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Akintola proposes Ummah Development Fund (UDF)

Akintola proposes Ummah Development Fund (UDF)

In a lecture delivered by Professor Ishaq Akintola, the director of the Muslim Rights Concern at the Annoor Mosque, Abuja, on Saturday 21st September, 2019, he opined that although Nigerian Muslims have the right to go on hajj as many times as they wish, in reality, hajj is only expected to be performed once in a lifetime.

However, he said, Nigerian Muslims overdo it by going on hajj and Umrah every year. According to Akintola, those who do so earn more rewards from Allah but they end up making Saudi Arabia richer while Nigeria becomes poorer.

Akintola added, “It is time for strategic thinking. There is no time to lose. Muslim leaders must establish the Ummah Development Fund (UDF) in order to improve the economic condition of Nigerian Muslims.

“While those Muslims who go on hajj and Umrah every year should be allowed to do so because they are merely exercising their Allah-given fundamental human right of freedom of worship as entrenched in Section 38 (i) & (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, they should be made to contribute to the Ummah Development Fund.

“Those going on hajj or Umrah for the second, third or more times should be made to pay to the Ummah Development Fund. Anyone repeating hajj should pay 5% of the total cost as his contribution to the UDF while those repeating Umrah should pay 13%.

“Disbursement of UDF should go to the education, health, humanitarian and economic sectors of Nigerian Muslims in this manner : 60% to education (establishment of more Islamic universities); 20% to health (establishment of Muslim hospitals); 10% to humanitarian services (for taking care of Muslim widows, orphans and other vulnerable Muslims) and 10% to investments (building of halal hotels and other businesses).

“However, those who have never performed hajj or Umrah before should be exempted.

Laying more emphasis on his analysis, Akintola asked, “Where are Muslim hospitals? How many Islamic universities are in Nigeria? The total number of universities in Nigeria is 170. Out of this number, the Federal Government has 43, the state governments have 48 and 79 are private universities.

Buy the real tragedy is that out of the 79 private universities, only six (6) belong to Muslims. Muslim students are persecuted in those private universities which are owned by non-Muslims. They are forced to attend church services. Female Muslim students are not allowed to use hijab. Muslim students are denied the right to form Islamic associations like MSS. They are not allowed to observe salat as no space is allocated to mosques. Yet Nigerian Muslims continue to snore loud in their sleep. Who did this to Nigerian Muslims?

Akintola also added the Zakat angle to his proposed UDF.

“As at today, only those states practicing Shari’ah are collecting zakat officially. But what of millions of Muslims in the other states?

“I therefore suggest that Muslim communities in those remaining states should organise voluntary payment of zakat to be managed by tested and trusted Muslim leaders in their states. Zakat funds collected in the states should be used in the same manner as those collected on hajj and Umrah.

Akintola lamented the poor condition of Nigerian Muslims.

He said, “Too many Muslims are suffering. Employers of labour discriminate against Muslim job seekers. I am constrained to single out Muslim women whose employability is at the lowest level due to the Islamic dress code of hijab.

“The divinely ordained use of hijab often makes it impossible for Muslim women who use hijab to get jobs. For instance, the army, police, NDLEA, customs, immigrations advertised for recruitments this year (2019) but Muslim women in hijab could not apply.

About Mikail Mumuni