If Muslim leaders succeed in their efforts, Muslims from most sects in the country will soon be able to pool in their zakat money (Islamic charity) with a central fund before it is used for the downtrodden in the community.
On Wednesday, at the end of a two-day conference at the Haj House, more than 100 members and leaders from various Muslim sects across India came up with a plan not just to boost zakat collections, but also use them more effectively.
An ad hoc committee, tentatively called the Kul Hind Amanat Fund, has been set up to create a centralised ‘Baitulmal’ (house of funds) which will encourage the community to donate more by way of zakat and other forms of charity. With around 13 members joining on Wednesday, the committee is responsible for setting up a general body with a formal constitution in three months which will be registered as a national trust operating from Mumbai.
"Muslims give the highest amount of charity, but we continue to be the most backward community after 64 years of independence," said Dr Mohammed Ali Patankar, the brain behind the conference and the committee secretary. "The small amounts of charity given by Muslims at a local level have not helped the community tangibly."
Patankar believes a central fund will help in the efficient redressal of the larger problems of Indian Muslims.
"We are at least 20 crore Muslims in India. Even if each one gives a rupee a day we can raise Rs 20 crore," he said. The committee aims to raise Rs 10,000 crore in a year.