Zakat & Terrorism

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Zakat &
Terrorism

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Islamic Charity Organizations: Alms & Terrorism

As-Sadaqât (here it means Zakât) are only for the Fuqarâ’ (poor), and Al-Masâkin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and for to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islâm); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allâh’s Cause (i.e. for Mujâhidûn – those fighting in the holy wars), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allâh. And Allâh is All-Knower, All-Wise. Al-Tawba 9:60

إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاء وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ‭. سورة التوبة ٩:٦٠

One of the five pillars of Islam is the requirement that every Muslims contribute to the Islamic charity (alms) tax or Zakat. According to the Qur’an, the Zakat funds must be used for the following purposes.

  1. The Fuqara poor. They are the poor who do not beg for support.
  2. The Masakin. They are the poor who beg for support.
  3. Those who administer the collection and distribution of the Zakat funds.
  4. Those who may be enticed to Islam as well as new converts who need financial support.
  5. Those Muslim slaves who may have their freedom purchased.
  6. Those who are fighting in the Cause of Allah, e.g., the Mujahideen.
  7. Muslim travelers who need assistance while on a journey.

One of the purposes of the Zakat tax is to support those struggles in the Cause of Allah (6.).  The Noble Qur’an states that Allah’s Cause entails supporting Mujahideen or those who are fighting in the battles and wars of Allah. So, it is no wonder that Islamic charitable organizations sends funds to militant organizations who fight in the Cause of Allah. From the perspective of many non-Muslims, some of these militant organizations are terrorist organizations.

The hadith of al-Bukhari in its section on Zakat informs us that Khalid did not have to pay the Zakat because he kept his armor dedicated to the Cause of Allah.  Armor is used for battle and not for charitable purposes as normally understood by non-Muslims. 

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) ordered (a person) to collect Zakat, and that person returned and told him that Ibn Jamil, Khalid bin Al-Walid, and Abbas bin ‘Abdul Muttalib had refused to give Zakat.” The Prophet said, “What made Ibn Jamll refuse to give Zakat though he was a poor man, and was made wealthy by Allah and His Apostle? But you are unfair in asking Zakat from Khalid as he is keeping his armor for Allah’s Cause (for Jihad). As for Abbas bin ‘Abdul Muttalib, he is the uncle of Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) and Zakat is compulsory on him and he should pay it double.” Sahih Al-Bukhari, Obligatory Charity Tax (Zakat), Volume 2, Book 24, Number 547

In conclusion, the Qur’an indicates that a portion of the Zakat, Islamic charity, should be used for militant Islamic objectives. An article in the New York Times states, 

Terrorist groups rely on contributions from wealthy religious conservatives in the Persian Gulf as well as from money diverted from the zakat — the mosque collection plate — on several continents. Money is often funneled through reputable charities into the hands of operatives. For instance, the World Trade Center bombing was financed through money coming from the Alkifah Refugee Center in Brooklyn. And the system of funneling money through charities has improved greatly since then. by Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The New Face of Terrorism, New York Times, January 4, 2000.

Last edited 09-25-2001

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