Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Importance of Zakat Distribution and Urban-Rural Poverty Incidence among Muallaf (New Convert)

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Importance of Zakat Distribution and Urban-Rural Poverty Incidence among Muallaf (New Convert)

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study demonstrates literately the importance of regional (urban-rural) differences and the impact of zakat distribution towards the poverty alleviations among asnaf Muallaf. This study was motivated by the monthly official zakat distribution towards asnaf Muallaf that did not differentiate the true urban-rural cost of living differences. Differences in urban and rural poverty lines that did not reflect the actual urban-rural cost of living differences will provide a misleading picture of the distributional impact of development, which usually involves urban sector expansion. In a dualistic economy, one of the ways the poor benefit from development is through expansion of job opportunities in the modern predominantly urban sector, in addition to increases in productivity in the traditional predominantly rural sector. Thus, this study aims to identify the dispersal of Muallaf in terms of urban-rural poverty that involved in allocation of zakat distribution. In defining poverty between urban and rural areas, therefore, one should ensure the differences in the cost of living between these two areas. The finding suggest that, a huge of amount of zakat been allocated to the development of asnaf Muallaf in the state of Selangor especially in urban area. However, most of zakat distribution on Muallaf goes to urban region which higher in cost of living without considering a set of prices including a broader bundle of goods and services representative of the purchases of consumers in different region.

Keywords: Muallaf, Zakat allocation, urban-rural poverty, Selangor Islamic Religious Department (MAIS)

1. Introduction

Zakat is one of the pillars of faith in Islam that emphasizes socio-economic development. Any discussion on zakat in the context of worship cannot be disconnected from the socio-economic factor, especially in aiding the underprivileged based on the Maslahat concept (al Qardhawi, 1987). From the Fiqh point of view, zakat can produce a certain amount from a specific wealth for the benefit of those who are entitled to receive it as stipulated by Allah (Ibn. Qudamah 1968). The primary purpose of zakat is to redistribute wealth of the society among the poor (Siddiqui, 1978). The administration of zakat involves at least two broad aspects, namely the collection and allocation. The role of the state in collecting and allocation zakat fund began rather lately during the Holy Prophet's time in Medina. Zakat funds were distributed among the eight categories of beneficiaries as stated in the Quran. Allah s.w.t has determined these categories when He s.w.t says:

"Sadaqat are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer (the Zakat), for those whose hearts are to be won over, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage, and (for) those who are burdened with debts, and (for every struggle) in Allah 's cause, and (for) the wayfarer: (this is) an ordinance from Allah, Allah is All-Knowing, full of Wisdom. " (9:60)

Muallaf (new convert/ reconciliation of hearts) defined as Muallaf-al-Qulub as refers to a persons who converted or revert to Islam regardless of races and nation. In principle, this includes those people who giving full co-operation in contributing and strengthening Islam. This includes those who are newly converted to Islam who might have lost their place to depend such as family, friend and in worst case their work. Therefore they are economy and mentally weak and need assistance and encouragement. The purpose of the financial assistance is to strengthen their belief (Man) by providing them financially and morale support that create the sense of belonging to Islamic ummah. Beside new converting Muslims, most of previous Islamic scholar also include the term Muallaf to the non-Muslims, but only for the purpose of turning their hearts to Islam (al-Qaradawi 1986:). Al-Qurtubi (1954) mentioned two of them, which are:

1. The Leaders and public figures amongst them who had many friends who were non-Muslims. …

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