Last updated on March 1 2012 14:30pm
The issue that students are suffering in Sudan is supposed to be given a priority. Those who had the chance of learning abroad can agree with me that living in a foreign land is not easy. There is no place where you can go and beg for ya sopo or ya sugar. It all depends in your pocket. Moreover, being a student for that matter, it is indeed a misery.
According to some IZF officials, the organisation depends on contributions from the Muslim community in form of Zakah. However, it seems like people have stopped paying their Zakah, leaving the organisation in financial hardships.
But the question again can be, why have people stopped paying zakah?
If we can go back to the IZF’s objectives, we will see that their main aim is to assist the needy. Children who are coming from typically poor families and cannot afford to pay schools fees.
In the past, this objective was fully implemented in its principle but when the politics entered in our community, the system changed.
Nowadays, most of the people who are going there come from well to do families which is very sad. If you conduct a simple research of the students who are now enjoying these scholarships, you will agree with what I am saying.
There are other families where almost all their children and their relative’s children are being sponsored by IZF yet, they have the resources to pay their children to school on their own.
You may hear an announcement on the radio that IZF is inviting applications from suitably qualified candidates to apply for the scholarships. But when people submit their applications, you will just hear that most of the names are those of very well known and influential people’s sons or daughters who have been awarded the scholarships. Should we say that their families have more intelligent children that others to the point that almost 3 or 4 of them have to be sponsored by IZF? No wonder that the organisation’s administrator complained of being bullied into awarding scholarships to these rich people, by Malawian standards.
This is what made some people to stop paying their zakah to the organisation claiming that it is not going to the intended beneficiaries.
Time to pay back
According to the report and information that Malawi Muslims Website has gathered, IZF has sponsored almost 400 students. Some are senior managers, very well to do indeed and qualify as zakaat payers but only less than 5% of them pay back to the organisation either in form of zakaat itself or lillah.
It seems like the disease of waiting to receive and not to give is still instilled in some people in our community.
When it will end, it is only Allah who knows!
Why do we Muslims always like to receive and not to give? Every day, some spend for example, more than MK1, 000 for Airtime, or MK500 for lunch. You mean that with all of that money we spend, we can fail to contribute at least MK1, 000 per month to pay to the Islamic Zakaat Fund so that some more needy people should benefit?
If the figure of the graduates is indeed, 400 and everyone agree to contribute MK1, 000 per month, how much money would IZF collect? It is about MK400, 000 in a month!
It is morally binding upon the IZF alumni to be grateful for the support that they were given to them by making regular contributions to the organisation, even paying the zakat itself so that the organisation should be able to assist the suffering students in Sudan.
For the students who are studying abroad should also appreciate that things back home have changed. Malawi is currently being rocked with myriad economic woes.
Much as they know that IZF depend on donors, who most of them are Asian businessmen, some of them are downsizing their businesses because things are not going well economically, so it might be that their contributions towards IZF commitments are in turn also being affected. And unless more people come in to contribute, it will be difficult to increase the students’ allowances.
We do understand the technical hiccups that IZF faces when remitting funds to Sudan unlike Zanzibar or Uganda but still it is a shared responsibility between the parents and IZF to make sure that the students are given all the necessary financial support to meet their immediate needs.
One student argued that if it was that they were communicated earlier that their parents would be contributing something, they would have told their parents. It is not too late to tell them. It is better late, and be assisted, than never and continue suffering.