EDITORIAL | November 5, 2017
“…perhaps, one important question to be answered is: Who is legally and morally authorized to solicit Zakat?”
Zakat organizations proliferate in the country, felt especially during Muharram, the first month of Muslim’s Hijrah Year, the last month in which to pay Zakat for the previous year. It is just like paying income tax in the month of April of the current year for the previous year.
The month of Muharram has gone for we are now in Safar, the second month of Hijrah, and if we may ask: ”How far have these organizations gone in the campaign of paying Zakat? The answer that no one can deny is: “Not far!”
In the word of an expert, most, if not all, of these organizations are not successful in their campaign. They received only a minute portion of the amount supposed to be paid by obliged rich Muslims. In short, the real purpose of Zakat has not truly been achieved every year.
Zakat organizations here as compared to those abroad have not shown considerable accomplishment. And why?
“Perhaps,” said Mr. Amanoding Ismail, head of the Philippine Association of Islamic Accountants (PAIA) which published a book on related subjects, “there may be something wrong in implementing Zakat here.”
He said instead of letting the rich among Muslims pay Zakat, more of these organizations receive from mostly poor individuals. “Because rich Muslims directly give their Zakat to their close relatives than to these organizations,” Ismail said.
It may mean there is not much trust established. The Zakat organizations have yet to establish credibility and reliance so that those who are willing can channel through them their Zakat.
Some organizations conduct info drive among Muslims either in their offices and homes or in public using practically all media outlets on the obligation to pay Zakat. There were even instances in which school children were asked to give sadaqah when as a matter of Islamic precept, they are among those who are entitled to receive Zakat and other forms of charity.
But Zakat collection in the Philippines is indeed unsuccessful if we talk of how much should be given by all those Muslims obliged to do so. And also, it is obvious that no Zakat organization in the Philippines has ever established projects such as learning center, health centers, scholarship grants and other facilities.
Zakat is among the vital pillar of Islam, next only to Salat (Ritual Prayer). It is an annual obligation to pay a 0.25 percentum (or 1 of every 40) of a Muslim’s net income in cash and tenth ganta of a Cavan of excess grains after all deductions of necessary expenses made.
There are eight Muslims who are entitled to receive Zakat:
- The poor (al-fuqarâ’), meaning low-income or indigent.
- The needy (al-masâkîn), meaning someone who is in difficulty.
- Zakat administrators.
- Those whose hearts are to be reconciled, meaning new Muslims and friends of the Muslim community.
- Those in bondage (slaves and captives).
- The debt-ridden.
- In the cause of God.
- The wayfarer, meaning those who are stranded or traveling with few resources.
But, perhaps, one important question to be answered is: “Who are legally and morally authorized to solicit Zakat.