The Lagos State Government has been called upon to implement recent ruling by the Supreme Court, which favoured the use of Hijab by female Muslim students in the State owned schools.
National Amir of The Companion, an association of Muslim men in business and the professions, Engr. Kamil Olalekan made the call Saturday in his welcome address at the group’s 2022 Zakat distribution ceremony, held in Ikeja, Lagos.
While appealing to the government on obedience to the apex court judgment, the association’s head commended the enduring spirit of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) and its legal team for their commitment until the final victory was attained.
Speaking on the event, Engr. Olalekan said it was delightful to see that The Companion Zakat operation is now across the country and no longer limited to Lagos, commending the group’s National Zakat Committee led by National Naibul Amir, Imam Nojeem Jimoh.
The Amir disclosed that The Companion is a member of the Association of Zakat and Waqf Operators of Nigeria (AZAWON) with headquarters in Sokoto, recalling that many of the organization’s Zakat recipients are corporate organizations involving in charity works, especially for the benefit of needy Muslims in their various areas of strength and operations, ranging from medical to orphanage and others.
“This is in addition to other individual beneficiaries and is a welcome development as the spread of beneficiaries is assured. I am also delighted to be here to encourage the committee and implore our members in general to be part of this campaign to create more awareness among wealthy and qualified Muslims and business organisations on the need to fulfil their Zakat and Sadaqah obligations.
“This campaign is important in order to assist more Muslims to understand that Zakat is also central to Islam like other pillars of Islam such as Solat, Ramadan and Hajj. And furthermore, to remind our Muslim brothers and sisters that Zakat attracts benefit for those who pay it just as it is a source of punishment for those who are qualified to pay but failed to fulfil this obligation” Olalekan said.
Speaking on poor attention being given to the rite, Engr. Olalekan encouraged members of The Companion to get involved in Zakat advocacy projects and not limit the job to only the members of the Committee, assuring that this would translate to higher number of contributors, as well as generate higher figures of Zakat Fund and increase the number of beneficiaries.
The Amir restated: “Zakat collection and disbursement is even much more relevant in Nigeria of Today because of the bad shape of our economy which has driven many more people into poverty and hunger. More people therefore need help and we cannot afford to disappoint them. We must target our Muslim friends, colleagues, business men and businesses to educate them and collect their Zakat / Sadaqah”.
Engr. Olalekan commended the Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Ismail Bola Akindele on his huge contributions to the group’s Zakat Fund, as well as to the success of its Media Dawah programme. He thanked other donors and contributors for entrusting their Zakat funds to the organization.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of the ceremony, Dr Akindele prayed Allah to bless the collections to the beneficiaries, yet, cautioned them against “round tripping”, affirming that with faith and hope in the collection, Allah would bless and make it flourish.
The Guest Speaker, Dr. Saheed Ahmad in his presentation on the event’s theme: “Zakat: Rights and Obligations” listed that those entitled to Zakat included: the poor Muslims; collectors and distributors of Zakat; non-Muslim, but polite and tolerant individuals; slaves; committed but incapacitated Muslims, for Allah’s’ cause, stressing that Zakat is primarily meant to liberate people out of poverty.
Dr Ahmad reiterated that Zakat is an injunction of Allah, binding on capable Muslims.
Another significance of Zakat he said is that Muslims must be conscious that it is an obligation.
He stressed that Zakat is an institution “long forgotten” by the Muslims, urging that the economic empowerment that is associated with it should be used to change the narrative that Muslims are “Fisebillilahi people”.
Dr. Ahmad added that Zakat is an obligatory, spiritual investment.
In his address at the event, the Chairman of the Zakat Committee called on those who are yet to be paying their Zakat to commence and do so through the Companion, cautioning that the beneficiaries should not consider the collection as another handout, rather, as an empowerment opportunity and a means to inject capital into their businesses.
Imam Jimoh, who was represented by a member of the committee, Alhaji Layi Baruwa, advised the business support beneficiaries to ensure best practice in their businesses; urging them to internalize the training received at the business session ahead of the distribution.
While advising them to have a proper book of records and transactions, Baruwa stressed that the beneficiaries should separate personal funds from business monies, as well as keep separate, personal accounts from business.
He restated that it was important that the beneficiaries utilize the Zakat properly, such that in two or three years, they (collectors) could contribute to the Zakat fund.
The categories of the Zakat distribution included: business support; scholarship; Foundation/NGO; business empowerment; medical and personal upkeep.
The ceremony was graced by the immediate past National Amir of the organization, Alhaji Thabit ‘Wale Sonaike; a former National Amir, Alhaji Musibau Oyefeso; EXCO members of the Lagos District of the organization, representatives of The Criterion, an association of Muslim women in business and the professions, among others.
1 (R-L) The immediate past National Amir of The Companion, Alh. Thabit ‘Wale Sonaike, Chairman of the occasion, Dr. ‘Bola Akindele, National Amir, Engr. Kamil Olalekan, Guest Speaker, Dr. Saheed Ahmad, Alh. Layi Baruwa and Engr. Misbau Sanusi at the Zakat distribution ceremony.
2 Prof. Fatimah Abdul Kareem receiving Zakat cheque on behalf of FAJIM Medicare Foundation, from Dr. Akindele, while Nat Amir, Engr Olalekan watches