Muscat – Zakah Committee Muttrah aims to support 450 needy families this Ramadan through donations for which information desks have been set up in Lulu Darsait, Nesto Wadi Kabir, City Centre Qurum and other commercial centres.
Eager to increase the number of families and individuals it supports every year, besides providing aid in the form of food to needy families, the committee will offer financial help too. “We will support one family every third day of Ramadan. We have identified people who have defaulted on their loans – some are already in jail and others who will end up in jail if we don’t help,” said Salim bin Mohammed al Ghamari, chairman of Zakah Committee Muttrah.
The committee has shortlisted 450 families, from more than 1,500 applications, and estimated a cost of RO45,000 for the charity programmes it intends to run this Ramadan.
In 2021, Zakah Committee Muttrah collected RO155,000 and supported 3,755 families comprising 9,700 individuals through the year. “In 2022, we wish to support more families for which we need donations of over RO300,000,” said Ghamari.
Stringent beneficiary criteria and transparency
The committee has a stringent monitoring and selection process to identify its beneficiaries. “If someone approaches us to receive zakah or donations, we ask them to submit a bank statement, salary certificate of the applicant and any other working family member, rent details, utility expenses, and loan and installment details,” Ghamari added.
“We calculate the income of the whole family and decide if the applicant is eligible for zakah. We pay an amount based on the number of family members. If the family is big, we pay a bigger amount.”
Every wilayat in the sultanate has a Zakah Committee connected to a central database. Applications for assistance in more than one wilayat are automatically rejected. “We have a clear and transparent system. If someone wishes to know where we have distributed zakah, we can provide a statement of the exact account of the transactions – where and to whom we have paid his or her zakah amount. The details will include the names and phone numbers of beneficiaries. They can be called directly if anyone wants to crosscheck,” Ghamari informed.
Portal of trust and convenience
Zakah committees fall within the administrative structure of the Ministry of Awqaaf and Religious Affairs. The ministry has a portal – https://zakah.om/ – through which those interested can donate.
“The zakah e-portal has various programmes to chose from to support the needy, including programmes in wilayats across the sultanate,” Ghamari said.
Besides zakah, donors can give sadaqah (voluntary donation) and kaffarah (atonement) on the e-portal. Beneficiary categories listed in the portal include orphans, the underprivileged, school and university students, new Muslims, prisoners’ families, the elderly, widows, disaster victims, the disabled, jobseekers, patients, insolvent debtors and divorcees.
Zakah payments account for over 70 per cent of the total funds collected through the portal.
Ghamari noted that the distribution of zakah is limited as per sharia guidelines, while sadaqah donations are more flexible to spend and have more scope to run various initiatives.
To donate directly to Zakah Committee Muttrah, call 95194269/92713115.
(Text by Syed Fasiuddin)