The world is grappling with high inflation and a cost of living crisis. There are accounts of people having to choose between food or fuel. There are children in what were deemed to be “developed countries” going hungry, missing breakfast and sleeping without the required nutritions for the day. One of the lessons of Zakat is growing together as a community. Growing together takes place in many forms, such as financially assisting one another, supporting one another, sharing more, caring more, and also planning strategically together to better allocate scarce resources. Whilst we cannot control macro-economic issues nor global variables, there are things we can do as individuals, households, and communities. The lesson are are as follows:
Actions as an individual:
- Make dua to Allah to grant ease and stability in the world.
- Work on your state of mind, and know that Allah is the Provider and all matters are ultimately settled with Allah.
- Increase in your faith and reliance on Allah.
- Manage one’s personal finances more effectively and efficiently.
- Save and invest more than one consumes.
- Use budgeting apps to help track income and expenses.
- Reduce unnecessary expenses. Being selective and prudent in spending is a highly beneficial practice.
- Reduce luxuries and lavish purchases. You don’t need a watch worth £1,000 and you don’t need clothing with particular labels. What can help you get by, be content with it. Contentment is key.
Actions as a household:
- Reduce junk consumption, whether that is food or binge watching subscriptions that have very utility and just waste time.
- Support your neighbours and look after each other.
- Work together to eliminate waste in the household. Waste is often far too high in houses. Don’t waste water, don’t waste electricity, don’t waste gas.
- Learn to share resources among yourselves as much as possible.
Actions as a community:
- As paradoxical as it sounds, give Sadaqah to those in your community who cannot take Zakat.
- Give Zakat to those who are eligible. This will attract the blessings of Allah and will actually increase you in wealth. Spending here is not vain consumption, it is production.
- Share as a community when possible, whether that is going to the Mosque in one car, doing shopping for one another, or simply taking the kids of another household with you for their swimming class.
- Give each other support in terms of faith and mental wellbeing. Everyone is going through their own challenges. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us to be there for others and be that ear to listen, hand to hold and shoulder to cry on. Be available for your community. Today, everyone is busy, to the extent that their profiles and status are ‘Busy’. Be the one that is available to hear the pains of the people.
By Mufti Faraz Adam, NZF Worldwide