Some academic and religious scholars have advised states and the federal government to institutionalise payment of Zakat by wealthy Muslims as effective weapon in the fight against poverty.
They made the call at the 2017 Zakat Distribution ceremony organised by the Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation, ZSF, in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the ZSF is a poverty alleviation arm of The Muslim Congress, TMC, a faith-based organisation.
Zakat is the payment made annually under Islamic laws on certain kinds of property and the proceeds are used for charitable purposes.
Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam.
NAN also reports that the foundation distributed cash and materials totalling N108.28 million to 494 beneficiaries at the ceremony in Lagos State.
It had distributed Zakat to beneficiaries in Delta, Ondo, Ado-Ekiti, Osun, Ogun, Oyo, Adamawa, Borno and Yobe earlier in the year.
Speaking at the occasion in Lagos, a religious scholar, AbdulHakeem Abdul-Lateef, called on relevant organisations to sponsor bills in states’ House of Assembly and National Assembly to institutionalise payment of Zakat.
Mr. Abdul-Lateef, who is the Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, said that Zakat was meant to help the needy, regardless of religion.
Lai Olurode, a don and Chairman of the occasion, said there was nothing wrong if the federal government could institutionalise zakat and sadaqat as means of alleviating poverty among Nigerians.
“There is nothing wrong if you institutionalise zakat and sadaqat.”(NAN)