Headlines

Sahulat serious about poverty alleviation through microfinance

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 28 September 2010 | Posted in ,

By Mudassir Rizwan

Patna: Sahulat Microfinance Society is seriously working on using microfinance as a tool to alleviate poverty. Launched earlier this year by the Delhi-based Human Welfare Foundation, the Society is building a network of microfinance system throughout the country.

Part of campaign to spread awareness about microfinance and to collect ideas on how it can be used as poverty alleviation tool, the Society held a daylong program at Bihar Chamber of Commerce here in Patna on September 27.
K.A. Siddique Hasan, President, Sahulat Microfinance Society, introduced the Society to the audience. He said Sahulat is a national organization which is an important wing of Human Welfare Foundation, which is working on the program of Microfinance in all the corners of India. “This Programme’s chief motive is to link the tool of microfinance with the serious poverty alleviation efforts in India, and to consolidate and document the ideas related to spreading Microfinance in India,” said Hasan.

Noted scholars and professionals from financial, educational, social and banking fields were present at the meet. People suggested on how to make microfinance banking system more effective that will help us to bridge the gap between the deprived section of the society and mainstream.

Arshad Ajmal, Vice President, Sahulat Microfinance Society, greeted the audience and expressed thanks for their kind presence at the meet.

(Courtesy: TwoCircles.net)

Rajnath Singh writes to PM against 'religious' tone of CWG functions

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in

New Delhi: Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opposing representation of religious practices during the Commonwealth Games' opening and closing ceremonies, and suggested that Vedic hymns should be chanted instead as they "portray eternal human values".

Singh said he was writing about the decision of the Group of Ministers (GoM) regarding the opening and closing ceremonies and the move to add religious fervour to the Oct 3-14 Games with a view to give a glimpse of Indian culture.

"I came to know that azaan will be a part of the background score at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games. The ceremonies will also have a qawwali soundtrack, props on the celebration of Eid. There will also be representation of other religions. I think that religion and religious practices should be left as the private domain of the players," Singh said.

Singh, MP from Ghaziabad, said the government has "gone overboard with the political angle" even in the Commonwealth Games.

"I regard Eid as a holy festival of Muslim brethren, but anything related to celebration of Eid during Games would not only be absurd, rather un-Islamic because Eid does not fall during that period according to the Islamic calendar. If any religious calendar is to be kept in mind, then it should be the celebration of Navratras which falls during that period," he said.

He said India was a secular country and the state should not start religious practices in CWG.

"It would not only be uncalled for, rather a departure from the secular traditions of the Commonwealth Games. The Games should start and end with the Games anthem," he said.

He said if something needs to be added, it should be the national anthem and national song. "We respect all the religions, be it Sanatan Dharma, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity or Judaism."

Singh said he was surprised to know that the government tried to depict the religious colour of Indian culture "leaving aside, the most ancient and basic root of most of the Indian religious sects which is the vedic culture".

He said the chanting of Vedic mantras "does not represent any religion rather it represents the eternal human values with the universal message of 'Vasudhaev Kutumbakam (the Universe is a family) and Atithi devo bhava (Guest is God)".

He hoped the prime minister would intervene "to do away with the anomalies and project a culturally more correct picture of India".

(Courtesy: IANS, September 27, 2010)

Kids dream up a Muslim superhero in a wheelchair

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in

New York: Comic book fans will soon be getting their first glimpse at an unlikely new superhero — a Muslim boy in a wheelchair with superpowers.

The new superhero is the brainchild of a group of disabled young Americans and Syrians who were brought together last month in Damascus by the Open Hands Initiative, a nonprofit organization founded by US philanthropist and businessman Jay T. Snyder.

The superhero’s appearance hasn’t been finalized, but an early sketch shows a Muslim boy who lost his legs in a landmine accident and later becomes the Silver Scorpion after discovering he has the power to control metal with his mind.

Sharad Devarajan, cofounder and CEO of Liquid Comics whose company is turning the young people’s ideas into pictures and a story line, said the goal is to release the first comic book — launching the disabled Muslim superhero — in early November in both Arabic and English.

Snyder said he was inspired by President Obama’s effort to reach out to the Muslim world in his January 2009 inaugural address. Last month, Snyder flew 12 disabled Americans to Damascus to meet their Syrian peers, and one of their main goals was to come up with ideas and story lines for the new superhero.

“The only limit was the imagination these kids had — the opportunity for a great story,’’ said Snyder, a comic book collector who heads HBJ Investments LLC. “They helped create something by their combined talents, and that becomes a gift to the world.’’

Devarajan found the young people’s imagination amazing.

“The opening question we asked the kids was, if you could have any superpower what would it be? I’ve asked that question in many different groups before and the typical answers are always the ones you’d expect — flying, reading minds, or being super strong,’’ Devarajan said.

(Courtesy: Boston.com)

Disneyland lets Muslim worker wear scarf to work

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By Robert Faturechi

Los Angeles: Disneyland has agreed to allow a company intern to wear her religious headscarf at work, according to a Muslim rights group that intervened after the woman was told she would have to work in the stockroom.

The Chicago woman was hired as a vacation planner after a phone interview. When she arrived in California for her internship orientation, she was asked by Disney representatives why she had not mentioned her hijab, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

The woman was told she would have to take a position with less guest interaction, working in the stockroom until a "customized uniform" could be made, according to the group.

She was told that making the customized uniform would take about five months, approximately the length of her entire internship, according to CAIR.

The group intervened, and after a week Disney agreed to accommodate the woman in her original position as a vacation planner, it said.

Suzi Brown, a spokeswoman for Disneyland Resort, said the employee would be allowed to wear a fitted blue head scarf with a beret-style hat worn over it.

Vacation planners are costumed employees, whose outfits include an optional baseball-style cap. Unlike other employees, the worker in question will not have the option to take off her hat while wearing her head scarf, Brown said. Vacation planners sell tickets in a box office.

"Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has a long history of accommodating a variety of religious requests from cast members of all faiths with more than 200 accommodations made over the last three years," Brown said. "And this instance was no different."

The organization has received other complaints over the years from Muslim women who said they have been denied "front-stage jobs" with Disney because of their hijabs.

Imane Boudlal, a hostess at Storyteller's Cafe in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, filed a discrimination complaint earlier this year, saying she has repeatedly been sent home without pay for refusing to remove her headscarf at work.

That case is ongoing, according to CAIR.

(Courtesy: The Seattle Times)

Television drove viewers to the web to explore Obama-Muslim rumors, Study finds

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in

A study examining Americans' interest in the rumor that Barack Obama is a Muslim shows that the mainstream media -- particularly television -- still influences the topics that engage the public.

Researchers found that online searches about the Obama-Muslim rumor spiked on days that the topic was heavily covered on national television networks, and that searches declined on days when there was less coverage.

"With all the attention given to blogs and online news, some people have suggested that the mainstream media's role has diminished in our society," said Brian Weeks, lead author of the study, and currently a doctoral student in communication at Ohio State University.

"But we found that the mainstream media, especially television, still helps place issues on the public's agenda."

Newspapers did not have as much of an effect as did television -- possibly because most newspaper articles effectively dispelled the rumor, making online searches unnecessary, Weeks said.

Weeks conducted the study as a graduate student at the University of Minnesota. His co-author is Brian Southwell, an associate professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Minnesota.

The study appears in the September 2010 issue of the journal Mass Communication and Society.

The researchers studied how the media drives public interest by examining one of the most talked-about rumors of the 2008 presidential election -- the rumor that Obama was secretly a Muslim. Although the rumor was quickly disproven, it still generated significant interest and even belief. In fact, less than a month before the election, the Pew Research Center found that 12 percent of the public believed Obama was indeed a Muslim.

In this study, the researchers looked at media coverage of the rumor from June 1, 2008 through Election Day, November 4.

They examined coverage on seven major television networks -- ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, NBC and PBS's News Hour with Jim Lehrer. They also examined coverage of the rumor in more than 25 newspapers around the country, including USA Today, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The researchers employed a relatively new approach to determine how often Americans were using the Web to search for information about the rumor. They used Google Trends, a service of the online search company Google, which can be used to track how often particular search terms are entered into the search site.

Results showed that Google searches about the rumor increased significantly on days that television coverage rose. On the day after significant television coverage, searches declined, and by the fourth day after the report there was no association between the coverage and online searches.

"If you see coverage of the rumor on TV, you probably have a computer or laptop nearby, and you're going to try to find more information right away. It makes sense that most people don't wait one or more days to check on the report," Weeks said.

Newspaper coverage of the rumor, on the other hand, did not strongly predict online searches. Weeks said the explanation may have to do with the nature of the coverage.

"It comes down to how much ambiguity and uncertainty that people have after reading an article or viewing a news report," Weeks said.

"Newspaper articles tended to present the facts and dispel the rumor decisively, so readers didn't have any reason to try to seek more information online."

However, the television reports, particularly on cable networks, tended to present the information very differently. Rather than dispelling the rumor, cable network shows -- which did 89 percent of all television reports about the rumor -- would often present pundits who would argue both sides of the issue, and discuss whether the rumor was even a legitimate topic of discussion.

"The result is that many people were less certain after watching TV reports about whether the rumor was actually true or not," Weeks said. "We think that's why they went online."

Weeks said this may be one reason that belief in the rumor that Obama is a Muslim continues to be strong to this day.

"When people go online, they can find all kinds of misinformation and false information. To some extent, people believe what they want to believe, and they can find information online that will reinforce their prejudices," he said.

The researchers also investigated the possibility that public interest in the rumor, as evidenced by online searches, was driving media coverage. In this case, they examined whether a given day's searches about the rumor was related to media coverage of the rumor a week later.

They found no such relation, suggesting that media coverage was indeed influencing online searches, and not the other way around.

Weeks will continue studying the media and political rumors at Ohio State. In one project, he and his colleagues will examine the extent to which refutations of a rumor affect people's beliefs about the rumor.

(Courtesy: Science Daily)

Shoura to study misuse of mass media

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in

By Md Rasooldeen

Riyadh: The Shoura Council on Monday decided to further study ways to ensure a sense of morality can remain in the Kingdom’s mass media. The decision was made at the council’s sixth regular session which was presided over by its chairman, Abdullah Al-Asheikh.

“The council is aware of the imminent danger of the multimedia and mass media … and their implications on the cultural, social and economic life of people in the Kingdom,” said Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz Al-Yahya, the council’s assistant secretary-general, in a statement following discussions on the issue. He added that the Shoura members suggested creating a central body to codify the moral and social content of the mass media, which includes mobile phones, TVs, the Internet, radio and other electronic devices that can be misused.

Having discussed the issue at length, Yahya said that the members still feel that a detailed study should be made into this matter, which is of paramount importance to both the government and members of the public.

The members also took up a child protection scheme put forward by the council's Social Affairs Committee. The proposal, which includes 25 articles, has been drafted according to Islamic law to protect children from abuse and neglect, said Al-Yahya, adding that the draft outlines the rights of children and includes proposals to hold awareness programs explaining to children their rights and privileges.

The council also heard a report from the Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy on the draft convention between the Kingdom and the Czech Republic on the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments. The house unanimously approved draft recommendations, which details the incentives for investors in both the Czech Republic and the Kingdom.

(Courtesy: Arab News)

Garlands of harmony from Ayodhya's Muslim flower artisans

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 24 September 2010 | Posted in

By Asit Srivastava

Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh): Muslim artisans here continue to make floral decorations for Hindu devotees, weaving bonds of communal harmony at a time when all eyes are on this ancient town ahead of a much-awaited court verdict Friday (September 24, 2010) on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit contested by Hindu and Muslim groups.

Around 15 Muslim families in the Asharfi Bhawan area of Ayodhya, some 150 km from Lucknow, have been involved in making floral garlands and decorative offerings for Hindu devotees for the last several decades.

"We have been doing this for several generations. Muslims making garlands for Hindu gods and goddesses may be a strange thing for an outsider but not for residents of Ayodhya," Arshad, 38, a Muslim artisan, told IANS.

"Hindu devotees either approach us directly for buying garlands and floral offerings, or purchase them from makeshift shops in the city where we supply the items daily. Priests of temples too contact us when they want to place large orders during Hindu festivals and religious functions," he added.

While some Muslims have their own small gardens where they grow flowers, others purchase the flowers to make the garlands.

"Our Hindu brothers are dependent on us...We have been supplying them garlands for the last several years. As the matter is related to faith and sentiments, we don't hesitate in buying flowers from outside to help our Hindu brothers," said Saleem, 40, another Muslim artisan.

Despite the fact that garland-making is a low profit business, the Muslim artisans have continued with it as they believe supplying garlands to Hindus has now become more of a responsibility for them.

"It's true, it is a source of livelihood for us, but you just can't ignore the responsibility that comes along with it. We consider ourselves lucky as the almighty has assigned us the job of helping the devotees," said Sartaj, 39, another Muslim artisan.

Muslim families involved in the garland-making business earn around Rs.200-250 daily, but their income increases during festive seasons due to higher demand.

"Normally we have a fixed number of clients to whom we supply garlands and floral decorations. But whenever there is a Hindu festival, our daily income increases to around two times the average," added Sartaj.

Asked what they think about the much-awaited verdict in the long-pending title suit Friday, Muslim artisans said irrespective of the outcome of the judgement they would continue with their business to help Hindus.

"We just pray for peace and believe the judgement will not affect Hindu-Muslim brotherhood and unity," Sartaj told a visiting IANS correspondent.

(Courtesy: IANS, September 23, 2010)

Another migration from Kashmir Valley - of Muslims this time

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in

By Binoo Joshi

Jammu: Reminiscent of the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley in the early 1990s, Muslims caught this time between stone-throwers and security forces are moving from Srinagar to Jammu in the dark of the night.

"I didn't inform anyone in the neighbourhood where I was headed," Abid Ahmad, who left Srinagar and came here with his family a week ago, told IANS on the condition that his locality be not disclosed as it could spell trouble whenever he returned.

Many like Ahmad are fleeing the strife-torn Kashmir Valley - where violent protests and clashes have left over 100 dead in the past three months - to escape the stones hurled by mobs and the retaliatory guns of security forces. And they usually undertake their journey to Jammu, 294 km south, between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.

"It's the time when stone-throwers are resting and the policemen are busy warming themselves around bonfires on roadsides," said Ahmad, who started his journey from Sringar along with his family at 3 a.m.

While Kashmir is a Muslim-majority area, Jammu is dominated by Hindus.

Over 100 families, according to unofficial estimates, might have reached Jammu post-Eid (Sep 11), when mobs went on the rampage in Srinagar, burning government offices after prayers. And the trend is continuing.

Because of this, Jammu, the state's winter capital, is witnessing quite a buzz in its hotels, resthouses and rented accommodations much ahead of the bi-annual shift in the seat of the government.

Said Ramprakash Sharma, a property dealer: "In the past week, I've arranged rented accommodation for 15 Kashmiri families. This number is unusually high...Earlier Kashmiris used to come for winter months only."

The valley has been seeing an unending cycle of violence since June 11, where hurling of stones shows the anger of youth, and the police react with bullets.

Apart from claiming the lives of over 100 civilians, the violence has left a large number wounded. Life there has come to a standstill, with shops, schools, banks and other institutions closed due to separatist-sponsored shutdowns and the curfew imposed by authorities in an attempt to maintain calm.

Sharing their miseries, the migrants tell their Kashmiri Hindu friends, who had migrated to Jammu 20 years ago: "Now we know why the Pandits fled and that too in the darkness of night."

Over 300,000 Kashmiri Pandits living in the valley migrated when violence erupted there in 1990. Most of them came to Jammu and were housed by the government in various camps on the edges of the city. They had to initially live in tents until the authorities built one-room tenements for them.

The recent migrants from the valley curse everyone responsible for turning their lives into a nightmare -- the stone-throwers, separatists, policemen and the "non-existing" government.

"I had to face stone-throwers almost every day...they would physically assault me. And the policemen would threaten me for driving during curfew," said Mohammad Sultan, a driver with a government department who has shifted his family here.

But he will return to the valley for his job.

"They all are looking after their (own) interests...not knowing the pain of the common people," Sultan rued.

But it's not that easy in Jammu either. Here they face many questions -- hotels ask for identity cards, and policemen visit them to verify all sorts of details. And they are scared of disclosing too much to the police, fearing some might give out their details to the stone throwers back home.

Asked if the government was doing anything, a young girl said: "Which government are you talking about? (Hardline separatist leader) Syed Ali Geelani runs the government of stone-throwers, who stone people...and the Omar Adullah government is non-existent."

The girl, now showing signs of depression, narrated how her car was stoned and the policemen fled the scene in a locality in downtown Srinagar.

A 39-member all-party delegation led by union Home Minister P. Chidambaram visited Jammu and Kashmir for two days to get a sense of the ground situation before deciding on steps to defuse tensions.

But its visit also caused problems for people here Tuesday. "We were checked at every place and asked not to venture out because the delegation was here," said a harassed Kashmir University professor who arrived here Monday.

Most of those from the valley say they are just waiting to undertake the journey back home in daylight -- when stone-throwers retreat and curfew is lifted.

(Courtesy: IANS, September 23, 2010)

Rs.585-crore loan disbursed for minority communities

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 23 September 2010 | Posted in ,

New Delhi: The government has disbursed over Rs.585 crore to more than 2.5 lakh beneficiaries for the economic development of minority communities in India over the last four years, an official said Wednesday.

Of this, Rs.197.74 crore was disbursed to over one lakh beneficiaries in 2009-10, the spokesperson of the minority affairs ministry said.

He said that the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC), under the aegis of the ministry, has cumulatively disbursed the term loans and micro finance to ensure equitable share to minorities in economic activities and employment.

"It is an important component of the prime minister's 15-point programme for the welfare of minorities."

To ensure providing access to credit, 1,759 bank branches have been opened in districts having a substantial minority population, he said.

"During 2009-10, 699 bank branches were opened. Priority Sector Lending (PSL) for minorities, which stood at Rs.58,662 crore in 2007-08, has increased to Rs.108,850 crore in 2009-10. This represents 9.67 percent of the total PSL in 2007-08 and 12.64 percent in 2009-10. The target for minorities for the next three years has been fixed at 15 percent of total PSL."

(Courtesy: IANS, September 22, 2010)

Economic System in Islam & Indian Muslims

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in

By M. Naushad Ansari
     
The Sachar Committee report and ,later, the Ranganathan Mishra Commission report is much in discussion. Demand to implement recommendations of these Commissions is picking up in every corner of the country.  It is quite justified and logical.  However, at the same time, the community has yet to ponder over the resources available and the strategy for the development of ummah.

Economic Condition

As per Ranganathan Mishra Commission’s finding, 24.73 per cent of Hindus live below poverty line (BPL); whereas 32.07 per cent of Muslims are under BPL.  (Source NSSO 55th Round, July 1999-June 2000). Further, as per The National Commission for Enterprises in Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) report, 84% of the Muslim population of India lives on a daily income of less than Rs. 20. In other words, about 126 million of our brothers and sisters don’t even earn twenty rupees a day!

Also, a survey by the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) further brought to light that three out of every ten Muslims  lived on less than Rs. 550 a month. ‘The Adivasis are the most vulnerable group with nearly 50% below the poverty line, followed by the Dalits and Muslims with poverty rates of 32% and 31%,’ reveals the Indian Human Development survey conducted by the NCAER and University of Maryland of the US.

Educational Condition

On the Muslims’ educational condition, the Ranganathan Mishra Commission portrays the following statistics:-
         
Communities
Up to Primary level
Middle
Secondary
Senior Secondary
Graduation
National Average
55.57
16.09
14.13
6.74
6.72
Muslims
65.31
15.14
10.96
4.53
3.6

It can be seen that though at the entry level Muslims have higher rate of admissions, i.e. 65.31 per cent, against the national average of 55.57 percent, but high drop out at subsequent levels brings down the rate of those among Muslims completing graduation  to 3.6 per cent.  The national average of those completing graduation is 6.72.  One of the main reasons for this high drop out is found to be poverty.

Economic System in Islam

The Holy Qur’an imposes upon its followers to strive continuously to establish the Nizam-e-Rububiyath, the system of sustenance, which guarantees peace, growth and development of the entire mankind. Muslims are to recognize that wealth, earnings, and material goods are the property of Allah, and that we are merely His trustees. According to the economic concept of the Holy Qur’an, wealth cannot be accumulated, stored and kept idle.  Such accumulation is considered the most undesirable. (Holy Qur’an, 59:7).  Islam teaches that everyone should take for his or her earning only that much required to fulfill his or her needs, and the remaining part will be left to meet the requirement of other needy persons (Holy Qur’an, 2:219).

Such persons whose basic requirements are not fulfilled have a rightful share in the surplus of other members of the society. (Holy Qur’an, 51:19, 70:24).  The Holy Qur’an warns the hoarders: “And there are those who bury gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah: announce unto them the most grievous penalty on the day when heat will be produced out of that (wealth) in the fire of Hell, and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks and their backs”. (9:34-35

It is reported that Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Until four questions have been asked, no one will be allowed to move on the Day of Resurrection.  Two of these are: How did you earn and how did you spend?”

Helping the Poor

The Holy Qur’an, in an unequivocal words, declares: “Provision must be made to help the kindred, orphans, way farers, widows, who are in bondage or in debt, those who are expelled from their homes and deprived of their property, and, in general, needy” (Holy Qur’an, 59:7-8)

For the welfare of the poor, Zakat is prescribed as a means to make sure that everyone's need are met.  In the Muslim society the rich need to channelise their money to the poor by means of Zakat and Sadaqath.  There is definite guarantee that those who pay poor-due i.e. Zakat are bound to prosper.  It is stated in the Holy Qur’an that “Those who establish regular prayer and pay regular poor-due, they are the one who will prosper.”  (Holy Qur’an, 31:4-5)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) once said; ”One who strives for the widows and the poor is like the one who strives in the way of Allah. I shall regard him as one who stands up for prayer without rest and as one who fasts without break.”
At this time when Muslim community is wallowing in the muck of extreme poverty, it seems, merely by paying a minimum rate of Zakat, the rich Muslims cannot absolve themselves of their duties towards the society. 

Haj and Umrah

One time Haj is incumbent on every affluent Muslim who can afford it.  Additional Haj (more than one and Umarah are ‘nafl ibadah’.  Muslims perform Umrah and additional haj for gaining sawaab.  But, indeed, in certain circumstances, other society related duties become dearer to Allah than Umrah and additional HajIslamic scholars must ponder over whether these optional ways of earning sawaab are, in the present condition in India, really significant?  Will performing nafil ibaadah absolve us from our duty of making sure that our neighouring people don’t sleep without a proper food?  Won’t we be gaining more sawaab by helping a needy person in our neighbourhood?   

A renowned social activist and an executive member of Harmony India from Chennai, Mr. Faizur Rahman, views that ‘about 1,50,000 Muslims travel to Makkah for Umra every year. And the average cost of the entire trip is around Rs. 140,000/- per person.  Therefore, the annual amount spent by Indian Muslims on Umrah alone works out to a whopping Rs. 2100 crores! In comparison, the amount allocated in the last budget by the Government of India to the Ministry of Minority Affairs was Rs. 1000 crores. In the recent budget this allocation has been increased to 1740 crores, and as the Muslim community is not the only minority in India it may get about 1400 crores that is, 80% of 1740 crores. In other words, we are spending about 700 crores more than the amount our country can afford to spend on us and that too on a non-obligatory ritual. And we have not taken into account multiple Haj. Even if 50% of this money is diverted for community causes it would make a tremendous difference.  (Two Circles.net, July 14, 2009)

Muslims also spend a lot of money on marriages.  This could be, in fact, a lot more than what we spend on the Umrah. This is nothing but extravagance, which are strongly discouraged in Islam. "[The Servants of Allah are] Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not stingy, but hold a just balance between those extremes" says the Holy Qur'an (25:67).   It further adds :  "O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer. Eat and drink, but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters" (7:31).
 
Wakf Property

Sachar Committee report points out that there are about 5 lakh registered Wakfs with 6 lakh acre land and Rs 6,000 crore book value. This book value is decades old.  Still, the gross income from all these properties is only 163 crores i.e. 2.7%, which is grossly inadequate. 

The Wakf properties dedicated in the name of Allah, have to be utilised ultimately for the welfare of the community.  Merely creation of waqf is not an end in itself but it is also imperative that the objectives of the waqf are fulfilled and the community derives the fruit, in a broader way.  The objective of the waqf is attained only when the property is put to use and the assets gainfully employed so that the waqf will be in a position to undertake and maintain its pious, religious and charitable activities. Needless to mention that the wakf properties, if maintained property, would be sufficiently instrumental in alleviating poverty from Muslim Society.  The unfortunate fact is that the wakf properties are not being exploited by the Government agencies alone but by the Muslims as well.    

Let us not forget that the people do not perish for lack of wealth but for lack of vision.  Today, vision has become a rare commodity among Muslims.  We have made the Islamic principles limited to rituals alone, completely forgetting their essence and spirit. 

It is high time that the Muslim leaders, intellectuals, scholars and elite group looked beyond, to be successful in a real sense.  Islam has the depth to show the way.  Islam stands not only for a glorious hereafter but for equally herein.  It stands for the uplift of the poor, the preservation of the weak and the prevalence of the spirit of the brotherhood of mankind.  The prosperity can only be attained by setting right the way of life. 

Looking to the government agencies for the welfare of the community is alright.  But equally important is to make the most of the resources available at our end.

[M. Naushad Ansari can be contacted at ruby.naushad@gmail.com]

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