Bismillah: A few years ago I was appointed as the Amir of my community which, by Allah, gave me the opportunity to try and implement something I had been speaking about, and indeed writing about for some time, the proper collection and distribution of Zakat on Monetary Wealth using Islamic Gold Dinars and Islamic Silver Dirhams.
The first task was to appoint and then train Zakat Assessors and Collectors, which meant people of good standing in the community who were able to comprehend the deep significance of what we were doing and learn enough to be able to help people work out what they owed. It is important not to over-complicate things by insisting that Amirs and ‘people of good character’ are somehow these people who have never made a mistake or that they be replicas of the Khulafa Rashidun.
This was followed by having made sure that somebody in the community had seriously taken on being a supplier (and redeemer) of gold and silver coins (the Wakil), and then an education programme aimed at men, women, young people and children making sure that the assessors and collectors were known, and that everyone knew their individual responsibility concerning this pivotal Pillar of the Deen.
In my own role I was very particular about not being a collector or distributor but being an integral part of a team that looked at who might be the recipients of this Zakat which we needed to distribute as soon as possible after collection, and of course the ultimate responsibility of it all lay with me at that time, as the Amir.
Some time later when I was no longer the man in charge I was very pleased to see that the practice continued and people were readily coming forward to pay Zakat without prompting, and I even found myself having to help distribute the Zakat (in gold) to a man who’s house had recently burnt down, and now this year I find myself, by default, in the position of actually being a collector of Zakat.
I recognise, and am extremely grateful, for the privilege, honour and the great blessing that I have been afforded by Allah, to be so involved in the (re) establishment of a Pillar of the Deen in its correct form as best as we are able, meaning:
• Collection under Muslim Authority
• Zakat paid and distributed in Gold Dinars and Silver Dirhams
• Zakat paid to local people in the categories outlined in the Qur’an
Now, only as the banking system collapses around us, are some Muslims beginning to wake up. Forget the ‘Muslim Banks” (may Allah forgive me using the two terms together) they will thankfully crash and burn along with the rest of them and perhaps the “ulema” who have sanctioned such a thing will make a tawba that is accepted by Allah, they certainly need to. This is not being overly harsh on these people, but look at the difference. On one hand a handful of people striving to establish Allah’s deen by putting in place the fallen Pillar of Zakat in their local situation against all the odds, with little resources and with much skepticism around them, and with a success that can only come from Allah.
On the other hand compare that to some respected ulema, with the whole banking infrastructure behind them, lots of money, and the ear of the Muslim masses, yet the end result is that they direct these Muslims to Riba (usury), something that Allah and His Messenger have declared war upon.
If Allah has made something halal then it must be possible, much less if He has made something Fard. It’s time for us to get our act together, to make it absolutely clear just what Muslims and the Deen of Islam, has to offer to this crumbling society, in terms of justice, social cohesion, wealth creation and social welfare, but we have to take it on ourselves, within our homes, within our communities and within our hearts and also under local Muslim authority and with a high himma relying on Allah, because success is only by Allah.
May Allah grant us all success.
Amin, Amin, Amin.