
This month's zakat and sadaqah are much better than any other month. Muslims, with a few exceptions, have moved away from the desire to donate and have even divided the field of giving. By donation we mean giving food, clothing and shelter to mosques, madrasas and orphans. But that is not the case. You will be able to invest your donation money in all branches of human welfare. You can feed non-religious, non-religious and even animals. This is charity. Every year the devout Muslims of Bangladesh give alms, charity and zakat to the needy.
In this moment of crisis of lockdown and in this blessed Ramadan, the zakat can play a groundbreaking role in alleviating the misery of the poor and helpless. If all the wealthy Muslims in Bangladesh had properly paid zakat on their accumulated wealth, there would have been no need for financial help from the government treasury in this corona disaster.
Let us all stand by our helpless neighbors in this time of crisis and extend a helping hand. The true benefits can be obtained only if the light of the meaning of zakat and charity illuminates all those who need it. Even if we donate as much as we can in this difficult time of Covid, even this month, surely Allah will remove our misfortune and bless us with earning income. Let's make ourselves the best and personable in the way of the best messenger in this blessed month of Ramadan.
In fine, it is hoped that poverty will be eradicated from our society through proper donation and distribution of zakat; and equality and economic balance will be established in the society.
Md Azgar Ali, Publicity Sectary, Bangladesh Statistical Association