This is an open letter to Islamic charities here, especially those calling for donations in mosques:
You collect a lot of money, including Zakat Al Fitr. This money is the right of the poor. Some of you ask for donations for Iftar meals and you may provide these in tents outside mosques, but you have to use all the money you collect on charitable work and give to the poor.
You can't keep a portion of it even for future charitable work because there are many poor people here.
You can't spend it only on one part of the community and leave out another, for example, spending on Arabs and leaving out expats. This is because zakat and donations belong to the poor. Allah didn't make a difference between Arab and non-Arab or Muslim and non-Muslim.
You take it from everyone, including non-Arabs, so how can you give it only to Arabs?
Have you given any money (sadaqaat) to car washers outside mosques or on the streets? Have you seen their condition and wondered if they needed help?
They stood in the hot sun during Ramadan, waiting for a car to wash which showed they were needy. What have you done to help them and ease their troubles this Ramadan?
Zakat, including Zakat Al Fitr, and regular donations should be first used to help the poor, including expats, before you send it to other countries.
When giving it out, you have to ensure that the beneficiary deserves it. If you give it to someone who owns a house and has a job with BD300 salary and ignore a person who rents a place, earns BD90 or doesn't have a job and depends on washing cars or collecting cans from the trash to resell, then you have done a wrong.
Those who don't own a house, don't have a job or whose salary is less than BD150 have the first right to this money.
After that come others - car-washers and those searching trash for items or those who don't have a breadwinner such as widows, divorcees, etc.
If you put donations in a bank account or use to buy a car for officials of your organisation, then it is a sin because there are people who are more needy and have a right to this money. And Allah will ask about it!
The money collected for Iftar meals should be used for the poor, not to pay for feasts for the rich. Charity officials who get huge salaries don't have any right to these meals. They should be donating from their salaries for Iftar meals instead of eating them.
Meals should be moderate, not luxurious like cakes and pizzas. Using zakat or donations for baking such things for officials is a sin. Using it to pay for gatherings and conferences where rich people and officials are invited is also a sin because the poor are denied their right. If officials want to hold such events, they should spend their money.
Hadrat Umar (Allah be pleased with him) didn't eat well because he said he couldn't eat well until everyone in his nation had the same meal as his.
So, you can't use zakat and other donations to live a life of luxuries when there are people who can't afford a proper meal, proper clothes or a proper living space.
It is not right to use donations to pay huge salaries to charity officials. Beware! Allah's punishment is severe.
Allah said in the Quran (Surah Al Baqarah, verses 34-35):
"O you who have believed, indeed many of the scholars and the monks devour the wealth of people unjustly and avert (them) from the way of Allah. And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah - give them tidings of a painful punishment. The Day when it will be heated in the fire of Hell and seared therewith will be their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, (it will be said), 'This is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you used to hoard'."(9: 34-35)
Does anyone check how much charities collect and how much they spend on charitable programmes or give to the poor?
I was upset when I saw charities asking for Zakat Al Fitr, which is the sole right of the poor. So many are still searching the trash for items to sell which means they didn't get any money from them.
Many people give money to charities instead of the poor which keeps them from getting their right.
Some countries arrest beggars but have they done a check on charities to find out how they deal with the poor?
There are verses in the Quran, instructing that the poor and beggars shouldn't be treated badly and that they have a right in the money of the rich.
There are hadiths and sayings of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) that a person's money doesn't become less if part of it is given in as charity. I have seen it.
Charity brings Allah's blessings to the giver, so their money and food are blessed and increased.
It also gives a person spiritual happiness, brings Allah's blessings and removes His anger. Not just individuals but the whole community benefits from giving charity.