The three-day Selangor Zakat Board (LZS) workshop I was involved at De Palma Hotel Shah Alam ended yesterday with interesting innovative ideas on the distribution of zakat to the three categories of zakat recipients (asnaf): the hardcore poor (fakir), the poor (miskin), and fiisabilillah.
Firstly, all the three asnaf have been redefined to include spiritual dimensions (for the hardcore poor and the poor), and the creation of Islamic syiar (image) as well as the development of Islamic bi`ah (environment) for fiisabilillah. These to date have been missing out in almost all attempts in zakat distribution.
Secondly, in categorising the hardcore poor and the poor, nisab of zakat has been taken as the basic measurement instead of the usual had kifayah. One with income less than 50% of the zakat nisab (after or may be before substracting his had kifayah) falls into the hardcore poor category while one with more than 50% but less than 100% of the zakat nisab falls into the poor category. Zakat distribution will be done according to case by case guided by the degree of the percentages rather than by the flat rate normally practised at the moment.
Thirdly, with the aim to empower zakat management at grassroots level, adoption of localisation and decentralisation approach was thought to be most suitable and necessary, so that zakat collection and distribution are done locally for the benefit of the local society itself.
Fourthly, the asnaf would be given a chance to be part of the zakat management process by participating in planning and decision making process, so as to allow popular participation and create a sense of belonging amongst the asnaf, hence avoiding prejudices and negative perception towards the management of zakat distribution.
Fifthly, zakat distribution projects/programmes/schemes would be carried out with the involvement of other suitable and qualified professional agencies, dakwah organisations, Islamic non-governmental organisations, voluntary groups, et. cetera. This is to develop individuals and groups that could voluntarily and intimately associate themselves with the asnaf, while providing asnaf with guidance, encouragement and stimulation in improving their life in this world and the Hereafter.
We will be meeting again on 5th October 2011 to stretch out the ideas with detailed action plans, InshaAllah. I was given a task to formulate the methods and action plans for the localisation and decentralisation approach.
May Allah SWT bestows me with ideas that He pleases and helps us in our endeavour to realise an effective zakat management, InshaAllah.