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Supporting The Elderly and Disabled In Islam

The religion of Islam preaches about equality and fairness. No human being is superior to another. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself stated as such on the Mountain of Arafat in His last sermon:

”No Arab has superiority over a Non-Arab and no Non-Arab has superiority over an Arab.”

All men are created equal was the message with every individual born to the same rights as any other person. The right to live a free life, get an education, start a family and live a good life even if they are disabled or elderly. Both the Quran and Hadiths hold specific instructions and information about the rights of the disabled. The concept of charity was designed for the very purpose of helping those who cannot support themselves or their families. The disabled and those who are in debt are one of the 8 types of people who can receive Zakat donations.

Even if a person is disabled, they may be gifted in other ways. There is an inspiring tale to that effect. There was once a man by the name of Abdullah Ibn Masoud. His legs were very weak, small and tiny. However he was gifted at explaining the teachings of the Holy Quran. Once, a group of people made a joking remark about his legs. The Prophet (PBUH) was standing nearby. He stopped them immediately and said.

“What makes you laugh? For the legs of Ibn Masoud are heavier on the scale on Judgment day than the Mountains of Uhuhd”.

 This just goes to show that the physical defects in a human being don’t overshadow his true worth in the eyes of Allah (SWT). According to Hadiths, Allah (SWT) will show mercy on the Day of Judgement to those who showed kindness on Earth to His creation and provided assistance to the weak during their lifetime.

The Role of Relief Aid Organisations

Zakat foundations and relief aid organisations have been instrumental in assisting scores of people who are in dire need of help. From local programmes which team people about skilled learning and provide small loans to large scale relief aid campaigns such as for the people of Syria and Myanmar, charity organisations have been instrumental in coming to the aid of humanity. They reach out to those who need help, especially if they are physically or mentally incapable of taking care of themselves. This is where Zakat donations play a huge role in their lives. The very concept of Zakat was designed for the betterment of the lives of other Muslims. Unlike charity which is not mandatory, Zakat is an obligation due on all Muslims who are financially secure and meet Nisaab values. It can be given during the month of Ramadan along with Zakat-ul-Fitr. It is highly advised that people paying Zakat give their contributions to those who are disabled or elderly as they are one of the recipients of Zakat donations.

This Ramadan be sure to remember those who are less fortunate in your prayers and give Zakat to the needy, the poor, the elderly and the disabled. 

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