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JD1m raised in Zakat revenues during Ramadan — Awqaf Ministry

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Jul 13,2017 - Last updated at Jul 13,2017

AMMAN — Zakat revenues during last Ramadan reached JD1 million, of which 

JD954, 000 were distributed to beneficiaries, an official said.

Zakat, one of the “five pillars of Islam”, is a tax that entails paying 2.5 per cent of what a Muslim owns in cash money, gold, silver, cattle, farms and rentable assets, in alms.

The amount was collected by the Zakat Fund through media campaigns and by the fund’s collecting committees, Anas Sweileh, head of the Awqaf Ministry’s media department, told The Jordan Times on Thursday.

The fund collected the money from mosques across the Kingdom and through a radio-telethon, in which JD583,000 was raised, Sweileh said.

The fund redistributed the collected tax to beneficiaries as cash, in-kind aid, coupons and by supporting productive enterprises, according to the official. 

Among the fund’s aid programmes is Sahm Al Gharimat, or “female debtors share”, for which JD500, 000 was allocated to help release women imprisoned for failing to pay debts.

Some 242 women have been released at a cost of JD127, 000, Sweileh said, adding that male debtors will be supported by the fund once all the women are released.

The maximum value of debts that the fund covers is JD1,500, he noted.

After conducting studies on the situation of underprivileged families, the Zakat Fund in 2017 financed 66 enterprises including grocery shops, shops selling detergents, cattle, food shops and plumbing enterprises, with a total cost of JD118,000, according to Sweileh.

For the families of those who died or were injured in the traffic accident of the umrah (the lesser pilgrimage to Mecca), Zakat committees provided urgent aid to the families, including the costs of funerals. 

Sweileh said that the Zakat revenues during Ramadan 2017 rose by 30 per cent, compared to the same month last year.

Several Zakat and charity activists interviewed by The Jordan Times said that not everyone gives their money to the Zakat Fund. However, they stressed its credibility and transparency.

A Zakat coordinator, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that the fund is not well known by all of the Zakat payers, due to a lack of promotion by media and mosques.

“I was surprised to know that the fund, for example, helps 3,200 underprivileged families in Zarqa, [22km east of Amman] because of the lack of advertisement,” the coordinator said.

He called on the fund to intensify campaigns and employ Zakat raisers at Jordanian embassies, in order to benefit from Jordanian expatriates.  

Reema Hadidi, a Zakat advocate, said that she and her friends know a lot of beneficiaries, whom she helps directly, without mediators.

 

“We help people by paying rent, buying medicine, funding students, paying overdue water and electricity bills, and releasing prisoners who failed to pay their debts,” Hadidi said.

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