Review – Fiqh Az Zakat: A Comparative Study: The Rules, Regulations and Philosophy of Zakat in the Light of the Quran and Sunna

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Fiqh Az Zakat: A Comparative Study: The Rules, Regulations and Philosophy of Zakat in the Light of the Quran and SunnaFiqh Az Zakat: A Comparative Study: The Rules, Regulations and Philosophy of Zakat in the Light of the Quran and Sunna by Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve read the Arabic edition of this book, so i cannot comment on the quality of translation here. This is regarded as the author’s seminal work on Islamic law, as well as a first reference for both classical and modern issues related to zakat law.
His coverage of issues is encyclopedic, but while the author attempts to tackle many issues on this topic there are some apparent drawbacks:
1- His methodology in discussing nuances and details of some issues is selective at times, not to say that the quotes he provides or the references given do not represent authorities on those particular issues, but the lack of sufficient referencing leaves one wanting, especially if the issue at hand is one particular to a certain scholar of the past or school of Islamic law.
2- At times appeals to authority are used for legitimizing legal stances, and not enough analysis is done to challenge problematic issues found in medieval works of Islamic law.
3- The mainstay of the author is three medieval works: Al-Mughni of Ibn Qudamah, al-Majmu of al-nawawi, and al-Amwal of Abu Ubaid. al-Mabsut of al-Sarakhsi is covered as well. These works span 3 schools (Hanbali, Shafi, and Hanafi respectively) as well as the independent reasoning of Abu Ubaid, a 4th century jurist. I cannot at this time recall a Maliki source that was called on as frequently as these previous ones.

All in all it is a good work for the time in which is was written, however research in this area must continue to help move Islamic legal works away from the defective induction that many pre-modern and modern works rely upon.

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Legal tools for Zakat & charitable giving

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Giving zakat?
Managing fitra funds?
Donating money abroad?
Legal tools to help you do good.
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims turn their attention to spiritual renewal and zakat, or charitable giving.  When giving zakat, it is very important to comply with U.S. laws and regulations.  To assist donors, mosques and non-profits, Muslim Advocates has created the following resources, which contain critical information about legal requirements and best practices when engaging in charitable giving:
Giving zakat?
Donating money, goods or services abroad?
Managing fitra funds for a mosque?

Sign up to learn more about a Muslim Advocates conference call with legal and tax experts during Ramadan to help guide your decisions.
Please forward this email to your family, friends, and community leaders.
Help them get access to the tools and information they need to do good and comply with the law.

For more information, visit www.muslimadvocates.org.  If you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact Akil Vohra, Counsel, Muslim Charity Works Program, at 415-692-1486 or at akil@muslimadvocates.org.

Ramadan Mubarak!

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Combating Human Trafficking through Zakat

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Zakat recipients are enumerated in the sixtieth verse of Surah al-Tawbah:

إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَتُ لِلْفُقَرَآء وَالْمَسَكِينِ وَالْعَمِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِى الرّقَابِ وَالْغَرِمِينَ وَفِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ فَرِيضَةً مّنَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
Charity is only paid for: the destitute, the poor, those collecting it, to soften the hearts; in manumission, those in debt, in God’s path, and the wayfarer; an obligation from God. God is Omniscient, All-Wise

Zakat, given the generality of this verse, is to be used in the freeing of slaves and generally the abolition of all forms of human subjugation. It is important to note here that peonage and human trafficking still exist today, and most societies are guilty of illegal bondage, even Muslim ones. For resources and examples of how Human Trafficking still exists today, see here, here, and here.  Zakat can and should be used to fight this form of injustice.

Point of interest:

While unrelated to the topic of Zakat, the following is an interesting follow-up issue to that of peonage and slavery. Al-Bukhari narrates from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet said:

قال الله تعالى ثلاثة أنا خصمهم يوم القيامة رجل أعطى بي ثم غدر ورجل باع حرا فأكل ثمنه ورجل استأجر أجيرا فاستوفى منه ولم يعطه أجره

God himself has said: Three people, I am their plaintiff on the Day of Judgment; a man that was given in my name, yet was deceitful; a man that sold a free man and ate the price; and a man that hired someone,and whence he received full service, did not give him his pay.

Chattel slavery (the type that comes to mind for most western audiences) is forbidden in Islam, due to this hadith and many other texts. Any freeman that is robbed of that freedom is due reparations. Most legal works designate restitution for a person who, held against his will, was forced to work for the enrichment of another person. Scholars of the Maliki school have stated that if a person were to kidnap and sell a free man into slavery and it was impossible to locate that person or know of his whereabouts (ie to return him to his family), then the guilty party should have to pay the blood-wit (diyah) in total to that person’s inheritors.[1]


[1] – See Al-Hattab, Mawahib al-Jalil, and ‘Illish, Minah al-Jalil. The latter states this as the position of Imam Malik himself.

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