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Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Brunei: Why Is There So Much Excess Of Zakat Funds?

Bandar Seri Begawan - His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday questioned the existence of zakat or tithe collection funds, which amounted to over $100 million.

"What baffles me is that why there is an excess of so much in the funds?" His Majesty asked.

"If there is so much left in the funds, it must mean this is the balance left over after all the funds have been distributed to those who fit the categories of people considered poor and needy."

Delivering his titah at the National Disaster Management Council meeting yesterday, His Majesty asked whether the funds meant that there is no one left in the categories of poor and needy to request for financial assistance, resulting in the WO million worth of tithes.

"Is there really no one else in Brunei who deserves to receive a portion of these funds?" wondered His Majesty as he sought for answers from the relevant authorities in the meeting.

In this context, His Majesty said he would seriously focus on three significant categories of people who deserve to receive the zakat or tithe funds, namely the fakir (destitute and needy), miskin or poor and the algharimin for those who are under heavy debts.

"Is it true that Brunei has no more of these three categories of people that still need our assistance?" asked His Majesty.

His Majesty said that people who fit under the three categories still exist in our society, but asked why is there still so much balance in the funds.

"Why I raise this issue now is because I must simply remind you that poverty, if unchecked, can lead to disaster, aside from the compulsory law of zakat which must be given to those who deserve it and must not be held back," said His Majesty.

"Have we not heard of people committing various crimes due to desperation, people committing suicide because of poverty and even people converting their religion because of poverty."

"Is this not considered a disaster?' asked His Majesty, pointing out that this too can happen to those under heavy debts and the reason Allah (SWT) considered those in debt as one of the categories who deserve a portion of the funds.

"Praise be to Allah because so far, the Islamic Religious Council has approved the payment of debts for 190 people who fall under the A lgharimin category amounting to the sum of $ 2.377 million," said His Majesty.

This is only two million out of the $50 million which is still available. It is possible that there arc many still out there under the Algharimin category who deserve a portion of the zakat funds, said His Majesty.

"We should not underestimate the gravity of this situation as poverty can be considered a disaster in many aspects of the word.

"Disaster is not only floods, landslides or the existence of H1N1 flu. Disaster can exist in many forms," His Majesty added.

-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times

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