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ETHICAL FRAME WORK

Introduction Islam is a balanced religion which provides for all the needs of human beings directly or indirectly so that peace and happiness could be promoted among people living together in what can be termed as “Community” regardless of origin, ethnicity and religious inclination. These types  of provisions  are categorised as obligatory, such as  poor  due  (zakat)  and  voluntary  aspects  like  endowment  (waqf), charity (sadaqah) among  others. The sole aim of these welfare  institutions is to  provide a way and channel  through  which  poverty  and  unemployment  could  be  reduced  to  a  minimal  ratio  among people,  most  especially,  Muslims.  The  efficiency  of  these  programmes  was  actualised  during  the early period of  Islam  and the subsequent  generations after the  demise of the Prophet  Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him). The mission of the Holy Prophet is defined by the Qur’an to be a merciful blessing (rahmah) for  all  mankind  (2:  107). Some  manifestations  of  this  merciful blessing are  stated  explicitly  in the Qur’an.  These  include  among  other,  the  fostering  of  “good  life”  (hayat  tayyibah)  and  “welfare” (falah), provision of ease and alleviation of hardship, generation of prosperity, nurturing a climate of love  and  affection,  and  ensuring  freedom  from  moral  corruption,  hunger  and  mental  tensions (Chapra, 1979: 6-9). Hence  all  organisations and institutions, including  the  state,  should reflect the character of merciful blessing and cater for the “welfare” of all people (Chapra, 1979). It shows that, Prophet  (P.B.U.H) was sent to demonstrate the real message of this religion to the world through philanthropy which is  aimed at balancing  inequality between the  upper, medium and  lower classes among the  people. Community will continue to remain in blessing as much as they care for the less privileged among themselves.  Allah  (SWT) has directed Muslims  in the glorious Qur’an  to  help one another as follows:  It  is  not  righteousness  that  you  turn  your  faces  towards  East  or West;  but  it is  righteousness  to  believe  in Allah and  the  Last  Day and the Angels and the Book and the Messengers; to spend of your substance  out of  love  for  Him,  for  your  kin,  for  orphans,  for  the needy, for the  wayfarer, for those  who ask; and for  the ransom of slaves;  to be  steadfast  in  prayers  and  practice  regular  charity; to fulfil the contracts which  you  made; and to be firm  and  patient  in pain  (or  suffering)  and  adversity  and  throughout  all  periods  of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God fearing (Quran 2: 177).   The  above  verse  is  the  concept  of  social  work  in  Islam.  It is  however  more  than  a philosophical concept but a practical draft that outlines ways to render these services to our society. An  important  principle  of  charity  in  Islam  rests  on  the  fact  that  the  object  of  charity  is anything  that  is  given  by a  wealthy  person  from  the  money  that is  left  after  his  expenses. Islam advises the believers to spend for kith and kin first and then other people in society who are in need and seek help (Hassan, 2007: 98). Believers are also advised to be proactive in philanthropy by using their wisdom to ascertain needs and provide charity to the needy instead of waiting for them to ask for it (Hassan, 2007).