Mr Zaini Mahamod lost his right eyesight after suffering from stroke in August 2016. Recently, his left eyesight is starting to fade as well.
He is now bracing for the inevitable.
As a divorcee, Mr Zaini, 60, spends his days sending and fetching his grandchildren – one is currently in primary one while the other is still in kindergarten.
Fortunately for him, the schools where his grandchildren go to are close by. He simply walks to send and fetch his grandchildren, assisted by a special cane for the visually handicapped.
Alternatively, Mr Zaini would go with his electronic wheelchair.
After sending and fetching his grandchildren, he would cook simple meals for his family – the two grandchildren as well as his daughter, whom he lives with.
That is his daily routine since being rendered unfit for work after his stroke attack – a result of his diabetes and high cholesterol.
The mundane life that he leads now is a stark difference from the life he used to have four years ago; before the stroke affected the left side of his body.
According to Mr Zaini, his right eyesight deteriorated gradually in the course of two to three months.
As a result, the once active and cheerful ex-offshore diver found himself in a very dark place, seeing no light at the end.
“I was depressed for a time after I suffered from the stroke. I refused to meet anyone, and I lost my appetite as well. Often, I asked myself, ‘why did I become like this?’” said Mr Zaini.
“In fact, I wanted to end my life,” he added.
Yet, it is in darkest of times that people find strength and hope in faith.
Mr Zaini quickly gathered himself and looked to Allah s.w.t for guidance and strength. He had to persevere and find meaning and purpose in his life.
He admitted that he used to neglect his responsibilities as a Muslim. However, he has turned over and is now seeking to reclaim his spirituality.
“I realized that I should be thankful that Allah s.w.t still loves me. He made me realize that I can continue living a purposeful life,” Mr Zaini said.
“Before having these health issues, I was supposed to be a business partner at a friend’s diving company in Malaysia. Unfortunately, I was left out and since then, my car was repossessed and I went through a financial crisis,” he said.
But his problems did not end there.
He had been using his savings to pay for his medical expenses and hospitalization fees, until one day he found that he was no longer able to afford his medicines.
“I used to seek medical help at Gleaneagles Medini Hospital in Johor Bahru. However, after experiencing financial difficulties, I started going to Jurong Polyclinic instead for my health checkups, and Ng Teng Fong Hospital for my eye examinations,” Mr Zaini said.
During those troubled times, Mr Zaini met up with his grassroots MP to appeal for help and assistance. His case was then referred to the Social Services Office (SSO).
At the same time, he also requested for Zakat financial assistance from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) at Masjid Assyakirin.
He has been receiving Muis Zakat financial assistance since July 2019.
“I was filled with gratitude when I received the Zakat financial assistance. I asked for help, and Muis helped me,” Mr Zaini said.
The monthly Zakat financial assistance that he receives is used to offset his medical expenses and the cost of his daily necessities.
Yet, upon receiving his third Zakat allowance, Mr Zaini was moved to help others in need.
He decided to donate a small part of his Zakat allowance at the mosque donation box, to some underprivileged families or to a religious boarding school (pesantren) in Batam, Indonesia. The amount he gives away depends on how much he can afford to each month.
“Back when I was healthy and working, I used to donate regularly to those in need. So, it is natural for me to do it, even now,” Mr Zaini said.
It is through charity and donation that he feels satisfied, contented and at peace.
Besides donating part of his Zakat allowance, Mr Zaini also enjoys gardening. He plants various types of vegetables and herbs at the corridor of his HDB flat and would give away the produce to anyone who needs it.
“I am truly grateful to the Muslim community for fulfilling their obligation, thereby helping to ease my burdens and also allowing me to continue helping others in need,” he said.
Mr Zaini is currently preparing himself for the day he loses his sight completely. His name has already been registered at the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped (SAVH) where he undergoes a self-preparatory course.
“I only have one wish before I leave this world – to perform my Haj and see the Kaabah,” he said.
Mr Zaini's family falls in two of the categories of 8 asnaf who have rights over Zakat – asnaf fakir and miskin.
Asnaf Fakir and Miskin refers to one who has insufficient means of livelihood to meet his or her basic needs and the Zakat disbursement includes monthly financial assistance, special assistance during Ramadan, and supportive programme grants.
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