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).