It’s Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, and many advertising boards on the streets of London — or, more appropriately, Londonistan, as it befits a city with such a large, influential and radical Muslim population — invite Mohammedans to pay their zakat (Muslim obligatory charity).
Zakat donations in the UK have greatly increased in the last few years, and Ramadan is traditionally a time when zakat giving grows.
The posters portray cute kids and people in distress, reminding Muslims of their duty to help them.
How nice. Are these truthful reflections of the philanthropic nature of the “religion of peace”?
Let’s see. The problems with zakat are essentially two:
The first is that Islamic charity should benefit only other Muslims. Not exactly a generous spirit embracing all humanity.
The Quran teaches:
Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. (48.29)
This is after all consistent with the rest of Islamic teaching, which cautions Muslims against befriending infidels:
Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them. But Allah cautions you (To remember) Himself; for the final goal is to Allah. (Quran, 3.28)
Islamic law forbids zakat from being used to help non-Muslims.
There is scholarly consensus (ijma`) that zakat cannot be given to non-Muslims, as mentioned by Ibn al-Mundhir, Kasani, Ibn Qudama, Buhuti, and others.
Muwaffaq Ibn Qudama, a great Hanbali Imam, says in his Mughni:
‘We do not know of any difference of opinion among the people of knowledge (ahl al-`ilm) that zakat on wealth cannot be given to a kafir’ Ibn al-Mundhir said, ‘There is consensus of all those whose positions we know from the people of knowledge that a non-Muslim (dhimmi) cannot be given any zakat.’
Christian refugee victims of the flood that devastated Pakistan in 2010 know this part of Islamic doctrine all too well. They were denied aid largely donated by the post-Christian West — which didn’t seem to care very much about this politically correct form of discrimination — unless they converted to Islam.
“The tireless work of Caritas continues in all directions, in every diocese and without discrimination on the recipients,” said Bishop Max John Rodrigues of Hyderabad. “In the diocese, we help everyone. Many religious and Catholic volunteers are working in the area. I see a lot of solidarity: Muslims, Christians, and Hindus are united in suffering.
“As far as the aid brought by Islamic charity groups, they defend themselves by saying that according to their doctrine, the money from the zakhat (Islamic alms) should go only to Muslims,” he added. [Emphasis added.]
Similarly, the prohibition also explains why the contribution from Muslim countries to the Haiti 2010 earthquake relief effort — since Haiti has almost no Muslims — was puny, and the aid from one of the US’s largest Islamic charities, LIFE for Relief and Development, was used just to build mosques in the Caribbean country.
And that’s not all. Non-Muslims can in some cases be allowed to receive charity donations, but only to attract them to Islam:
Alms are only for the poor and the needy, and the officials (appointed) over them, and those whose hearts are made to incline (to truth) and the (ransoming of) captives and those in debts and in the way of Allah and the wayfarer; an ordinance from Allah; and Allah is knowing, Wise. (Quran, 9.60) [Emphasis added]
Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid says:
It is permissible to give regular charity – not obligatory charity (i.e., zakaah) to poor kaafirs, and to exhange gifts and with them and treat them well to soften their hearts towards Islam. [Emphasis added]
This is a candid peace appeared in the United Arab Emirates’s The National, for example:
One hundred new converts to Islam will each receive an equal share of Dh1 million donated by the Zakat Fund. Zakat, the third pillar of Islam, is a mandatory tax for every Muslim who is financially able to contribute. It is calculated at 2.5 per cent of financial assets, but has different rates for a variety of other sources of wealth, such as livestock and minerals.
New converts are one of eight broad categories defined as deserving recipients of zakat in Islam.
The second problem with zakat is even more serious. It’s not enough that Muslim charity does not do any good to the rest of the human species; it’s also meant to do it harm.
Of the eight broad categories of recipients of zakat referred to in the above quotation, one merits our close attention.
The Quran’s verse 9.60 quoted before lists as recipients those “in the way of Allah.” And this is what it means:
Zakat can be given in the path of Allah. By this is meant to finance a Jihad effort in the path of Allah, not for Jihad for other reasons. The fighter (mujahid) will be given as salary what will be enough for him. If he needs to buy arms or some other supplies related to the war effort, Zakat money should be used provided the effort is to raise the banner of Islam.