Islamic Ministry proposes compulsory Zakat in new bill

Islamic minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed says proposed legislation to collect, distribute, and manage Zakat would facilitate the collection of MVR500 million annually.

Speaking at a workshop involving stakeholders to the Zakat bill, Shaheem said Zakat systems are protected by law in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sudan, Kuwait, and Malaysia.

“In these countries, Zakat systems have been set up and protected by law, while institutions involved in the management of Zakat have been empowered by law. Hence, it is very important that such a system be organised by law in our 100 percent Muslim country,” he said.

The Islamic ministry collected MVR52 million as Zakat last year.

The comprehensive bill defines Zakat as part of a property that must be given by a Muslim individual or business entity for charity to entitled recipients – which includes the poor, heavily indebted individuals, and travellers.

Zakat payment in the Maldives has traditionally been voluntary, but the new bill makes the annual payment compulsory and imposes a jail term of five years or a fine of MVR500,000 for non-compliance.

Wealth, assets, and income are zakatable – subject to the levy – under the new law. These include precious metal holdings, cash and other securities, trade and business inventories, and earnings from agriculture, fisheries, service delivery and mining.

Draft regulations introduced with the bill propose collecting 2.5 percent of the value of financial assets, business goods, net business profits and rent. The regulations also propose collecting 2.5 percent of net income as Zakat.

Analysis of the bill suggests the legislation avoids double taxation by deducting money collected as Zakat from taxes.

The Islamic ministry is to manage the Zakat fund. Money collected as Zakat is not property of the state and cannot be borrowed by the state for fiscal purposes, the bill said.

Protected by law

The Islamic Ministry must set up a Zakat Management Council to manage Zakat funds under the draft legislation. The council is to be supported through the state budget and advised by a Shariah Advisory Committee, appointed by the Islamic ministry.

Zakatable assets and wealth include gold, silver and other precious metals, cash and other securities, and trade and business inventories.

The persons eligible for Zakat are the poor, paupers, those under bondage, those in heavy debt, “those whose hearts are inclined towards Islam,” travellers and zakat officials. Zakat funds can also be used for ‘fi Sabililah’ (‘in the cause of Allah’) purposes or to defend Islam and improve the well being of Muslims.

The poor and paupers include those who are unable to work due to old age, those who are disabled, widows, and students who have no means of income, or those who do not have a legal benefactor.

It also includes legal guardians who are unable to provide for those under their guardianship, those who are unable to initiate an economic activity due to lack of initial capital, and victims of natural disasters.

When allocating money to the poor, the council must consider other forms of state aid and assistance they receive.

Zakat fund could also be utilised to encourage conversion to Islam, for those who strive to prevent harassment aimed at Muslims by non-Muslims and to assist those who have recently embraced Islam.

Zakat allocated for travellers may be given to Muslims who get stranded and become helpless while travelling for a lawful purpose.

The Zakat Management Council will determine the amount of money to be allocated for each category.

According to the bill, property of the state is not zakatable, while draft regulations say Zakat cannot be levied on property or money obtained via a transaction that is not permissible in Islam.

If a non-Muslim owns shares in a company being valued for Zakat, the value of their shares shall not be included in the valuation for Zakat, the draft regulations state.

Zakat funds are to be deposited in an account called the Baithul Maal as a separate and specialised account with the Maldives Monetary Authority.

The auditor general is to perform an annual audit of the Zakat Management Council under the proposed legislation.



Related to this story

More than 53,000 poor to receive Zakat

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Alms Act to increase zakat contributions

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21 thoughts on “Islamic Ministry proposes compulsory Zakat in new bill”

  1. Isn't a 5 year jail term and RF500,000 fine a little excessive? Shaheem may swimming in coup money but the rest of us are still struggling to pay our bills.

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  2. A totally transparent aid system has to be created before making zakat compulsory. "To defend Islam" is very vague for example. The money has to go to people who really need the help. The orphans, the disabled, to support people with high medical bills, ...

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  3. So what next? Make compulsory the five pillars of the Arabian charlatan?

    I thought it is an assessment that would get judged on the Judgement Day, and not one that can be used to fill up the national coffers!

    Is heaven a place on Earth??

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  4. miss a prayer and charge 100 rufiyaa fine plus gst? 10 percent interest charged for delayed payments. pretty modern eh!!

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  5. Can this medieval tax be used to provide one way tickets to Syria for Hero, Kashim, Habibib and all the bearded wonders of the Islamic Ministry.....on PIA via Karachi? I am sure you could negotiate really good discounted fares if enough of you leave for jihad. Ask for the martyr's special ticket.

    No comments in poor English please. If you cannot communicate in proper English, keep walking.

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  6. kashim you must be deluded to think that and shaheem thats called day light robbery. you can't force us to follow a pillar of islam. in the religion, it says to do zakat for those who can afford. one of the reasons we need a secular state!

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  7. 500 million a year! I now have a reason to grow a large beard and practice my Insha and Masha Allahs.

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  8. Yet another way for the government to make money when some Maldivians struggle to keep up with the payments and bills already demanded to keep the rich getting richer

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  9. A fund for all the habibis to go to jihad and more proselytizing. Yay Islamic minister!

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  10. kareem on Mon, 12th Jan 2015 10:53 PM
    This guy is not crazy!
    He has an aim, and he has his goal calculated in sight!
    The day he scores it, Maldivians will have to go down on their knees and beg him for each and everything!
    That will be the day when he will take revenge on everything he went through in the days he was schooling in Pakistan!
    Mark my word!

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  11. Secular governments are the only way. Religion should not determine legislation. "to defend Islam" needs clarification. Does he plan on supporting Islamic extremists in there bloody war against civilization?

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  12. Not for the P I J I N English conversing MissINdiaAgrawalthethug, Instead of fighting all the time be like MRC and help the needed. What a beautiful gesture MRC showed for the Course of the Palestinians? Can we have more of this happening about the Maldivians and the Maldives? Help others in need so that others don’t forget us when we are in need! True Humanitarianism! Be a True Maldivian! MissINdiaAgrawalthethug's is I N D I G L I S H.

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  13. Smart move by Shaheem. Why? Islamic Economics is winning

    details in the following link

    http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21638154-economic-power-and-political-influence-are-shifting-gulf-can-it

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  14. Zakath is an arkaan of Islam nd it must be imposed on all muslims. The bill is fine and myslims cannot voice against the commandments in the Qur'an.

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  15. Good call Minister Shaheem. Do an Adheeb. Collect as much money in the name of religion and pocket it in your own bank account.

    You can even open a jewelry business for your wife? oh, sorry you've done that before...my bad.

    Should have said a billion and not just 500 million

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  16. Good thinking Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, a well administrated Zakat bill to be used on poor, sick and other people in need. To make it really efficient make a computerized list over business and working population of the country where a yearly minimum contribution has to be paid. Whereof they can contribute more. Also a charge for miss prayer will add to the bill.

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  17. Please double-check the draft law. No where there is a provision of imprisonment or financial penalty of MVR500,000 for non-payment. Indeed, this punishment is for fraud, deceit or embezzlement of zakat funds (by officials). For non-payment the concerned Ministry can recover the unpaid zakat by confiscating property owned by the individual. This should be perfectly alright and fair.

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