Friday, October 12, 2018

ZAKAT AND SOCIAL WELFARE



Zakat is an integral part of the Islamic economic system based on the Islamic teachings and it is aiming at economic well being of the Muslim communities, universal brotherhood and equitable distribution of income. It is designed to establish a community in which every individual or group is committed to social justice, equity and freedom. Islamic economic system are designed not only to attain social well being but rather to gain piety and increase Iman in cognizance with the concept of maqasid al-shariah. Many studies have discussed the objectives in establishing a sound society and improve social well being among communities. Although, the concept of their views regarding the objectives of zakat varies according each writers are of interest, they concluded that is systematic zakat management is ensured, zakat will play a significant role in maintaining social well being among the society.
Zakat, the third pillar of Islam is probably the first pillar of its economic system. It represents the first and most important tool for implementing the economic justice of Islam and provides sustenance to the economically unfortunate, two issues for which Islam is especially sensitive. Zakat is the basis for equitable redistribution of wealth in Islam and the most viable tool for combating poverty and other social and economic in an Islamic society. It is an obligation mentioned in the Qur’an about thirty times, in twenty eight of which, zakat is associated with prayers. This obligation is also emphassised in a number of sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him). Zakat provides the basis of Islamic social welfare and plays the role of solving dangerous problems such as poverty, unemployment, catastrophes, indebtedness and inequitable income distribution in a Muslim society, both at family, community and state levels.
Clearly, giving zakat to those people in eight categories (asnaf), namely the poor, the destitute, those who collect it, reconciling people’s hearts, freeing slaves, those in debt, spending in way of Allah and travelers, serves important social objectives. Zakat covers only the areas called social insurance and social security. Social insurance systems usually require the users to pay premiums and contribution in order to participate in the benefits, while social security systems may be guaranteed by the state from its own budget. Zakat does not make it a condition for any recipient to participate or to have participated in the contributions, zakat simply provides relief to those in needs and collects funds from whoever has excess. Zakat is in fact, the first system of social security ever enacted in the human history, a system that does not depend on individual voluntary charity but on a governmental institution that collects regular contributions and distributes organized relief to all those who are in need.
Although, its argued that zakat alone cannot provide cure to all the socio-economic problems of the society, has to be complemented with other wealth redistribute agents, nonetheless, it is unanimously agreed that zakat is prime and that it plays the most vital role in equitable distribution of wealth in ant Muslim society. The role of government with regard to the collection and distribution of zakat is essential. However, the obligation of zakat is not in any way affected if governments neglect it or in the absence of an Islamic government ot constituted agencies. Where government or it agencies are not responsible for zakat administration, individual Muslim remain religiously obligated to give away their dua zakat by distributing directly or through charitable voluntary organisations to the specified recipients in order to achieve its socio-economic objectives.


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