Zakat helps this baker of Kueh Tat Itik (duck-shaped tarts) through difficult times

There was a time, Mdm Esah Ahmad’s ‘kueh tat itik’ was a favorite of many cake lovers, especially during the Hari Raya season.

In fact, the popularity of her special kueh- which got the nickname because it is shaped like a duck – has spread so much that she received orders for more than 10,000 pieces.

“Alhamdulillah, I am happy that people like and support buying my kueh,” said Mdm Esah, 64 years old. She learned to make ‘kueh tat itik’ from a relative who is a Minangkabau.

Apart from making cakes, Mdm Esah also diligently took orders to cook dishes to help increase the income of her late husband. She has also worked in various places such as factories and student care centers.

When her husband became ill in 2014 and couldn’t work, her small-scale home-based business-which she started since her only child was six years old-became a major source of income to support her family.

Her only child, now 32 years old, is now married to an Indonesian citizen and has moved to Surabaya.

According to Mdm Esah, when her late husband was ill and often went to and from the hospital, she took orders for food or kueh according to her ability.

In 2014 that year, a relative helped her register her name at the Singapore Islamic Religious Council (Muis) office to get Zakat assistance.

Through the reference of the Muis office, Masjid Assyafaah in Sembawang then manages Mdm Esah’s Zakat assistance application. Later in the same year, her Zakat assistance was approved.

Hesitant to apply for assistance at first

“Honestly, I am really ashamed to ask for Zakat help first. My brother who talked to me, what should I be ashamed of? ”

“I cried more than I talked. Because I think there are many bitter things that make me not want to ask for help, ”said Mdm Esah while reflecting back her initial feelings when she wanted to ask for help from Zakat Muis.

However, she is grateful to be eligible to be selected as a recipient of Zakat assistance, and it helps a lot to reduce her daily expenses, especially when her husband is ill.

Things took a worst turn after passing of husband 

Unfortunately, five years later, in 2019, Mdm Esah’s husband passed away.

Mdm Esah now lives in a two -room Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat in the Montreal Link area, near Sembawang, and still receives Zakat Muis assistance.

This is because, her monthly income dropped sharply because her poor health condition did not allow her to take food or kueh orders regularly.

She also suffers from health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and needs to undergo a health check -up once every two months.

According to Mdm Esah, if in the past, Zakat assistance was used to cover her husband’s needs, the money amounting to $300 is now more for her own needs.


Zakat assistance gives a ray of hope 

“Alhamdulillah, I am grateful because Zakat from Muis helps a lot. When my husband was sick previously, I had a lot of outstanding (overdue bills) every month.

“I could not because, what do I pay it with?

“When my husband passed, the money from the Central Provident Fund (CPF) helps with all the arrears that was to be paid,” said Mdm Esah while thinking back of the difficulties she experienced before.

She added that although she still has some bills such as polyclinic bills and electricity and water bills that are to be paid, she still feels grateful for what she has.

I trust in rizq and leave everything to Allah”said Mdm Esah.

She shared that she also sometimes give parts of her Zakat assistance to charity.

Commenting on her daily routine, Mdm Esah said she spends a lot of time at home and does not like to go out if there is no necessity.

Among Mdm Esah’s activities are gardening which she considers as an exercise, reciting Al-Quran and dhikr, in addition to participating in exercise programs organized by the Active Aging Center, Blossom Seeds, at the suggestion of one of Muis’s Befrienders from Assyafaah Mosque.

She would also sometimes ask her nephews to come to the house to help him change the mattress sheets or clean the house and then treat them with her cooked meals.

Thanking the Zakat payers, Mdm Esah said:

“I am very grateful to Allah s.w.t. and people out there. At the very least, they can lighten my load. ”

Eight Asnaf

Mdm Esah 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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