The effectiveness of zakat in bridging the gap between different classes in society is a well-established fact. It has prevailed over a span of centuries, simply because of how it alleviates the financial woes of the underprivileged members of society at a micro-level. While zakat has been hailed as a paragon of financial excellence by top economists of the world, there are still some challenges that impede its effectiveness, even in the 21st century. Now, we know that millions of Muslims all around the world depend on zakat money for managing their critical expenses. But sometimes, the reality isn’t as glorious as the expectations. And it is these realities, challenges in fact, that we wish to talk about in this discussion Zakat: Expectation vs Reality!
Finding someone worthy of zakat
We expect that our zakat money will help someone poor, but not always. It is with great regret that we say this, but fraudsters will leave no stones unturned in committing a fraud! There are no exceptions when it comes down to zakat disbursement as well. There are people out there who pretend to be genuine zakat candidates but are ACTUALLY NOT. Now, we know that you cannot tell who is who at the first sight or interaction. However, we encourage you to probe properly, the candidate you select for your zakat donation. Muslims all over the world should be doing that in our opinion since it serves two benefits. One, the right of genuine zakat candidates is not violated. Second, fraudsters are exposed easily this way. The concept of zakat will lose its value if the zakat money doesn’t land in the pocket of those who actually deserve it. The concept of wealth circulation, which makes zakat such a revolutionary financial system, will no longer be functional if the fraudsters and pretend-poor individuals are not identified.
It is the 21st century but Muslims all over the world still struggle when they sit down to calculate the annual amount of zakat that is due to them. Now, we have seen people tear sheets after sheets in frustration, as they get the numbers wrong every time. This problem stems from the expectation that calculating 2.5 percent of the total assets is quite an easy affair, in fact, hardly a taxing job. The reality is somewhere in a town little south of that! We cannot believe that we have to say this out loud. But oh Muslims, why aren’t you using a zakat calculator? It is the 21st-century folks! Stop going mad for no reason. Just open a zakat calculator online, and put in all that you have. Hit the submit button and the number that you have to pay in terms of zakat will appear on your screen! One important consideration in this regard is that you should use a zakat calculator only which has some sort of repute and trust cloud around it.
Zakat collection system – Zakat: Expectation vs Reality
It is expected that the state will collect and disburse the collected zakat money. However, reality begs to differ. Yes, it is true that in countries like the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Pakistan, there does exist a zakat collection system at the state level. However, people do not trust the banks too much which are deducting zakat percentage from the amounts in their accounts. And as far as the rest of the countries go, well, donating zakat can be a bit of a struggle actually. One has to manually search for the ideal and worthy candidates for their zakat money. The process can take some time, so one must be prepared for some elbow-grease! Also, in case the state is collecting zakat from you, have you ever wondered which poor families are benefitting from your donation? Keeping a track of things like these is important, to say the least!
Challenges in distribution
Have you been ever faced an ethical dilemma? A family doesn’t have anything to eat, another family has a patient who needs immediate medical attention for taking his life out of the precarious situation. Who do you donate for? Who deserves your zakat money more? Often, donors are caught in ethical dilemmas like these. It is just an unfortunate reality that our once beautiful world is becoming a place of doom and gloom with every day passing. The misery bar is higher than ever, which is why you see donors struggling to decide who deserves their zakat money more? Then, some charities are doing great work as well, some of which provide online services as well. We talk about these organizations in the next section of the debate.
The online zakat platforms have indeed made life easier for Muslims, especially for those who have a permanent residence in EU countries. Options are limited for Muslims in these countries anyway, so online zakat platforms provide them with a chance to donate for any deserving Muslims anywhere in the world. But there is a catch. There are many phony and fraudulent zakat platforms working on the wide world of the web right now. We are sure that you do not want to donate to a platform that is committing fraud in the name of a religious obligation. This is exactly the reason why we are going to ask you to search for your online zakat platform carefully. Do proper research, probe into its history, and read about its dealings in detail. Oh, and please make sure that the online zakat platform you select provides its services in the country of your choice as well!
Conclusion – Zakat: Expectation vs Reality
There is not an iota of doubt in anyone’s mind whenever the efficiency of zakat as a micro-financial model is put under the microscope. However, there is no harm in being cognizant of the challenges that this glorious Islamic tradition is facing in the current time and era. If we can address the problems that we have discussed in this discussion, things can only improve from where they stand right now! And on that optimistic note, we bid your farewell from this discussion!
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