Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I am in Yogyakarta since the 18th of June, participating in The Third International Workshop on Islamic Economic Theory themed Islamic Public Wealth Management, organized by Universitas Islam Indonesia (UII), with the cooperation of EKONIS of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

The title of my paper is "Organizational and Definitional Reconfiguration of Zakat Management". It attempts to explore the problems of the hiccups in the zakat management in Malaysia. I observe that there are two types of hiccup, viz, the organizational hiccup and the definitional hiccup.

The organizational hiccup refers to the hiccup entailed firstly from the over-paternalistic attitude of some of the State Islamic Religious Councils (SIRCs), secondly the problems of centralization versus decentralization, and thirdly the problems of professionalism (especially in the zakat collection dealt with by zakat management centres) versus traditionalism (especially in the zakat distribution dealt with by the SIRCs) in the zakat management system.

The definitional hiccup refers to the hiccup created by the usage of unredefined concepts related to zakat. For instance, zakat is said to have been able to alleviate poverty, but the concept of poverty itself is not redefined according to Islamic teaching. Instead, it remains as a western ethno-centric concepts with western ethno-centric indicators and measurements.The end product therefore is being viewed from that western ethno-centric eyes, even though the instrument is an Islamic institution called zakat.

Both the organizational and definitional hiccups have to be reconfigured accordingly. The former by balancing the centralization with the decentralization (through localization approach) and traditionalism with professionalism. The later by developing authentic Islamic concepts from within Islamic philosophical and epistemological underpinnings.

I will be flying home tomorrow, InshaAllah.

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