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The shameful donation enterprise and the wake-up call to muslims

Sat, 19 Jul 2014 Source: Mohammed, Inusah

When I relayed the matter to the diligent painter, his response was not only funny, but surprising as well. Not forgetting the fact that it was an apt and a very logical answer. This painter responded in Hausa “Ni waawa nei, ko hankali na baashi gida nei? Kana kashe dan uwa na, kana baani abinchi?” (To wit; am I a fool or am I a non-compos mentis, you are killing my brother and you are feeding me?)

The issue he was responding to was the donation of 200 kilograms of rice and sugar each to the National Imam of Ahlu-Sunna wal Jamah (according to them, to support the Nima community and the Muslim community in Ghana in their Ramadan fasting) by the Israel embassy on the 11th of July, 2014. The presentation was done by the Deputy Ambassador of Israel, Eyal Lampert.

The first time I also heard it, I got shocked to the marrow and the erectile hairs on my skin got raised. The news also received a whole lot of backlash from the Muslim community especially those on the social media. The reactions had less to do with the donation and more to do with the timing of it.

The donation came at a time when the state of Israel had unleashed its severest act of savagery yet on our Muslim brothers and sisters in faraway Palestine. Innocent souls were being slaughtered and the surviving ones could not tell the night from the day because of the anarchical state in which they found themselves.

The later rejection of the items and returning of it was a step in the right direction although it will do nothing or little to mollify the battered spirit of Muslims in Ghana and salvage our bruised image. This is due to the fact that ‘the harm” as said “had already been done” as the donation exercise had wider coverage and blown through the ‘media vuvuzela’ (social media) into outer space.

Several explanations have come out from several quarters of the Muslim community. Notably, the office of the National Chief Imam, the office of the Imam of Ahlu-Sunna wal Jamah and some individuals whose actions have rendered the Muslim community in Ghana in this state of ridicule and mockery in the eyes of the world.

The back and forth of the issue has left in its wake, a number of questions to be answered.

• Who is to blame, at the end of the disgrace caboodle?

• Who acted as the representative of the Israel embassy?

• Who dragged the Imam of Ahlu-Sunna into this shameful enterprise?

• Is the office of the Imam of Ahlu-Sunna so weak and attenuated that any crook can come around and pick him up under the pretext of the Chief Imam’s calling and entangle him in a web of humiliation?

• So after the numerous dealings between the two great Imams, one office cannot ascertain an official envoy from the other?

• So of all the schemes and plots of the Jews in Ghana (as we are made to believe in the other vein that they deceived the Imam), they had no way of involving us with them than under the enticement of rice and sugar?

The last question raises another serious issue that has eaten into the fiber and fabric of the Muslim leadership and community in its entirety. Anyone who wants a favor from the Muslim community just brings some ‘chufunta’ rice and sugar and we fall for him flat. Hook, line and sinker! In the times past, politicians had hoodwinked us by sharing these things; it is very rife especially in the political spheres of our Zongo communities where you see members of the party in power fighting one another just because of a donated tin of milk, cup of rice or box of sugar. The horrendous aspect of it is the fact that, that is the yardstick used to determine the ‘hardworking’ politician in our communities. He who gives more rice and sugar wins. That is how low we have sunk.

Just recently, The Independent newspaper reported “Chief Imam endorses Alan Cash” just because Alan K. Kyeremanteng, an aspiring flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party had donated some gallons of oil, rice and other things not worth the caption given it, to the National Chief Imam.

Perhaps, the unfortunate Israel embassy incident should trigger the culture of change. We should move away from such irresponsible actions. No wonder we hold the largest number of mendicants spread across the length and breadth of the land and anyone who is not even a Muslim who finds himself in that business pretends to be one. This is seriously far from Islam. It is not and can never be Islam.

Our religion exhorts us to be more of givers and not the always cup-in-hand receivers. It is this premium placed on giving that the religion has Zakat as its third pillar. Zakat or alms-giving is talked about in the Quran in not less than thirty verses. “The payment of Zakat benefits the person paying, the person receiving and the community as a whole. By improving the status of the poor and the needy, we also improve the economy of the community. Everyone gains from the simple but effective system of bringing the poor and needy closer to the wealthy. The constant circulation of wealth within the community, as opposed to being hoarded in banks or spent on lavish material items, improves society and reduces economic hardships, jealousy, crime etc. the recipient of Zakat are assisted towards self-sufficiency. The Zakat may enable them to start their own businesses. This will give them wealth, taking them from being a recipient of Zakat to a payer of it.” This truth was stated by Mohammed Thompson in his book “Basic Principles of Islam.”

Apart from Zakat, Muslims, regardless of the weight of their purse are exhorted to give especially in Ramadan.

The Prophet is reported to have said “The hand that is up (the hand that gives) is better than the hand that is down (the hand that receives).

The shameful donation enterprise should be the wake-up call!

NB: The writer is a student of Tafsiliyya School for training and education.

Columnist: Mohammed, Inusah