Towards Professional Zakat Institutions

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Najihah Mokter
Kuliyyah of Economics and Management Sciences
International Islamic University Malaysia

Abstract: Zakat is a duty from Allah since it is one of Pillars in Islam similar to the duty of Solat. In establishing Solat, the Muslims community organizes a place of worship so that it can be performed completely by Muslim. Similarly, Muslims are obligated to establish the institution of Zakat in order to collect Zakat and distribute them to the needy ones. The collection of Zakat is very important towards the development of economic country so that Muslim ummah can live in harmony and do contribution towards humanity. Therefore, it is really need to have strong and firm institution in order to become an effective administration and organization structure for the Zakat management.

Keywords: Baitulmal, Fard, Islam, Recipients of Zakat, Syaria, Zakat.

1.0 Introduction
The word zakat is the infinite of the verb zakat, meaning ‘to grow and to increase’. When said about a person, it means ‘to improve, to become better.’ Consequently, zakat means ‘blessing, growth, cleanliness or betterment.’ In the Shari’a the word zakat refers to the determined share of wealth prescribed by Allah to be distributed among the categories of those entitled to receive it.

Zakat is a social obligation and financial due, whose proceeds help the economically weak and needy citizens of the state. It is a social duty defined as a right of the needy and destitute, a financial tax obligated by Allah to be taken from the wealthy in the nation and rendered to its poor in fulfillment of the right of brotherhood, the right of society, and the right of Allah. 2.1 Development of Zakat Institutions in Malaysia

In the Malaysian contexts, Islam has been recognized as the official of the State. As stated in the Federal Constitution, Article 3 (1), it is clear that Islam is the religion of the Federation, but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation. Corresponding to this article, the item 1 of List 11 (State List) of Schedule 9 of the Federal Constitution it is provided, inter alia, that the power to enact Islamic laws includes the Zakat and Baitulmal or similar Islamic religious revenue vests to the jurisdiction of every State.

The Sultan as Head of the State may acts in his discretion of the religious affairs in the particular State (Mohammad Suffian, 1978). Therefore the Sultan has very important part in the issue of fatwa or rulings on the Muslim religion and law. He has the responsibility to ensure that Islamic law fully implemented and practiced by the Muslim citizens in the State. In this sense, the main jurisdiction of the State relating to Islamic laws is to establish a Syariah Enactment and to ensure the effective implementation of the enactment and establish a proper institution to regulate the implementation of the Syariah Law.

The involvement of State in regulating Islamic law in Malaysia is a clear constitutional jurisdiction. The Constitution is the fundamental law of the nation but the Constitution does not restrict the jurisdiction of every state to be creative in managing the Islamic affairs of the State. Therefore, the State is fully authorized to establish an enactment to ensure the smooth functioning of the Islamic practices in the State including the rules of Zakat and sustaining the right of supervising the smooth functioning of Zakat in the State. In order to implement zakat properly, involvement by the State through the State Religious Council is indispensable and it is the jurisdiction of the State Religious Council to establish a proper system of zakat and appoint zakat-officials to manage zakat.

In the past, zakat was implemented in very traditional approach and the administration of zakat very much depends on Quranic Law and Hadith by strictly...
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