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The Fatwas delivered by the Fourth Symposium on Zakah Contemporary Issues (Held in Bahrain Shawwal 17, 1414 A.H. / March 29, 1994 A.D.)

First: The channel of those employed to administer Zakah
  • This refers to the employees appointed or authorized by the Islamic governments or recognized authorities in order to levy and distribute Zakah, spread legal rules pertaining to Zakah, acknowledge money holders with names of Zakah recipients, transfer, maintain and invest Zakah money according to the conditions and restrictions stated in the first recommendation of the Third Symposium on Zakah Contemporary Issues. Modern Zakah organizations and committees are considered as a modern form of the old charity houses known in Islam. Therefore, employees in such organizations should meet the conditions required in whomever is employed to administer Zakah.

  • Such employees are authorized by the government in performing the tasks allotted to them. Scholars stipulate that such employees should be Muslims, males, honest and familiar with the rules pertaining to Zakah. There are other helpful tasks which can be performed by others who do not meet these conditions.

  • Those employees deserve the remuneration determined by the authority which appoints them provided that such remuneration will not be more than their counterparts' even if they were not poor. All employees' remuneration and administrative expenses should not exceed one-eighth (12.5%) of Zakah money. Over-employment is not recommended in this regard. Some or all salaries should be drawn from the Public Treasury so as to direct Zakah money to other channels. Zakah employees are not allowed to accept any bribes or gifts.

  • The headquarters of Zakah organizations should be provided with the required furniture, equipment and tools. If it is not possible to allocate money from Public Treasury or donations for this purpose, it is permissible to make use of the employees' share of Zakah in achieving this purpose, provided that such furniture and equipment should have an immediate relation to levying and distributing Zakah.

  • Zakah committees should be controlled and supervised by the authority which forms them, for the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to check the accounts of Zakah employees. The Zakah employee is held responsible for any loss of Zakah money resulted from his negligence or misuse.

  • Zakah employees should follow Islamic morals and conduct when dealing with those who give Zakah and its recipients. They should be lenient towards them and invoke blessings on them. They should work hard towards spreading the rules of Zakah, its importance in the Muslim community and its role in achieving social solidarity.

Second: Zakah on ill-gotten money
1. Ill-gotten money refers to any sort of possessions which the Islamic Shari`ah prohibits owning it, either because it is harmful such as wine, illegally acquired such as looted money or illegally gained such as usury and bribe.
  • If one acquires money illegally, he should return it to its original owner or his inheritors however long period passed with such money already in hand. If one does not manage to know its real owner, he should spend it on charitable deeds on behalf of its owner.

  • If one receives money as remuneration of a prohibited work, he should spend it on charitable deeds but not return it to the payer.

  • Ill-gotten money is not to be returned to its real owner if he insists on illegal transactions such as dealing in usurious interest. Such money is to be spent on charitable deeds.

  • If it is difficult to return the very same money to its real owner, an equivalent sum of money should be returned instead. If its real owner is not known, such sum of money is to be spent on charitable deeds on behalf of its owner.

2. No Zakah is due on ill-gotten money and it should be eliminated.
3. No Zakah is due on illegally acquired money because it is not entirely owned by its present owner. If returned to its real owner, he should pay Zakah on it for one year even if it remained in the possession of another for years.
4. If the holder of ill-gotten money does not return such money to its real owner and pays Zakah on it, he is still sinful as far as he has such money because he has just paid a part of it while the rest is still in his hand. He is not acquitted unless he returns it to its real owner or gives it as charity.
Third: Zakah and Taxes

1. The symposium calls the Islamic governments to issue the required laws for implementing Zakah system according to the Islamic Shari`ah. For achieving this purpose, special organizations should be established and their financial resources and expenditures are to be recorded in special accounts. The symposium also calls for reconsidering nowadays financial systems so as to be re-modeled in conformity with the Shari`ah.

  1.  The balance sheet of the state should be financed by the revenues of the public possessions and other legal financial resources. If they are not sufficient, the Government may fairly impose taxes in order to meet its expenditures and submit help to Zakah recipients if Zakah money is not sufficient. It is not allowed to use Zakah money in meeting such expenditures.

  2. Taxes may be imposed to achieve the interests of the Muslims which should be determined and estimated in the light of the financial Islamic system and the general rules and targets of Shari`ah.

  3. Imposing taxes is permissible only if there is a real need.
  4. Taxes should be collected and spent fairly. A specialized, efficient authority should control and supervise their collection and distribution.

  • Taxes do not replace Zakah because both were imposed by two different authorities and for extremely divergent targets. Besides, the amount and channels of both are entirely different. Therefore, the amounts of taxes are not to be deducted from obligatory Zakah money.

  • If a certain amount of taxes should be paid to the government during the year and it is not paid before the year is complete, it should be deducted from Zakah possession because it is a due right.

  • The symposium recommends that the Islamic governments should modify the taxation laws so as to deduct Zakah money from taxes.

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