Clerics take on joblessness among Muslims in India

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SHAFAQNA – The clerics of Dargah Aala Hazrat have decided to launch a campaign on the last day of the annual Urs-e-Razvi to combat unemployment in the community. In invitation posters to the annual Urs next month, visitors have been told to give the total amount of zakat money (mandatory alms) to one unemployed and poor person for setting up a business, rather than distributing it among scores of poor people.

The posters of invitation have been sent to followers of the Barelvi school of Islamic theology across the world on behalf of Hazrat Subhan Raza Khan alias Subhani Miyan, chairperson of the shrine. The poster mentions that the rate of unemployment among youth, and not just in the community, has been rising. India is counted among poor and backward countries of the world because of the high unemployment, the poster explains.

“However, nothing could be a better service to the country than if our community could come together to combat unemployment. Every person attending Urs should promise that they will donate the zakat to an unemployed and needy person, to assist him in setting up a business,” Subhani Miyan told TOI.

A mandatory donation in Islam, equal to 2.5% of a follower’s wealth, is collected from all those whose wealth and income exceed 52 tolas of silver a year. This is called zakat.

Maulana Mohammed Ehsan Raza Khan, the Sajjadanasheen (hereditary head) of the shrine said, “If an unemployed person becomes employed, he would be able to help other poor people. However, if the same amount is distributed among many poor people, it will not help in eradicating poverty.”

Besides the invitation posters which have been printed in Urdu, pamphlets in English and Hindi are also being readied for distribution among visitors to the Urs, set to begin from December 6.

“On the last day of the Urs, December 8, we will ask other clerics and followers to agree that they follow this advice for fighting unemployment among Muslim youth. We will ask them to raise their hands to confirm that they would give their zakat to an unemployed youth,” said Mufti Mohammed Salim Noori, who will be among the speakers at the event.

Noori said that instead of waiting for the government to create job opportunities, the community must begin to help itself.

The clerics have also planned a special workshop for Muslim women, to make them better aware of their rights on December 6. On the second day of the Urs, December 7, a conference will be organized to counter proposed changes to Muslim Personal Law and ensure better security for Indian Muslims.

The 97th Urs-e-Razvi of Aala Hazrat Imam Ahmed Raza, founder of the Barelvi movement, will be organized from December 6-8. Lakhs of followers routinely converge at Bareilly for this annual event. Nearly 50,000 clerics from across the country are expected to congregate at the Urs this year.

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