Can Taxes Substitute for Zakat?

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Can Taxes Substitute For Zakat?

In the contemporary societies today, many questions concerning the tax and Zakat arise. Such questions need a discussion and analysis from the opinion of scholars. The question such as must a Muslim tax payers pay Zakat in addition to the taxes paid to the government? Or can taxes substitute Zakat in the first place?

In order to answer those questions, we must always remember that there's an essential features of Zakat, without it Zakat does not exist. The important things is the rates of Zakat that has been determined by Shariah. Then the intention is to fulfill the worship in obedience to Allah. Lastly, the distribution of Zakat fund has to be made to the eight beneficiaries.

On the contrary, tax rates do not follow the rates determined in the Shariah. Some tax rates are more than Zakat rates on certain assets and less on others. Some zakatable items are not taxable at all, while some taxable assets and incomes are not liable for Zakat in Shariah. As for intention, the tax payers who pay taxes cannot assume that payment of taxes considered as Zakat even they have intention of paying Zakat. In this context, the intention of worship is not pure because it has been mix by social obligation and not for the sake of Allah. The distribution of zakat fund must be proceeds to the eight beneficiaries mentioned by Quran. Let say if government collects Zakat, this collection must take the name of Zakat. Moreover if the taxes collected under other names, it does not replace Zakat and cannot be counted as Zakat as it do not carry the name form of Zakat.

There were some scholars that seem to be approved of taxes replacing Zakat. Ibn Taimiyah is quoted that levies taken by the government in the name of maks (taxes) can be given with the intention of paying Zakat, and obligatory Zakat is thus fulfilled, even such payments do not take the form of Zakat. The motivation behind such opinion is that they were given with the...
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