• Oba Akiolu donates N100m as Prof Alaro seeks support for Lagos Chief Imam’s brilliant ideas
  • Zakat is Allah’s tool against mass poverty – Grant Mufti Ilorin

Leaders from both public and private sectors, including the traditional institution and religious community, converged on Saturday, July 6, 2024, at the main auditorium of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, to witness the launch of the newly floated IBILE Muslims Community Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation.

The Foundation, set up by like-minded Muslim stakeholders in Lagos, is anchored on three pillars of zakat, sadaqat and waqf — all geared towards the eradication of poverty and empowerment of under privileged persons in the state.

The IBILE Muslims Community Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation also has the support of the Grand Chief Imam of Lagos, Sheikh Oluwatoyin Sulaiman Abou-Nolla, and all five Divisional Imams in the state.

The public presentation ceremony was attended by the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Femi Hamzat; Speaker, Lagos House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa; Managing Director, Yinka Folawiyo Group, Chief Tijani Folawiyo, MUSWEN President, Alhaji Rasaki Oladejo; and former Deputy Governor, Lagos State, Alhaja Muinat Sopeyin, among others.

The traditional institution was led to the event by the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, represented by his white chiefs, who announced a donation of N100 million to launch the new Foundation.

The well-attended public presentation was proudly supported by Lotus Bank, a leading alternative financial system operating within a framework that adheres to the principles of Shari’ah (Islamic Law).

In his remarks at the event, Deputy Governor Hamzat charged wealthy Muslims in Nigeria to embrace zakat, noting it is a potent tool for wealth redistribution and poverty eradication.

Hamzat said zakat, like solat, is a compulsory pillar of Islam.

He said, “We should understand that everything we have as Muslims, we must also remember to give out of it. Like it’s being said, zakat is compulsory, just as prayer is compulsory and fasting is compulsory during Ramadan. It’s for us to live up to our responsibilities as Muslims.”

The Deputy Governor also tasked stakeholders of the new Foundation with ensuring transparency and accountability.

“Again, this foundation must be transparent. People must know what the money is being used for, who are the beneficiaries. So, it’s for all of us to donate, and for the people managing it to manage it well.”

On his part, Speaker Obasa commended the initiative as a good one, noting it will emancipate people from poverty.

“The essence of zakat is to eradicate poverty from our society. That has been well stated in the Holy Qur’an: that we must reach out to the less privileged, from our immediate family and, by extension, to other members of the society,” he said.

The Speaker disclosed that the Lagos State House of Assembly is already considering a law to ban street begging.

He said the legislators want a more organised and decent way to support the less privileged.

“We have seen people moving about the streets begging for alms. We are looking to manage such situation, and reduce the number of people parading the streets of Lagos, begging for alms.

“We are coming up with a law that will regulate that attitude. We’ll empower the government and foundations around to collect the donation on behalf of the people, and people can in turn reach out to them, instead of being on the streets. People who insist, especially those using children, will be sanctioned.”

Two prominent Islamic scholars, Prof. Abdurrazaq Alaro and Sheikh Faruq Onikinipa, were invited as guest lecturers at the public presentation ceremony.

Zakat is capable of reducing poverty levels if well administered, says Prof Alaro

In his lecture, Alaro, a Professor of Islamic Law at the University of Ilorin, said any society that fails to empower people who are at the lower rung of the social ladder is at risk of insecurity and criminality.

Prof. Alaro said if zakat is properly administered, it is capable of reducing poverty level and aiding the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in developing countries.

He said one of the reasons Nigeria has not seen the impact of zakat is because handlers of zakat institutions fail to do their homework before operations.

“Our problem in this part of the world is that sometimes we begin with practicals before theories. We do not do our homework well before jumping into action. I think this is being approached differently by this current initiative (Ibile Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation). They have done a lot of homework, and put in place a good structure that the initiative can stand on,” he said.
“We have shown our support for the project by accepting the invitation to speak here today because we hope it will serve as a good model. This project is being done at the level of the Grand Chief Imam of Lagos State, supported by other divisional imams and top personalities in public and private sectors. I do believe strongly that the result this time around will be positive.”


The Shari’ah scholar congratulated the promoters of the new Foundation, calling major stakeholders in Lagos to offer it necessary support.

“I congratulate the organisers. It was a well-attended event. The organisers had good intentions, and Almighty Allah has helped them by the response of people, which I think was very positive. We hope that the support that has been shown today will continue to grow for the programme because they need the support of every stakeholder.

“I encourage the people of Lagos State to rally around the Grand Chief Imam for coming up with this brilliant idea. You are not doing this for the Grand Chief Imam or for the divisional Imams. You are actually doing this as a service to Islam and as a service to the potential beneficiaries of the initiative, who are less privileged members of the society,” Prof. Alaro said.

Zakat established by Allah to eradicate poverty – Grand Mufti, Ilorin

Also speaking, Sheikh Onikijipa, the Grand Mufti of the Ilorin Emirate, said the emphasis on zakat by Allah in the Holy Qur’an underscores its significance.

The Mufti said poverty is a serious challenge, which Prophet Muhammad (SAW) usually prayed against for himself and his companions.

He said, “The main purpose for which Allah sent His messengers to different categories of people across centuries is to establish religion. Zakat is a fundamental pillar of our religion. Why is zakat so important? Scholars said Allah (SWT) mentioned zakat in no less than 33 places in the Qur’an. The scholars also advised that whenever there’s emphasis on something in the Qur’an, there is wisdom behind it. This is the same manner Allah emphasised the word solat in the Qur’an.

“Allah (SWT) established zakat and sadaqat as a poverty eradication and empowerment measure.

“Poverty is a serious challenge that has to be tackled. Even the Prophet (SAW) usually prayed against poverty; he sought wealth. We have seen in the tradition that the Prophet (SAW) prayed to Allah to bless the wealth of his companions. In this regard also, Allah (SWT) deliberately empowered the Prophet (SAW) against poverty to make his mission easy and successful. Allah made this known in Suratul Duha.

“Foremost scholar, Sheikh Adam Abdullah Al-Iloriy, made us realise that for an individual to be stable and live a quality life, he has to fight three things. The first one is poverty. The second one is ignorance. The third one is illness.”

It’s a reminder that Zakat is obligatory – Adisa

Chairman of the Board of the Steering Committee of the Foundation, Alhaji Muhammad Adisa, said the initiative serves to remind Muslims that zakat is an obligatory pillar of Islam.

He said the issue of poverty eradication cannot be left to the government alone, noting regular payment of zakat by Muslims is a veritable way to combat poverty in society.

In his goodwill message, Chief Tijani Folawiyo described the IBILE Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation as timely, pledging necessary support to make the initiative succeed in its mission.