By Douglas Okoro
Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF), in collaboration with the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), has empowered 60 indigent Muslim faithful in Ebonyi.
The foundation distributed seven sewing machines, one palm kernel cracking machine, two deep freezers, three generating sets, two laptops and one desktop computer to 22 beneficiaries, among others.
Other beneficiaries numbering 38 went home with cash to establish petty businesses.
Distributing the items, Mr Suleiman Olagunju, the Executive Director of the foundation, said that giving to the poor and the less privileged was one of the five Pillars of Islam.
According to him, giving to the poor and the needy in society was the solution to poverty and a way to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.
Olagunju said that among the other Pillars of Islam, Zakat was the most neglected, noting that it was more blessed to give than to receive.
He called on rich Muslim faithful to always give part of their incomes to the less privileged in order to receive blessings from God.
The executive director charged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of whatever item given to them to enhance their economic wellbeing and participate in Zakat contributions and Sadaqat payment.
He said: “Zakat is only way to encourage poor Muslims in our midst to come out of their poverty.
“Allah commanded in the Holy Qu’ran to take from the rich and give to the poor and this illustrates the importance of giving alms to the poor.”
Earlier, Dr Haroun Aja, the Vice President General of NSCIA, South-East, admonished the beneficiaries to justify the gesture by multiplying what they received.
He said that a special committee to monitor the beneficiaries had been put in place to ensure the empowerment materials were put into use for which they were donated.
“We want you to make progress with your items so that you can be a Zakat and Sadaqat contributor.
“Again, we will not hesitate to retrieve from the beneficiaries items received from the foundation which are not put into profit yielding ventures,” Aja said.
Two beneficiaries, Messrs Kabir Babatunde and Zubiru Mohammed who spoke on behalf of the others, commended the foundation for the gesture and promised to put the items to profitable use.