Source: Arabian Business
By Dr. Mona S. Al Munajjed
Zakat is a major tool of Islamic social financing and a foundation for promoting sustainable community development
In the month of Ramadan, when more than 1.8 billion Muslims fast and strive to give charity, it seems timely to look at traditions and trends in charitable giving and philanthropy.
I was fascinated to find out that the richest man of all time was Mansa Musa I, the emperor of Mali and first king of Timbuktu, whose wealth is estimated today at $400bn. In 1324, Musa performed pilgrimage to Makkah, and on his stop in Cairo it is said he gave away so much gold to the poor that he devalued gold across North Africa for ten years. Musa not only gave charitably but he was also a philanthropist, as he funded literature and built schools, libraries and mosques.
One hundred years ago, Andrew Carnegie, the Scottish-American industrialist, donated most of his wealth, over $350m (about $4.8bn today), to charity and philanthropy, declaring that the rich have a moral obligation to give away their fortunes to make a better world. His contemporary, John D. Rockefeller Sr, oil industry magnate, donated $540m during his lifetime to various religious, educational and scientific causes.
Among the modern-day billionaires, according to Forbes (March 2019), the most charitable include Americans Warren Buffet (lifetime donation $35.8bn), Bill Gates ($35.1bn), and George Soros ($32bn), Azim Premji (India, $21bn), Christopher Hohn (UK, $4.5bn), Carlos Slim Helu, (Mexico, $4.2bn), Li Ka Shing (Hong Kong, $3.2bn), and from Switzerland Hansjoerg Wyss ($1.9bn) and Stephan Schmidheiny ($1.5bn).
Categories: The Muslim Times