Monday, April 11, 2005

two point five

[Editing in blue.]

I love ironing, doing the dishes, laundry, and other stupid things that do not need a presence of mind. One's got to be careful, however, that the no-brainer ironing session is for heat resistent clothes only, the no-brainer dishwashing doesn't involve the guest-reserved fine china, and the laundry for idiots does not have sensitive colored clothes. This much of foreplanning allows for a relaxed session of manual activity that does not commission the mind. You can exorcise the demons of memory, solve the problems of the world, or create new ones of your own to engage the idle beautiful mind.

This morning while flattening out the creases off my stiff white cotton clothes, I decided that I finally agree with my major influencer and supporter Kamu: there is enough intellectualisation in the world. Time to act.

Add to this the following facts:

1. Mosques' potential as integrated community centers is greatly underutilized in this country. Thousands of mosques in central locations provide an excellent opportunity to bring the community together for sharing, service, and activities other than the merely "religious rites." That will be one cool way to develop the religion into deen (way of life).

2. Islam ordains 2.5% zakat (tax) on wealth.

3. Knowledge is power is wealth in today's world. Other scarce resources in today's world such as time, effort, and, well, education are also forms of wealth. They are also the economic currency of the modern world.

Why should we not pay zakat/tax on the wealth of information, time, minds, knowledge, physical ability that some have in excess to others? The mosque can be the "clearing house" for this zakat, which is paid in kind. And everyone is in need of this kind of zakat.

Voluntary (i.e. unpaid) education and community service must be obligatory for each adult male and female. The community must identify a number of projects for which a group of selected candidates provide their services. Others provide education and other services, such as daycare.

Some arrangement of this kind does happen in Bohra and Aga Khani jamaat khanas (community centers). It will be useful if such a program is regulated and spread far and wide in the country - starting from some model areas, of course.

Hmmm. I like the 2.5 program. :)


  1. Noble but idealistic thinking unfortunately. It will be very difficult to find people who agree with your definition of how to "pay out" zakat on information, time, minds, knowledge or physical ability. You'll probably even meet tough resistance from people who don't support the implementation of your ideas.

    Fat chance you'll have of turning a mosque into a community center here. Mosques are turfs of different groups, not places for community welfare. They have political significances for different groups and are there to serve the interests of those groups. They are there for anything but community services. That is the reality for the majority of them.

  2. A hope that I wished to express. There is an easier solution to implement this program though: i.e. starting with self. That's the key that we conveniently ignore. After being involved with campaigns that led nowhere, this is my key learning: if we start with ourselves and set a good precedent, it is much easier to take others along. Don't even have to ask! :)

    I hvae blogged on this.

  3. You're right on that count. Orchestrating any kind of collective philanthropic activity in this day and age of materialism is not easy, downright impossible even. Even someone like Edhi is not spared. Too many vested interests, personal agendas and ill-intentions. So you may have to be content doing good deeds on your own.

  4. In fact, when we actually want others to do good along with us, we are transferring responsibility and preparing grounds for blame. Charity begins at heart!