As we enter the holy month of Ramazan, one of the most important lessons for us all is not to forget those unfortunate people who struggle in their daily lives. These can be people who live on very low or no incomes, but also those who are impaired in one way or another in terms of their physical or psychological faculties and are unable to support themselves. We are told that Pakistanis are one of the most generous when it comes to charity. Most of this charity goes to mosques, religious institutions and organisations. The problem is that a sizeable chunk also goes to the huge professional begging rings that continue to operate the year round but in Ramazan grows in size and structure to absorb the larger amounts of charity. In fact, in the past we have seen beggars migrating from rural areas to our cities in droves when Ramazan approaches because they know that a lot of money can be earned in this month. This is an area where all Pakistanis have to give a serious thought.
There are a number of charities that are operating in the country in various fields and are doing a very good job. From ambulance services to homes for the poor and old, others operate hospitals, schools, clinics and welfare projects. We see some charities offering food to the hungry and others providing monetary help to those who need it most. We need to support these institutions instead of giving our money to individuals who have made begging a source of earning.
We should focus on identifying those organisations that are genuinely helping people less fortunate than us under some well thought-out strategy. It is these entities that need our support the most. But before we decide on who to give our charity or Zakat to, it is very important to investigate the activities of the organisation concerned so that our money is not misused as we have seen in some instances. We are responsible as to who we are giving charity to.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2017.