Stories about zakat

#IStandWithEdhi: Making a video defaming the Edhi Centre is easy, but can you be as selfless as Edhi?

I recently came across a distressing video on Facebook where a woman with perfect makeup and a dupatta pinned to her head was going on about something she felt strongly about. I wasn’t bothered by her appearance as such; I was actually concerned about what she was saying and who she was saying it about. The woman was standing outside the Edhi Centre and talking about the filth and cruelty she had witnessed there. She said it was better to kill people rather than keep them in such conditions. After giving an emotional speech for around three minutes, she showed a room with inadequate bedding and some children sitting inside. ...

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An open letter to AJK Chief Justice Muhammad Ibrahim Zia

Respected AJK Chief Justice Muhammad Ibrahim Zia, According to newspaper reports, you have announced that the annual salary increments of those working in your court will be based on “how regularly they offer their prayers”. You also declared that you would lead some of the prayers yourself, ostensibly to observe which of the court’s officers offer prayers and to secretly check whether they are complying with your order or not. Your honour, do you realise that your order violates Islam’s injunction which clearly states that there ‘should be no compulsion in Islam’ (Surah Baqarah, verse 256)? Since those who do not ...

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Why isn’t anything being done about the 10,000 ghost madrassas in Sindh?

Sindh, the southern province of Pakistan, has always been an epicentre of progressive political parties which keep a close check over the spread of religious militancy and violent extremism in their constituencies. Even though Sindh has been a secular and progressive region, where Sufi traditions have never let the militant mind-set prevail, the province still supports tens of thousands of madrassas (Islamic religious schools). There’s just one problem: many of these supposed madrassas don’t actually exist. A meeting, between the officials of Sindh, held in May at the chief minister’s house in the provincial capital of Karachi, was told by the inspector general ...

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This is, unabashedly, a Xmas toy drive plea

Full disclaimer: I’m writing this because the lovely blogs editor who sits across the room from me thinks it’s important you and I discuss my toy drive. So hello reader, let me tell you about the Xmas Toy Drive. Ok, that sounds like the pen pal letter some poor sod wrote in fifth grade and then wondered if the reply got lost in the mail. As you can see, I’m not very good at selling myself — no pun intended. But see, here’s the thing, I don’t need you to buy something from me. I can’t sell you much to begin ...

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Pakistanis open their wallets in Ramazan, but do they open their hearts?

Ramazan – the month of giving. As one of the world’s most charitable nations, and with the desire to earn an even higher reward than other months, Pakistanis open their hearts and wallets in Ramazan. The same holds true for Muslims all over the world. This is heart-warming and wonderful, but with just one exception. Somehow, somewhere, we have made this “giving” a justification for extravagance, excessive spending, and consequent showing off. The common understanding is that if I am giving my prescribed percentage of Zakat, and also a bit of additional charity, it justifies any amount of money that ...

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When fasting becomes a sin

It was the October of 2005, during the month of Ramazan, when a devastating earthquake claimed close to a hundred thousand lives in the north of Pakistan, and injured just as many. I had the opportunity to serve the victims of this tragedy in the Kashmiri city of Bagh. Of the many things I vividly remember is caring for some men and women with life-threatening injuries who refused treatment because they were fasting. They considered it a grave sin to break the fast. As a medical professional, this was especially frustrating for me. Similarly, we have all come across pregnant women who suffered ...

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If I live in Finland, do I have to fast for 23 hours a day?

In the region of the earth above the Arctic Circle called ‘the land of the midnight sun,’ the sun does not rise for several months in winter or set for several months in summer. In Finland, the sun stays above the horizon for seventy days at a stretch. What are Muslims in such regions to do if Ramazan occurs during one of these summer periods? A response to this question on one of the forums online was that “the midnight sun is a myth and that there is no such thing”. The respondent added that the days are very long in these ...

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Shaving Privates Ryan

Alfred Noble invented the dynamite in order to facilitate mining. His invention was misused and resulted in one of the highest death tolls of humans by any weapon. You can’t control the consuming end. Considering that, if you fear your product might be misused, just don’t sell it and avoid the doubts – especially when your reasons are based on religious grounds. See, many people buy cucumbers but not all of them eat them. Some just use them for garnishing and throw them away. Don’t get the wrong idea, people. As is seen in the picture above, this is what I ...

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More than just cancer

I stared at him, not being able to comprehend what he had just said. Had I heard correctly? Was he really saying what I had just heard? Did those words really come out of his mouth? Tears started welling up in my eyes and my hands started trembling. I felt as if the whole world had just come to a halt. I looked at the person sitting next to me, equally astonished. What is this? My doctor had just told me that I had stage three cancer and that I would require surgery urgently to stop the cancer from spreading even further in my body. I just could not accept ...

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Is Islam better practised in the West?

Most people are very quick to point out the flaws and imperfections of Western lifestyle, citing promiscuity, free flowing alcohol, homosexuality, gay marriage and a free mixing of sexes as the main ingredients in its destruction and thus its aberration from Islam.  However, I personally think Islam is implemented in a much more effective manner in the West than it is in Pakistan. Why? Well for several reasons – the social welfare system, the cleanliness of streets, the unacceptability of discrimination, the freedom to practice your religion and a system which protects women and recognises their rights as commensurate with men. Social welfare By social welfare, ...

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