Commentary Politics

Zakat is an Islamic matter and thus for Muslims

TheMole
Written by TheMole

Nov 9, 2019

By Abdul Rahmat Omar

THE issue of the distribution of Zakat to non-Muslims is still not over.

Today, I saw three news articles of statements on the issue made by
the CEO of Zakat Pulau Pinang, the Mufti of Negeri Sembilan, and the
Mufti of Pahang.  All of them stressed that Zakat is not to be
distributed to non-Muslims.

“It cannot be given to non-Muslim individuals. If it is to be given to
non-Muslims, it will be done through NGOs or associations that conduct
dakwah (Islamic outreach),” said Datuk Seri Dr Abdul Rahman Osman, the
Mufti of Pahang.

Many, some Muslims included, do not understand the meaning of Zakat.
It is a mandatory religious obligation decreed by Allah SWT for all
Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth.

Its role in society is to preserve social harmony between the wealthy
and the poor through a more equitable way for the redistribution of
wealth.

I wrote two days ago (Zakat is for the Ruler to decide, The Mole, Nov
6 2019) that as the Head of the religion of Islam in their respective
states, the affairs of Islam come under the purview of the Rulers –
their Constitutional prerogative.  And it is because of this
prerogative prescribed by the Constitution that had the Sultan of
Selangor issue a media statement on the issue.

His Royal Highness is very concerned about the number of Muslims who
fall into the categories of poor, hardcore poor and the needy.

A check in all the nine districts of Selangor through a page
maintained by the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and
Management Planning Unit (MAMPU), the number stood at 21,621 people in
2009, 50,947 in 2018, and up until the end of September 2019, it was
54,568 people.

On average, 3,300 Muslims enter the list of Zakat recipients every year!

Selangor has the highest GDP in Malaysia.  In 2010 it was RM177.7
billion.  In 2018 it was RM322.6 billion.

Although its labour force has increased from 3.2 million in 2015 to
3.5 million in 2018, its percentage of the unemployed has also
increased from 2.4 percent (77,900 people) to 2.8 percent (99,600
people).

Rapid urbanisation in a short span of time and migration of workforce
from other states into Selangor have contributed to escalating
economic and social costs – rentals, housing, transport, land.

This has, in turn, imposed the burden of employment generation causing
an increase in unemployment, the inability to offer higher wages, and
incidence of poverty.

When we talk about the poor, hardcore poor and the needy, we no longer
talk about people begging on walkways or even the homeless.

We now look at those earning less than RM2,000 a month, with very
little or no savings, and cannot survive two to three months without
work.

This is the reality that we now face – rapid urbanisation presents an
increase in the number of the urban poor.

Those who are particularly vulnerable are those with low education
level, low-skilled, handicapped, single parent, the youth, the
elderly, orphans who have to leave their orphanage when they turn 18.

These are the people His Royal Highness is very concerned about.

Take the Petaling district for instance.  In 2009, 2,478 Muslims
qualified for Zakat aid. By 2015, 7,248 Muslims in the district were
qualified for Zakat aid.  In 2018, it was 7,781. By the end of
September this year, that number is 7,858.

The amount of aid distributed in Selangor was RM279.2 million in 2009.
By the end of 2018 it was RM414.6 million.

Therefore, as the Head of State and Islam, His Royal Highness was
right in pointing out that although Islam emphasises on humanity,
Zakat aid collected from Muslims are only to be given to Muslims in
need who fall into the eight categories mentioned in my earlier
article.  H

His Royal Highness added that in Selangor there are still many Muslim
people who fall into both the rural and urban poor categories and are
in dire need of Zakat aid.

This is because almost 60 percent of its population are Muslims and
its population increases by about 100,000 annually.

Zakat is a matter of Islam, for Muslims.  Article 11 (3)(a) and (b) of
the Federal Constitution states that every religious group has the
right to manage its own religious affairs and establish and maintain
institution for religious or charitable purposes.

What Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim et al. should have advocated was for the
establishment of similar tithe collection institutions by respective
religions instead of meddling in Islamic affairs for his own
popularity and political mileage.

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