OUTLOOK — By Mohammed Al Hadhrami — Wherever you go you find notes urging people to donate money. They are always kept at easily-noticeable places in high footfall locations like supermarkets, restaurants, park gates and elsewhere, and are always attached with an hadith in the same context such as: "Whoever builds for Allah a mosque, even if it be tiny, like a bird's nest, Allah will build for him a house in paradise." Being convinced of the deserving cause of such fund-raiser campaigns, thousands of people willingly respond by donating money. The affluent and those who have substantial bank accounts will have houses built for them in paradise for they have the means to build mosques in the worldly life. The destitute among the believers — however not deprived of the blessing of having houses in paradise — may feel a little bit jealous because of the wealth gap that disqualifies them in the competition.
Building mosques is no doubt a noble cause but it is not the one and only issue that deserves donations. Similar campaigns should be carried out for other causes like building schools, institutes and orphanages. Road accidents have maimed thousands of people and left other orphans or widows across the length and breadth of Oman. Regrettably, those wretched victims have no one to lend them a helping hand, many of them are dependent on social insurance pension doled by the Ministry of Social Development.
No one can deny that the building of mosques is a blessed virtue; it brings man closer to God. Many mosques are in a dire need of revamp as their ablution places and toilets have become unfit for human use. But we have to remember that God ordered Muslims to build mosques and make them elaborately decorated, but God also ordered us not to neglect the essential role of the mosque, which is to establish regular prayers.
The areas of charity are many and our donations should not be confined to a single cause no matter how noble it is. There are widows, orphans and families living in grinding poverty and battling hard to make both ends meet. Some people cannot even afford to pay for electricity and water bills. Not to mention the indebted and the young people who dream of married life but are unable to afford high dowries and wedding expenses which are increasing day after day. There should be charitable societies to support these needy groups.
The existing charitable societies suffer from lack of funds and dearth of resources. They are in need of support, especially because they do not have regular sources of fund. Many of these societies adopt society-empowerment programmes like funding scientific researches, supporting students, building of libraries and other cultural institutions, and so on.