From Shrines to Mosques, From Trains to Buses, From Public places to Traffic lights all filled with Collectors & Beggars
Syed Kaleem Geelani
The annual coming of the month of Ramadan is always the special moment for believers, due the numerous amounts of virtues in this month. Rewards, and forgiven of Allah spread across every single second & place during this sacred month of Ramdan. One who realizes how small the preparation he has to welcome the day of judgement later on, will be very pleased with the outcome of this month of Ramadan. One who acknowledges how many sins he has committed, will have no other feeling but happiness & joy in the month of Ramadan.
One of the doors that Allah has opened to his slaves to gain big rewards in the month of Ramadan is through Donations or Sadaqa (Giving charity/Alms). Islam always advises its followers to give plenty of charities, especially during the month of Ramadan.
Charity is one of the most honoured deeds. Allah Almighty urges it in his noble Book as He says; They who have loaned Allah a good loan & who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so, He will multiply it for him & he will have noble rewards. Charity has great rewards that is why our Prophet (SAW) urged it on many occasions in his Sunnah & clarified that charity never reduces ones wealth rather it increases it. If the charity is given in Ramadan, then its reward is combined with the honour of time.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world transform their lives into a absolute Islamic way by exhibiting the changes of praying, sympathy, truthful, caring behaviour, loving attitude, donations & good deeds. The sacred month of Ramadan comes as a sigh of relief & hope for the poor, downtrodden & needy people to live their lives & feed their families in a good way.
This month has a significant importance in the lives of poor & needy people as this month brings out a joy & happiness in their lives. In order to get fullest out of Ramadan, shrines, mosques, trains, buses, markets & public places etc are filled with collectors & beggars. To our utter surprise, on traffic signals we come to see a new show, the begging children mostly non locals wait for the red light to blink & start cleaning the mirrors of vehicles to take away their part in a different way. The person inside the vehicle is left with no option other than donating something.
However, the generosity exhibited by people with the arrival of the blessed month of Ramadan drives more & more people to beg. Taking advantage of this generosity & give away behaviour due to Ramadan, some people change their way of lives & pretend to be beggars & helpless. Healthy & young people who can earn their livelihood comfortably prefer to go for the practice of begging as it seems to them the easiest way to earn money. On the other hand, the women folk are more forward & talented than men in this profession.
They come up with torn clothes & burqas to work in an effective way. The people upon looking on their deteriorating conditions give away whatever is possible for them without letting them even say anything. The conditions for the collecting the money have reached to such extent that now the families with good source of income go out on this easiest way of collecting money. They travel long distances from their localities so as to save their respect & honour in their locality. As a result, the poor people are getting poorer & richer are getting richer.
These people are becoming big hurdles for the upliftment of deserving & poor families & they continue to live in their miserable conditions because they are not getting the donations which were actually meant for them.
Once i saw a women showing the picture of a child & claiming him to be her only son suffering from cancer disease, a large number of people were donating towards her blindly without not even bothering to know that is the boy in the picture really his son. On the next day, I saw another women holding the same photograph in the other locality claiming him to be her only son suffering from cancer disease.
My mouth was shut & I couldn’t say even a word. To my surprise, these were the same people who had donated on the same picture last day with other women claiming him to be her only son. This is the state of consciousness & seriousness for donations in the way of Allah. A person doesn’t bothers about donating & donates with his closed eyes in the way of Allah.
If it would had been a deal with someone or something filled with worldly desires then the people would have checked it & verified it thousand times before giving away. This kind of carelessness is not acceptable & it doesn’t count into the bank of one’s Sadaqa.
Some days before, I saw begging in a new way. The beggar was requesting to donate only a rupee by saying that ‘Ek rupaiye dedo, Ek rupaiye se kya hoga‘. The people were impressed by such a way of begging & everyone donated more than rupee.
In Kashmir, at the onset of Ramadan huge no of non local beggars have proliferated all through the Kashmir valley. There is a huge mania of non local beggars across Kashmir valley especially in Srinagar city. They take the advantage of traffic lights & collect a huge amount of money. The number of non local beggars keeps on rising day by day. They can be seen roaming in localities, entering in compounds of homes which make it unsafe for residents.
They are well trained in this practice with teenagers & children wandering the streets both naked & half naked, & their women won’t let you go until you pay them. A person while talking to me on the issue of non local beggars said that, some people have seen them with local rowdies, on drugs during the evenings & indulging in immoral activities which can deeply hurt the social fabric of the society.
This profession is growing in our streets day by day. Some people indulge in this profession in a very honourable & respectable way. They use different ways & techniques to save their honour. They can be seen collecting alms with receipts of orphanages, darasgahs, and mosques etc which in reality do not exist anywhere. I will share here an personal incident which was seen by my eyes.
A collector having long beard on this face was claiming to be collecting donations for a Darasgah at some place. After collecting the donations in local masjid shareef, I called him & asked him about all the info regarding the darasgah but unfortunately he couldn’t provide the valid info. To verify it, I contacted the some people of the same locality for which he was collecting the money & I was shocked to hear from them that there was no such darasgah in their locality.
He ran away while i was verifying the facts on phone. This may be the story of most of the collectors who come up from covering long distances to collect the donations. These collectors are plundering & looting people & the people are letting them to loot them with their hands.
Most of the people hold a very senseless opinion for donating by saying that it doesn’t matter for whom we donate, our intentions matter as we help them for the sake of Allah & we donate on this away. They need to rethink & reconsider their opinion as seeking the mercy & forgiveness from Allah is not only the motive of donating, but it has been compulsory by Allah so as to improve the economic conditions of poor & needy people. The donations are only meant for needy ones.
Donating blindly & carelessly without knowing where it goes can never been counted as a good dead because the needy one for which the donations are meant for remains the same downtrodden & needy as he was before. The donations are meant for to bring the change in the lives of needy people.
What to do?
As everyone knows Zakat has been made compulsory for everyone whosoever lives his life comfortably & feeds his family in a adequate way. We need to think upon the above points & bring a change in ourselves.
The need of the hour is to change our giving away practice by checking the credibility & validity of such darasgahs & mosques which are not known to us, so as to donate our money in a right & deserving way, We also need to check the credibility of beggars roaming all around with fake pictures of their family members & with selfmade fake disease certificates. There a lots of trustworthy options to donate our money in a right way. Our local masjid ‘Bait ul Mal‘ is a good option to donate & we remain informed about where our money has gone.
We need to donate towards trustworthy organisations, trusts & darasgahs in our respective areas. We need to refrain from giving away donations to healthy & young people who are well able to earn their livelihood & feed their families by working in different walks of life, instead of them donate towards disabled ones.
Moreover, there are some credible & trustworthy institutes operational in valley such as Cancer Society of Kashmir etc who no doubt are playing an important role in saving the precious lives of people & helping poor & needy people in every possible way. I will end up here with this phrase,
Whatever we donate, Wherever we donate
Donate in a deserving & trustworthy way!!
The author is a Freelance Writer & can be reached at Kaleemgeelani11@gmail.com