Malaysia to Host International Zakah Body

Malaysia is willing to host the International Zakah Organization, set up by Muslim countries as a part of an ambitious plan to channel Zakah (alms) money into practical ways to combat poverty and help the needy in the Islamic world.

Malaysia to Host International Zakah Body

"It was suggested to be in Kuala Lumpur and I have expressed the country's willingness to be the host for the organization," Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi told the Malaysian news agency Bernama on Tuesday, October 17.

The decision to set up the Zakah body was taken at a meeting of the umbrella Organization of Islamic Conference on the issue of Zakah collection earlier this year.

It was followed by a special meeting in Putrajaya, where Saudi Saleh Kamil, president of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ICCI), explained the issue to officers and clerics in Malaysia.

"Work has been arranged, and a conference will be held this Nov 28 in Kuala Lumpur, where a paper will be tabled on the setting up of the organization," Abdullah said, current chair of the OIC.

The meeting will bring together ministers from Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Singapore.

The International Zakah Conference called in its 2003 meeting for establishing an international body to coordinate the work of different Zakah institutions and help them to act in cohesion.

"If we don't take this step, then every year we will be just collecting money and giving Zakah to the poor," said Badawi. (Reuters)

Zakah, the third pillar of Islam, is obligatory on those who are able to pay it or those who have the nisab (i.e. the minimum wealth owned for one year). It is about 3 ounces of gold or its cash value.

The majority of Muslims prefer to pay their Zakah for the poor and needy during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The OIC, an inter-governmental organization grouping fifty-seven states, was established in 1969, pledging to ensure the progress and well-being of Muslims worldwide.


Abdullah said the organization is an important step to create new ways to help the poor and less fortunate in the Muslim world.

"Zakah must also be an approach to eradicate poverty in OIC member countries without breaching the rules related to the act ..This is crucial."

The Malaysian premier underlined the need for positive action to stamp out poverty.

"If we don't take this step, then every year we will be just collecting money and giving Zakah to the poor.

"We will end up paying Zakah to the poor who will spend all the money year after year. We do not solve their poverty problem. The poor will remain poor all the time," he warned.

The concept of investing Zakah money in productive projects to employ the jobless and help the poor in a practical way is supported by prominent Muslim scholars.

Abdullah said Malaysia plans a land development program in Sierra Leone involving 1,600 hectares to be cultivated with oil palm.

"This is a capacity building project to assist the poor in Sierra Leone to improve their livelihood," he said.

In 2000, efforts to establish an Islamic body for Zakah covering the countries of west Africa proved futile due to poor financial contributions and procedural problems.



Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16