Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Zakat: Muslim Charity Or Terror Financing?

For Islamic jihadi hands only

Zakat, or almsgiving, is one of the five pillars of Islam. As the revered manual of Islamic law Umdat al-Salik explains: "Lexically zakat means growth, blessings, an increase in good, purification, or praise. In Sacred Law it is the name for a particular amount of property that must be payed to certain kinds of recipients under the conditions mentioned below. It is called zakat because one's wealth grows through the blessings of giving it and the prayers of those who receive it, and because it purifies its giver of sin and extols him by testifying to the genuineness of his faith."

Zakat is, in short, charity.

Why, then, have Islamic jihadists and leaders such as Osama bin Laden and Yusuf al-Qaradawi urged their fellow Muslims to donate their zakat to jihadists in order to fund terrorist attacks?

First and foremost, we have to understand the Islamic concept of charity. Like all things Islamic, charity has one overarching purpose - to serve the needs of Islam. That is why, according to Islamic law, zakat cannot be given to non-Muslims. Umdat al-Salik again: "It is not permissible to give zakat to a non-Muslim".

Because of this self-serving streak, there is no Islamic charity equivalent to the Salvation Army, a Christian charity whose ministry extends to all people, regardless of religion. Muslim charities only operate in Muslim countries or in service of Muslim interests. In Islam, only Muslims are worthy of charity.

One of those forms of charity is funding jihad warriors. The Qur'an contains a number of verses which put this form of financial jihad at least on par with jihad of the physical kind:

"Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if ye but knew." (9:41)

"Those who believe, and have left their homes and striven with their wealth and their lives in Allah's way are of much greater worth in Allah's sight. These are they who are triumphant." (9:20)

"O ye who believe! Shall I show you a commerce that will save you from a painful doom? Ye should believe in Allah and His messenger, and should strive for the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives. That is better for you, if ye did but know." (61:10-11)

"The (true) believers are only those who believe in Allah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Such are the sincere." - (49:15)

Umdat al-Salik confirms that "[t]he seventh category [to whom jihad can be given] is those fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster. They are given enough to suffice them for the operation, even if affluent; of weapons, mounts, clothing, and expenses (Though nothing has been mentioned here of the expense involved in supporting such people's families during this period, it seems clear that they should also be given it)."

Is it at all surprising, then, that jihadists should demand that they be given money from the umma for their actions, or that Islamic charities both in the West and abroad are giving their funds to terrorists?

And most of all, would it be at all surprising for the average Muslim to start believing that funding the jihad is one of his fundamental duties as a Muslim?

1 comment:

  1. dude wtf do you know about the average muslim beyond what you see on the "news" or as the rest of us call it, Glen Beck. stop acting like this is a war of good and evil, its not, its about muslims being pissed off at foreign countries for controlling their destinies, if america was in the same spot, youd have christian suicide bombers and terrorist.