Zakat, SDGs, and Poverty Alleviation of Muslims in India

Zakat, SDGs, and Poverty Alleviation of Muslims in India

Mohammad Tariq Intezar (University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, India) and Saad Bin Zia (Zia and Kirmani Multilingual Translation Service, India)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3452-6.ch001

Abstract

Muslims are the largest minority in India, yet the federal government has, in place, just a single Muslim-specific poverty alleviation scheme, which is utterly insufficient to meet their financial needs. Hence, in the face of governmental apathy and indifferent attitude, Muslims are left to fend for themselves. In this scenario, Zakāt turns out to be a more-than-handy tool to alleviate poverty among Muslims in India. Zakāt, over the years, has manifested itself as a successful means to meet out the financial needs of the developmental activities across the level including the non-Muslim countries. Zakāt possesses a robust potential to play a critical role to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to alleviate the poverty of Muslims in a Hindu-majority country like India.
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Introduction

Under the Islamic Sharī’a a person is regarded as poor if he fails to meet the basic required necessities of life that include food, shelter, and clothes. One of the tools to measure these standards is Nisāb that is the minimum material possessions that make a Muslim eligible to pay Zakāt. Islam attaches the highest importance to human needs. These are divided into three categories: (i) necessities; (ii) convenience; and (iii) refinements. The five basic human requirements of life-based on Maqāṣid al-Sharī’a are: (a) religion, (b) physical self, (c) knowledge, (d) dignity, and (e) wealth. After the fall of the Islamic Caliphate and the subsequent colonization of Muslim nations by European countries, Zakāt Institutions gradually lost their relevance. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to provide a conceptual study on the role of Zakāt in alleviating poverty, especially in India as also to show that how Zakāt aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals by examining both theory and practical aspects. Zakāt assumes global dimensions and forms one of the largest networks of wealth transfer in the world for alleviating poverty. The success of Zakāt in alleviating poverty depends on the methods used for collecting as well as distributing funds in a particular society. In countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, and many other Arab Countries, the collection, as well as distribution of Zakāt funds, has been institutionalized through government and non-government organizations. Zakāt is one of the five pillars in Islam and an important instrument for establishing social justice. Zakāt plays an important role in poverty alleviation and the promotion of equitable wealth sharing. The Quran identifies eight categories of eligible use for Zakāt, including helping the poor and needy, refugees and displaced people and liberating those in bondage. Zakāt, thus, powerfully conforms to several Sustainable Development Goals. At present, all in all, six religious groups are labeled as minorities in India. And among them Muslims, numerically, are way too ahead than the rest of them.

Objectives

The objectives of the study are:

  • 1.

    To study the population growth trend of Muslims in India since independence.

  • 2.

    To observe the incidence of poverty among Muslims in India.

  • 3.

    To suggest ways and means how to utilize and manage Zakāt to alleviate poverty among Muslims in India

Hypotheses

  • 1.

    Overall, since the independence growth of Muslim populations is almost constant. However, over the past two decades, it experiences negative trends.

  • 2.

    Muslims are the poorest among all religious communities in India. Poverty among Indian Muslims is increasing at an alarming rate.

  • 3.

    Zakāt can be an extremely helpful tool to alleviate poverty among Indian Muslims.

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