CONVERSATION WITH THE PHILOSOPHER

By Abdulwarees Solanke

Matters Arising on Zakat and Sadaqat

Zakat, one of the pillars of Islam is rather a technical or quantitative aspect of our faith which observance on some mathematical calculation to determine base or qualification. A corollary to Zakat is Sadaqat that has been translated to voluntary charity.

One of the fellow students, concerned about due observance this pillar personally sought assistance for clarification and I approached the Sheikhs I have access to.

New Student:
Salam alaekum waramotulahi wabarakatu. Just before the commencement of Ramadan, i talked with some islamic scholars on zaqat. Though i asked a specific question, the response was the same from all of them. According to them, Allah has listed those who are entitled to zaqat. However, i am still uncomfortable. The coronavirus pandemic and consequent lockdown has turned a lot of people into beggars, just looking at where the next meal will come from. Ordinarily, zaqat is given out enbloc, but can we still do that, this time around? Giving it to one or two persons and knowing that distributing it to ten or more families will ensure their survival during this troubling times. The knowledgeable ones on the platform should please advice.

First Student: Yaa imaam, help us trash this.

Second Sheikh:
The first question is, is the Muslim qualified to pay Zakat which is 2.5% of the nisaab #1,110,440. This would be around #27,500. If he has anything left, he can pay them as Sadaqah to more people.
Zakat is obligatory, Sadaqah is optional. You don’t disqualify yourself from obligatory and dwell on optional. And Allah knows best.

First Student: Jazakumllah

New Student:
Salam alaekum waramotulahi wabarakatu. Thanks for your efforts in getting a response to my post, jazakumullahu khaeran. Be that as it may, the answer still leave more questions. Is N1,110,440 the nisaab on which one has to pay zaqat, even if one has more? For the past three years or so, i have always paid zaqat of 2.5% on N20M, which comes to N500k and normally give 80% to Bab Salam and 20% to muslims in need within my area.

First Student:
My observation on Nisaab. It is the minimum qualification in terms of cash wealth after all expenditures. May Allah continue to bless you. I’m certain from year to year, there will be variations in your Nisaab and grace upon which you base your Zakat.

One thing about Zakat I know is that it is based on holistic evaluation. It’s like tax assessment. Who knows you might have been paying than what you’re supposed to pay. What I will recommend is correct assessment of your Zakat worth by a competent Zakat institution or individual trained in its science. But Zakat does not preclude you from doing bounteous Sadaqat to the less privilege and having Waqf (endowment).

I see your sincerity and concern. Let me recommend that you and one of my Sheikhs meet and he will clarify or elucidate further

I don’t know if I’m correct ooo, not being an Islamic scholar but an elementary pupil. Actually, questions like this arise because of the structure of Zakat management in system like ours where legitimacy of Muslim leadership is not sacrosanct. The leadership ought to put in place a credible Zakat management structure.

Where there is trust and integrity concerning Zakat management, it is assumed that the distribution of Zakat is no lobger an individual responsibility, because the structure that will guarantee reach and impact is in place.

It will have database of the living condition of the Muslims over which it superintends or monitors their affairs or situation.

In this case, I hope our ummah rises to the level whereby issues of our Deen are simplified because of our trust in the authority, credibility, integrity, knowledge and competence of the Muslim leadership.

New Student:
The money is my retirement fund, which i raid regularly to fund some other projects, but pay back when other funds come in. At times, the balance in the account won’t be up to the N20M, but i decided to base the zaqat minimally on N20M.

Third Sheikh:
W/salam, whether it is given out enbloc or peacemeal, the objective of Zakat is clear. It will be unwise to give your zakat to someone to invest when multitude of people are struggling for survival. Apart from that, is there any meaningful investment that one can do this time? May Allah guide us.

Another Sheikh:
Zakat is the third pillar of Islam and it is an obligatory
payment that a free and rational Muslim who owns a certain amount of wealth has to observe. Its importance in Islam is manifested by the numerous pairings of its obligation to that of prayer (salah) in the Quran. Among the fundamentals of Islam, it has the most direct economic implications on Muslims for it involves the distribution of wealth from the affluent in society to those in need.

Zakat collection and distribution should be managed by an institution or organisation. The organisation should plan the collection and distribution. Identify the asnafs and allocate the zakat to them properly.

Among the strategies the institution / organisation can do to improve the socio economy of the asnaf is by selecting potential asnaf to be upgraded to non-asnaf by providing a start-up fund for them to start their business or providing them tools so that they can start working. Certain officer should monitor their development.
I believe this strategy could change the landscape of the society.

This reflects that Zakat has a strong rationale behind being an obligation as for its great benefit for the society and the reinforcement of the social responsibility towards the poor and needy.

Imam Malik Yahys: In view of the pandemic legacy and zakat distribution should be strictly follow by that which Allah had mentioned in the Quran while considering the issues on ground.

The categories mentioned in Quran chapter 9 is adequately consider this condition that people will be in during and after the covid -19

The categories of the people should be considered and the aims and goals of zakat is to enhance the poor living standard and possibly remove him or her from the former Status.
Allaahs knows Best

First student: Hopefully this matter is well clarified. We pray to Allah bless us to qualify for observing this critical pillar of Islam designed to cleanse us and our wealth and bring succour to the underprivileged. In this way, there an equitable distribution of wealth, empowerment and importantly too, in creating social balance, crime or corruption are minimized.

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