Major Sheikh Seidu Adam, Chief Imam of the Ghana Armed Forces, on Wednesday bemoaned the reluctance of Ghanaian Muslims to pay Zakat (tithe), a pillar of Islam, which is an obligation they had to fulfil as adherents of the religion.
"Allah has endowed many of us with abundant wealth, in gold and silver, in merchandise goods, in agricultural produce, in live stock, in income and wages, fleet of vehicles, mansions, goods and services which qualify us to pay Zakat but many of us are adamant and reluctant to fulfil this obligation".
"Just as we pay serious attention to the Ramadan and the Hajj, we should observe the Zakat accordingly, for on the day of judgement Allah would hold us accountable", he said at the celebration of the Eid-ul-Adha, the festival of sacrifice, at the Al-Aziz Central Mosque at Burma Camp in Accra.
Eidul Adha is celebrated by Muslims worldwide in commemoration of Ibrahim's (Abraham's) willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael (Isaac) for Allah. The occasion also culminates the rituals of the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Sheikh Adam, who centred his sermon on the theme: "Zakat as a Solution to Poverty Alleviation", called on Ghanaian Muslims to observe the payment of Zakat to serve as a solid financial base for Muslims to address the problem of secular education and other needs of the community, in addition to government's efforts to better their lot.
He reminded them that Islam prescribed the Zakat, which empowered the Muslim sect as a body to generate revenue to help alleviate poverty within the society in the areas of food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education and capital for commercial ventures to improve the earning of the poor so that they could also pay Zakat in return.
"Islam therefore, makes the payment of Zakat a compulsory ordinance upon the rich. This is a divine order.
"The blessing of the Zakat will serve as a spiritual insurance and security against all forms of disaster and investment for worldly and heavenly bliss. It will also go a long way to free society from envy, enmity, greed, aggression and all forms of such evils and then foster good will and warm wishes for the contributor", he said.
Sheikh Adam thus proposed that the Muslim community in Ghana put measures in place for the education, collection, supervision and disbursement and accountability of the Zakat.
He said, it would be necessary to have a central Zakat Fund where collection of the Zakat could be made from the district, regional and national levels for the implementation of the fund, so that at the end of every year, the Muslim community would know where to put the Zakat to.