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Islamic Social Welfare and the Role of Zakah in the Family System

Ahmad Bello, Dogarawa (2008): Islamic Social Welfare and the Role of Zakah in the Family System.

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Preferment in society was exposed to the two extreme of negligence and excessiveness. Relations in Capitalism are based on monopoly, resulting in an unequal wealth distribution. In Socialism and Communism, relations are based on materialistic equality to diminish the conflicts arising from unequal wealth distribution. Islam stands in the middle course. Islam stands in the middle course. For over fourteen hundred years, the economic system of Islam, in accordance with its policies, stood firm and was instrumental in evolving a society which was neither capitalistic nor socialistic but which combined all the good features of the two. It advocates the system of wealth distribution with a view to realising a society in which there will be no accumulation of wealth in a few hands, no hoarding and no profiteering; a society in which there will be neither slums nor multi-millionaires, neither the exploited proletariat nor the exploiting bourgeoisie. This paper exposes Islamic social welfare and the socio-economic role of Zakah in the family system and its effectiveness in combating poverty and social menace in the society. The paper is analytical with presentation based on survey of relevant literature. The paper confirms that the Zakah system provides a permanent mechanism from within the economy, to continuously transfer income from the rich to the poor and that once correctly assessed, promptly collected and properly disbursed, it plays the role of solving dangerous problems such as poverty, unemployment, catastrophes, indebtedness, and inequitable income distribution in a Muslim society. The paper recommends that Muslims rich should be encouraged to discharge their obligations either through organised systems (where available) or individually. When paying their dues personally, they should be encouraged to start with the Zakah deserving members of their immediate families.

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