Many of us naturally love people around us. We want to help. We want to be there when people are in need. We want to celebrate when things go well, and more importantly, we want to live in the hope that if we are ever in need, we would be shown the same love. It is in our Fitra. It is what pushes us to give back to our community. It is what pushes us to reach out to our community for help.
It has been 8 years since we started National Zakat Foundation (NZF) Australia in 2013. Everyday, I wake up looking forward to helping people in need with Zakat but also assisting people to calculate & pay their Zakat and fulfil their obligation. I always thought to myself, there are two reasons we do this at NZF –
- there is a local need and
- the fear of us not fulfilling this obligation of Zakat, a pillar of Islam.
However, recently I’ve begun to realise that what drives us is much bigger. It is an intrinsic sense of love. Love for Allah. Love for our Deen. Love for our brothers and sisters, right here in the community we live in. It is this Love, that drives us to do the work we do, difficult as it may be, to assist those in need around us, establish the pillar of Zakat and transform this amazing community we love.
Earlier this year, one of our team members attended a fundraising event for an organisation run by new Muslims (reverts/converts). The event itself was beautiful and moving, and very well organised. During the event, our team member found out that the organiser was a previous beneficiary of Zakat through NZF; a sister we had helped through her most difficult times as a new Muslim. Today, she is a successful Muslimah who has healed from her traumas, grown in love with Islam, in pursuit of her dream career, and a community leader. At a micro level, just in this one interaction, our team member had an overwhelming sense of love for the sister who is now running her own organisation. It was clear to see that the sister in turn had a strong love for the community, which is what drove her to start this organisation, and this is exactly how your Zakat is transforming our community!
We have received over 14,000 cases since 2013 and around 6,000 people who have paid their Zakat to NZF. Can you imagine the number of connections created through these thousands of actions of Zakat payments and Zakat distributions? It is these interactions that is continually fuelling the love in our community, driving a generational transformation, right here, right now. And I can see it around me – a surge in Muslim entrepreneurs, a rise in Muslim graduates, an increase in the number of our Mosques and more.
So, the next time you think about Zakat as an obligation, think of the love it creates between you and Allah. The next time you hear about someone in need, think about the love it creates between that person and the community. Reflect on the love you have deep down for your brothers & sisters around you and while Zakat is an obligation in Islam, know that the joy of helping others comes from a place of love beyond our finite existence.