Prospects of Poverty Eradication Through the Existing " Zakat " System in Pakistan

Faiz Mohammad

Abstract


Zakat which literally means growth, extension and purification
is a premium (in most cases annual) on all forms of accumulated
productive wealth and on a variety of agricultural produce. It is
calculated at various rates according to the nature of the asset or
product, and is due to 'the needy' (Mustahqueen or Mustahiq for
singular) of the Muslim community.! It is one of the five basic tenets
of Islam and besides being an obligatory act of worship, it is a system
through which a Muslim society can eradicate poverty and inequalities
[Qardhani (1981)]. In Pakistan till recent years people used to pay
their zakat to the needy on self-assessed basis Without involving state
functionaries. However, following the Sunni Muslim view that collection
and disbursement of one of the functions of an Islamic state, a system
to this effect was introduced for the first time in Pakistan in 1980.
Accordingly the collection of zakat on non-agricultural assets started
in June 1980 (Ramdall 1400) and that of ushr (i.e. zakat on agricultural
produce) from Rabi season of 1983. The introduction of the zakat system
in Pakistan is indeed a unique experiment of transforming religious
ideals in practical institutions. Given the experience of one decade
now, it would, therefore, be useful to see as to what extent the system
as practiced in Pakistan has the potential to eradicate poverty from
society. The present paper is an attempt in this 'direction. It is drawn
from an overall study of the zakat system in Pakistan based on primary
data collected through a random sample survey.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30541/v30i4IIpp.1119-1129

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