Islamic ministry distributes Zakat

The Islamic ministry began distributing Zakat (alms for the poor) yesterday at a rate of MVR500 (US$32) per person.

Zakat is an obligatory alms tax collected from the accumulated wealth of all able Muslims.

A large number of people reportedly began queuing outside the Islamic centre at 10:30am yesterday. More than 13,000 people in Malé and 37,800 people in other islands are registered as poor and eligible for Zakat.

Zakat is collected in the Maldives as 2.4kg of rice per person or its price, ranging from MVR12 to MVR75 depending on the quality of the rice.

The ministry has not revealed the amount collected as Zakat this year. Last year, the ministry collected MVR1.3 million (US$84,306) from Malé, which was distributed at a rate of MVR130 per person.

The ministry also collected a record MVR52 million (US$3.3 million) as property Zakat last year and distributed MVR400 (US$26) per person. The registered number of poor in 2014 was more than 53,000.

The property Zakat for this year was distributed last month at the same rate of MVR400 per person.