ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (eTN) – The month of Ramadan is entering into its last quarter, and that is increasing philanthropy activities in Pakistan. Muslims during this holy month of Ramadan usually not only fast, but also do charity work, because it is said that Muslims should help Muslims, as well as non-Muslims, who are needy. There are many compensatory duties regarding charity in Islam, including Zakat and Fitrana. Both are usually done in this month of Ramadan.
Zakat al-Fitr is charity given to the poor at the end of the fasting in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The word Fitr means the same as Iftar – breaking a fast – and it comes from the same root word as Futoor, which means breakfast.
The main purpose of Zakat al-Fitr is to provide the poor with a means with which they can celebrate the festival of breaking the fast (Eid al-Fitr) along with the rest of the Muslims.
Every Muslim is required to pay Zakat al-Fitr at the conclusion of the month of Ramadan as a token of thankfulness to God for having enabled him or her to observe the obligatory fast.
The significant role played by Zakat in the circulation of wealth within the Islamic society is also played by the Sadaqat al-Fitr. However, in the case of Sadaqat al-Fitr, each individual is required to calculate how much charity is due from himself and his dependents, and to go into the community in order to find those who deserve such charity. Thus, Sadaqat al-Fitr plays a very important role in the development of the bonds of community.
The rich are obliged to come in direct contact with the poor, and the poor are put in contact with the extremely poor. This contact between the various levels of society helps to build real bonds of brotherhood and love within the Islamic community and trains those who have, to be generous to those who do not have.
Several organizations, like Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Charity Foundation, Edhi Foundation, Sahara Foundation, and the Red Crescent Authority, have taken the lead in this noble task of serving the deserving people by organizing Iftar programs.
Charities are coming from immigrant Pakistanis from all over the world, particularly from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile some foreign organizations are also doing charities and providing food, clothes, and even medicines to poor and needy people. In such activities, the UAE embassy in Islamabad is leading, compared to any other foreign organization.
These Iftar programs are being held in compliance with the directive of the President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the UAE has been purposefully engaged in Iftar programs, which besides provision of food stuff, readymade meals are also included in distribution of alms and clothes to orphan children and the needy on the eve of Eid ul Fitr. The UAE ambassador to Islamabad Essa Abdulla Al Basha Al Noauimi, since the beginning of the holy month, has been distributing among needy families, large quantities of dates, which were sent by the UAE Red Crescent. At least 50,000 tons of dates have been distributed across the country as part of its continuing Ramadan programs, it said.
A delegation of the Khalifa Charity Foundation specially flew into Pakistan to distribute twenty tons of dates and 150,000 bags of flour in some districts of southern Punjab and the Balochistan provinces.
Another initiative was launched by the Director of the “UAE Project to Assist Pakistan,” Abdulla Al Ghafli, under which a consignment of 160 tons of flour were transported to Khyber Pukhtoonkhaw. This was meant for the families of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who had to leave their homes as a result of the military operation against the militants in South Waziristan. The IDPs had to take shelter in camps in KPK, and this project would benefit about 20,000 such families.
With the advent of the holy month of Ramadhan, the Red Crescent through its branch office in Islamabad, had distributed dry food rations for a month to 211 families housed in a UAE-built compound in Khalifa city, in Garhi Habibullah, a Mansehra district. It also hosted Iftar in several districts of the province.\
The Iftar programs were held in orphanages; occupants of welfare homes and schools; community centers; and for special persons, the elderly, and other deserving people. The UAE organizations have shown special care to patients and pre-medic staff in poly clinics Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad, Holy Family, and District Hospital Rawalpindi. The press release quoted a senior diplomat as saying that such programs could help reduce some worries of certain segments of the society and would bring happiness, comfort, and brotherly feelings among the people of both countries.