As the holy month of Ramzan ended on Thursday and the Muslim community welcomes Eid on Friday, zakat (charity) offered by community members over the month is now serving several social causes in the city.
The Modern Educational Social and Cultural Organisation (MESCO) based in Mahim has received zakat contributions amounting to Rs 1.6 crore in the last one month, and members are expecting the figure to grow over the next few days.
"Our trust provides education fees for underprivileged children and helps in their medical care. The zakat money helps us reach out to more people," said Azeem Ansari, an official with MESCO, which had received a similar amount last year as well. MESCO had set up a Zakat fund and maintained separate accounts, and even offered a zakat calculator on their website.
The concept of zakat entails that every capable and well-settled Muslim must donate at least 2.5% of his wealth to the underprivileged members of the community during Ramzan.
The Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) set up a Zakat Fund this year to encourage community members to contribute towards education and employment. "We have got a very good response in our first year itself, through which we can now enable ten youths in setting up small businesses to support their families," said Aamir Idrisi, president, AMP.
The Zakat Foundation of India, Delhi, also sees a surge in donations during the holy month. "While we get donations from the community throughout the year, it doubles during Ramzan," said Irfan Baig, secretary of the organisation. The Foundation aids community members in education, particufor civil services exams.
However, for man, the meaning of zakat is in directly helping those in need. "I get satisfaction only when I offer zakat to the needy face-to-face. In Ramzan, I keep large quantities of grains in my car, and when I come across a dargah where people have gathered for zakat, I offer it to them," says Jahaanvi Farhad, of Goregaon.