Zakat Money for Institution Building:
A Fatwa of Sorts
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
Fatwa Is an Opinion, Not Necessarily a Ruling –
And Certainly Not a “Religious Ruling”
And what is a Fatwa if not an opinion – albeit a most carefully considered opinion or view.
And in Islamic culture and language, a Fatwa is a view or an opinion coming from capable and qualified scholars.
A Fatwa is not what many Muslims call: “A Religious Ruling.”
For two reasons:
First, a Fatwa is not “religious,” for, the expression “religion” is problematic in Islam.
Second, scholars are powerless to issue “rulings.” A court or an official agency of some kind can give rulings: all scholars can do is express opinions and views.
And then helplessly watch the world go by.
Absent a base of official – call it governmental – power and authority, a Fatwa is toothless in terms of enforceability.
As a result, a Fatwa is binding on no one except the one who holds that particular view and issues that Fatwa.
Zakat for Institution Building
All this is prelude to what I am about to say here:
Allah knows best, but it seems to me – meaning it is my considered view, derived directly from the Qur’an – that it is perfectly all right, and Halal, and “Islamically” acceptable to allocate, spend and invest Zakat and Sadaqah money in creating enduring Public Service Institutions such as specialized mechanisms dedicated to providing Interest-Free Loans to people.
And Here Is that Aayat Karimah
Innamas-Sadaqaatu Lil Fuqaraa-i Wal Masaakeeni Wal Aamileena Alayiha Wal Mu-allafati Quloobuhum Wa Fir-Riqaabi Wal Gharimeena Wa Fi Sabeelillahi Wabnis-Sabeeli (Surah At-Tawubah, 9, Aayah 60).
And Here Is an English Translation of that Aayat
Below is a rendering in English of the meaning of that most blessed and noble Aayat using Yusuf Ali’s translation, with my own modifications.
Charities are only:
- For the poor;
- For those in need, though not poor;
- For those working on those charities;
- For those whose hearts need to be strengthened and reconciled;
- For those in bondage and captivity;
- For those in debt;
- In the cause of Allah;
- And for the wayfarer.
A Most Powerful Instrument of Socio-Cultural Reform and Reconstruction
Allahu Akbar! What an Aayah this is!
How clear, how straightforward and yet how powerful and empowering it is – of all sections of the society and of the world as a whole!
How can a society, with a most powerful socioeconomic and socio-political tool like this Aayat of the Qur’an in its hands ever fail?
Or ever be subservient or beholden to anyone else?
Or how could such a world in which this Aayat Karimah existed?
Empowering the Whole World – and All of Humanity
What better, or more comprehensive, or more powerful, or more thorough-going instrumentation of social, cultural, economic and political reform, regeneration and reconstruction can a society ever ask for?
This is nothing short of a full-blown socio-economic-cultural-political revolution in one compact Aayat of the Qur’an consisting of no more than 12 or 13 words depending on how you count them – and eight independent or correlated categories for allocating those funds.
And All this Coming from an Uneducated Man?
And all this comes from an man who never went to a university; never attended a school; never sat at the feet of a scholar, saint or a mentor!
Never read a book in all his life!
What more, the poor man could not even read or write!
The Qur’an called him the Unlettered, Uneducated man, born and brought up among an Unlettered and Uneducated People.
Such a man, with such a background, produces a most powerful and revolutionary economic theory on earth? How on earth do you explain that?
Is this what is called a miracle?
For anyone with eyes to see, anyone whose mental arteries are not clogged with anti-Islam and anti-Muslim hate and prejudice, it will be clear as daylight that this indeed is a miracle.
And this indeed is from God.
If The Qur’an Had Nothing to Offer the World but Just This One Aayat
If Qur’an had nothing to offer but just this one Aayat, the world would still be in its debt forever.
And the Qur’an has over 6000 passages called Aayats, just like this one, each most amazing than the other. Each most miraculous in its right, defying all human power through the ages to rival or emulate.
If You Don’t Believe It Is from God, Then Go Produce Your Own
That is precisely why the Qur’an says over and over what I am broadly paraphrasing here:
If you were in doubt about this Qur’an, go and try to create a Qur’an of your own – just like it.
Or try and produce 10 Surahs – just like the Surahs of the Qur’an.
Or at least try and come up with one single Surah if you can – just like the Qur’an.
But if you are unable to do any of this, then be afraid of the fire of hell that is lying in wait.
And how apt, and how very fair, that warning sounds!