Islam and community development

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The practice of community development has been necessary for almost every nation and is practiced in various ways through governmental or non-governmental efforts. The main theme includes service delivery and problem solving at the local level with maximum participation of community members without any discrimination. Community development is the result of the joint efforts of members of the local community to promote their collective well-being and improve their lives. It means a philanthropic gesture or initiative that is made with a view to bringing about a change for the betterment of the life of the community.

Community development focuses on solving community problems and bringing about positive change. All community development initiatives bring about social change and Islam also believes in it. Community development improves the quality of life and Zakat is an ideal example of this in Islam. Religion Islam guides its followers to help the needy through various services and community development also emphasizes service delivery. Islam and community development embrace the principles of self-help and social justice and bring stability and solidarity in the community. Community development practitioners should be guided by Islamic practices to work better in local communities.

Islam has brought about real and practical changes in all areas of life, that is, social, economic, moral and political transformation. Islam has guided changes in the social structure to build a changed society as a whole. Islam gives very clear and comprehensive concepts to improve the quality of life. Muslims are guided to work hard to survive and meet their needs, which could improve their daily lives. Islam makes its followers responsible for themselves and for society as well.

The tools of equitable distribution of wealth in the Islamic economic system for the overall development of the Society can be divided into two categories, namely compulsory institutions and non-compulsory institutions, the contents of the former being Zakat, while the latter consists of Waqf, Sadaqas and Infaq etc., Both the Quran and the Hadith have emphasized this. Zakat is a religious institution to fight poverty and promote well-being in Society, regardless of religion. It is a social pillar encouraging Muslims to bring social justice and equity to communities. It improves the quality of life for various types of community members. It is a beautiful and practical system of equitable distribution of wealth among members of the community.

The Waqf also plays a vital role in improving the quality of life of poor communities. It is an important socio-economic institution in the Islamic State and a powerful institution for community facilitation that provides social, medical and educational initiatives in the community. Nevertheless, Islam remains as a clear outline of how those key concepts and principles should be implemented. The participation of all members of the community is necessary. The man must do something good for the community and prevent any negative things that may affect the community. In other words, this means that Islam generalizes the goal of each concept, including the made of behavior who finally able for to develop their communities by placing them as the best among the rest

Meanwhile, Sadaqas (charity) has no fixed percentage and one is free to pay it as many times as one can afford or feel inclined. Infaq is essentially a pious expenditure in the way of Allah. It has significant importance in Islamic economic principles, in reference to the redistribution of wealth and the eradication of poverty for the development of society. Khums refers to the religious obligation required of every Muslim to pay one-fifth of his wealth acquired from certain sources towards specified causes

Islam is against injustice, inequality and discrimination. Social relations among Muslims are based on the concept of sacrifice where they share part of their finances for virtue and they gain feelings of community consciousness. The Holy Quran says “Justice is not whether you turn your faces east or west, but justice is he who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book and the prophets and gives wealth, despite love for her, to parents, to orphans, to the needy, to travelers, to those who ask for help and to free slaves, establishes prayer and gives zakah, fulfills their promise when they promise, and the patient in poverty and hardship and in battle, who have been truthful, and they are the ones who are righteous.” (Surat Al-Baqarah, 2:177)

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW), said: “Charity does not diminish wealth and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect; and he who shows humility, Allah exalts him in the esteem (of the people). (Muslim)

(Writer: M Ahmad, formerly Incahrge Abhedananada Home-Higher Secondary Institution for Inclusive Education, Solina, Srinagar, J&K and can be contacted at [email protected])

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