Zakat in India
I am Ashraf Mohamedy and I am a Stock Broker. I have keen interest in The Islamic Economic System. I am also associated with the Islamic Research Foundation, Bombay.
With respect to the questions posed by you, I am glad to send some answers to the best of my knowledge. I hope and pray to Allah Subhanu Ta'aala to accept this from me and that this may be of help for better understanding of the Muslim Ummah.
>1. Do most Muslims give Zakat as prescribed?
Generally, Muslims do give Zakat in India as prescribed @ 2.5 %. Of course there are exceptions to the rule. But a majority here do pay their Zakat.
>2. Is it usually given directly or through an organization?
Most of the Zakat goes as handout to the Fuqara (Poor) & Masakeen (Needy) directly. The handouts in form of Rupee Equivalent of $ 1.00 to $ 20.00 does not make any difference to their lives.
Another way of distributing Zakat is giving the Zakat to Madrasa's (Traditional Islamic Schools Teaching Quran / Hadith / Islamic
Jurispudence). Most of the Madrasa's have Boarding & Lodging facilities for the students, and Muslims in the countryside, who cannot afford to send their children to Secular Schools, have them admitted to such Institutions. These Madrasa's run on Zakat Money, thereby taking care of the childrens food, clothing, shelter as well as educational needs.
More than 75 % of Zakat to such Madrasa's all over the Western & Northern Parts of India are sourced from Bombay alone. Although this system takes care of one section of the Indian Muslim, it depreives the Muslims in other categories like Poor Widows, Scholarships for Modern Scientific Education, Good Schools, Hospitals & Healthcare systems, Da'wah, etc.
>3. For those who give to an organization, are there choices in
>which organization to give to?
Besides the Madrasa's mentioned above, there are quite a few organisations to whom Zakat can be given. All the organisations have their own area of operations. Like IRF is in the field of Da'wah. Rehmani Foundation, Rahat Welfare Trust, Modern Educational, Social & Cultural Organisation etc. are in the field of Education & Empowerment of Women.
>4. Are there differing interpretations of Zakat?
Yes. Some school of thought totally disagree with the fact that Zakat money can be utilised to construct Schools & Hospitals, etc. Their position is that Zkat has to be handed over to Individuals only, alternatively it can be channelised through an organisation which may handover the amount to Individuals.
Besides this, there is a difference of Opinion amonst scholars on the issue of paying @ 2.5 % on the entire amount or only the amount in excess of the Nisab Level.
>5. What is the best source for more information about Zakat?
>Websites, books, etc.
In India there is no dearth of literature for Zakat as well as other Issues, Alhamdulillah. Islamic Research Founadation itself has more than 20,000 books.
IRF details are as follows :
Islamic Research Foundation
56/58, Tandel Street (North),
Dongri, Bombay - 400009.
Tel : 022 - 3736875 (6 Lines)
Fax : 022 - 3730689
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : www.irf.net
Besides IRF there are various other organisations imparting information about Islam. Most of this is in the regional languages like Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, etc.
I hope this gives you an idea of the system of Zakat in India. A lot of efforts have to be put in none the less to institutionalise the Collection & Distribution of Zakat here. I look forward to interact more often with you so that this exchange of ideas can help me implement some successful strategies from around the world.
From Email message
From: Ashraf Mohamedy <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 1999 7:03 AM
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