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Zakat for Climate Adaptation: Perspectives & Initiatives

Zakat for Climate Adaptation: Perspectives & Initiatives

Zakat for Climate Adaptation: Perspectives & Initiatives

Zakat for Climate Adaptation: Perspectives & Initiatives

In the wake of escalating climate change impacts, a significant discourse has emerged surrounding the utilization of zakat, Islamic charity, to alleviate the plight of those affected. Recent developments in Indonesia and Bangladesh shed light on the evolving role of zakat in addressing climate change challenges.

Indonesian religious scholars, in a landmark fatwa, affirmed that zakat funds can be directed towards providing clean water and supporting afforestation efforts. Hayu Praboyo of the Indonesian Ulema Council emphasized the alignment of Islamic teachings with climate action, urging collective responsibility in safeguarding the environment for future generations.

Similarly, in Bangladesh, voices advocating for the strategic use of zakat in climate adaptation have surfaced. Riaz Uddin, a principal of Barikandi madrasa and human rights activist, underscored the Islamic imperative of stewardship towards both humanity and the environment. While acknowledging the traditional focus of zakat on immediate relief, Uddin emphasized the importance of long-term sustainability in addressing climate-induced vulnerabilities.

Contrary to skepticism, Zakir H Khan, CEO of Change Initiative, highlighted the transformative potential of zakat in financing climate resilience. With research indicating the substantial amount of zakat that can be mobilized annually, Khan outlined the opportunity to bridge the funding gap for climate adaptation initiatives, as underscored by Environment Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury's estimation of Bangladesh's annual climate adaptation needs.

Initiatives such as WaterAid exemplify the practical implementation of zakat for climate action. Operating in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Mali, WaterAid utilizes zakat funds to provide clean water to areas grappling with salinity-induced challenges. Hasin Jahan, WaterAid Bangladesh's head, emphasized the tangible impact of zakat contributions in alleviating the hardships faced by communities affected by climate crises.

The significance of such initiatives is palpable, particularly in regions like southwestern Bangladesh, where salinity exacerbates water scarcity issues, especially in educational institutions. Suraiya Khatun, a 15-year-old beneficiary of WaterAid's interventions, highlighted the transformative effect of access to clean water and sanitation in her school, echoing the sentiment of countless others grappling with climate-induced adversities.

In essence, the convergence of religious teachings, humanitarian principles, and pragmatic solutions underscores the potential of zakat in climate change adaptation efforts. As global challenges intensify, the strategic mobilization of zakat emerges as a beacon of hope, fostering resilience and sustainability in the face of environmental uncertainty.

   


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