Zakat: A step towards poverty alleviation
Zakat in our country is realisable at the rate of taka 2.50 from him who possess minimum 52 tolas of silver or equivalent amount in cash either in hand or in bank. Perhaps in order to keep match with the value of silver in Mecca some 1400 years ago, the quantity of silver has been raised in our country. There is no Zakat on immovable properties but when those are commercially used, the amount so received on account of giving rent out, or for selling a piece of land or producing crops, zakat has to be paid.01 May 2022
Zakat means poor-tax. The State will collect Zakat from the rich @ of taka 2.50 once in every year, preferably in the month of Ramadan or any other month or time for rehabilitating the poor. But in the country where State does not do it, responsibility implies upon the rich to pay Zakat to those who deserve. However, it must be given in cash, not in lungi, sari or punjabi. The minimum taxable amount is the price of 52 tolas of silver in cash or kinds.
Zakat is compulsory to be paid by a Muslim. A Muslim is who believes in Allah, His Angels, His Prophets, the Divine Books, the Last Day and the Destiny. Any one who does not believe in any one of the above or casts a doubt about their existence is not a Muslim. The number of verses on Zakat, among others, are 2/43, 110, 277, 9/71, 19/31, 24/56, 27/3, 31/4 and 73/20. The verse No. 19/31 says that Zakat was compulsory even before advent of Islam.
It relates to the economic matter. In the wealth of the rich, there is share of the poor. That is why Zakat has been made compulsory.
The main motto of Islam is justice and end of exploitation of a man by another. With this view, Islam has made Zakat as one of the steps towards establishment of justice and exploitation- free society. But neither an individual nor a group of individuals can make it possible. In this backdrop, The State must undertake that responsibility.
During the dawn of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (SM), appointed officials to collect Zakat from the rich and the amount so collected was used to alleviate poverty. The four next Caliphs of Islam did the same work. Nowadays in our country the rich gives lungi and shari to the needy. It, in fact, destroys the very noble objective of Zakat. And a very small number of people deposit it in cash in the accounts opened by the government in banks. In this regard, the Zakat Board should inform the nation the amount so received at the end of the year and the sectors where the amount has been spent.
Zakat is payable to eight categories of men (Ref: 9/60). They are the poor, the needy, the orphans, the officials collecting zakat, the neo-Muslims, the captives desiring release, the debtors, the way-farers and those who fight to establish justice and proportionate equality to drive away persecution and disorder.
It has already been said that the very purpose of Zakat is to reduce economic disparity between man and man; the State must make law to punish the defaulters. Allah warns of severe punishment to the defaulters (Ref: 3/180, 9/34,35) and described the nature of punishment. In these verses, the hoarding of gold and silver has been denounced. If we take it for general term, then hoarding of any item-food or non-food-for creating artificial crisis is prohibited in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (SM) said, a man might consume slaughtered (Korbani) meat for maximum three days, meaning that food items cannot be stored for more than three days.
But unfortunately we forget the lessons of the Quran and the Prophet. Man thinks that wealth will make him immortal. Nay it is wrong. He will be rather hurled into the fire of Allah, kindled-(104/6).
Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA), the first Caliph of Islam, gave an instruction in writing to Bahrain's newly appointed governor Hazrat Anas (RA) as to how would he collect Zakat from the rich -(Bukhari Sharif, Chapter Zakat) The conditions were the following:
*One goat for per five camels upto 24.
*One camel of 2-yr old for 25 to 35 camels
*One camel of 3-yr old for 36 to 45 camels
*One camel of 4-yr old capable of conceiving for 46 to 60 camels
*One camel of 5-yr old for 61 to 75 camels
Two camels of 3-yr old for 76 to 90 camels
Two camels of 4-yr old capable of conceiving for 91 to 120 camels
And When the number o camels exceed 120, then one camel of 3-yr old for first 40 and then one camel of 4-yr old for every next 50 camels.
· No zakat on cows upto 29 in number
· One cow of two years old for 30 cows to 39
· One cow of three years old for 40 cows to 59
· One cow of one year old and two goats for 60 cows
· As regards goat, no levy upto 39 in number
· One goat of one year old for 40 to 120 goats Two goats of one year old for 121 to 200
· Three goats of one year old for 201 to 399, One goat per hundred for 400 and above.
Zakat on crops amounts to one-tenth thereof if produced in spring, flood and rain waters but if produced in irrigated water, then one-twentieth. In this regard, the minimum quantity of crops should be 30 maunds. However, if any one wants to pay Zakat, even if the condition does not fulfill, there is no harm. The Caliph also ordered to collect Zakat if one possessed five and a half tolas of silver, valuing 190 dirhams.
Zakat in our country is realisable at the rate of taka 2.50 from him who possess minimum 52 tolas of silver or equivalent amount in cash either in hand or in bank. Perhaps in order to keep match with the value of silver in Mecca some 1400 years ago, the quantity of silver has been raised in our country. There is no Zakat on immovable properties but when those are commercially used, the amount so received on account of giving rent out, or for selling a piece of land or producing crops, zakat has to be paid.
In case of a man having bank loan or any other loan, he will have to pay Zakat after deduction of his loan amount from his wealth. As for example, if a man is sanctioned house building loan repayable in five years with 20 equal installments, in that situation, the installment amount for the year shall be deducted from the cash in hand and bank. But if a man is sanctioned loan repayable in one-year time that too shall be deducted from his cash in hand and in banks.
Since it is compulsory, thee is no way-out for the defaulters from suffering punishment. If any body says that Allah may forgive him and grant him His Mercy, this is wrong. Allah does not forgive deliberate mistakes. None should forget that He is also severe in requiting evil (5/2). As the poor has share in the wealth of the rich, any deviation will be severely dealt with according to the Quran. Who ever pays Zakat in full and dos not evade, he has immense rewards with Allah.
Islam does not recommend for concentration of wealth in the hands of few at the cost of many. It does not permit luxurious life, nor economic disparity. It teaches to 'Live and let live." That is why, Abu Dar Giffary, one of the trusted lieutenants of the Prophet Muhammad (Sm), called for social revolution during the time of the third caliph of Islam, and opposed the rise of feudalism and economic disparity.