Ramadan: the Islamic tax season

By Abed Ayoub With Ramadan upon us, Muslims worldwide are counting their wealth. Men and women are tabulating their valuables … Continued

By Abed Ayoub

With Ramadan upon us, Muslims worldwide are counting their wealth. Men and women are tabulating their valuables and calculating their sources of family income and savings.

In essence, it’s the Islamic tax season, but Muslims willingly pay these dues as a means for financial and spiritual purification, feelings that come from knowing that they have fulfilled a requirement of their religion in providing for impoverished people worldwide. Many Muslims choose to pay this amount during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan for increased spiritual benefit.

This annual, obligatory charity – zakah – is one of Islam’s pillars of faith. It is a set percentage of an individual/family’s annual income and savings, and is incumbent upon only those who can afford to pay it. Zakah is also meant to benefit people of all faiths as it is to be distributed to anyone living in poverty.

Like other areas of life, how to protect one’s financial health is outlined in Islam through a set of prescribed behaviors that prevent and treat ailments. Zakah is just one example of these safeguards as it helps promote the fair distribution and circulation of wealth in society.

Many experts now agree that in light of our current economic crisis, Islam’s straightforward and transparent financial principals – where risk and reward are shared — are a viable option for anyone looking for a more ethical approach to finance.

Firstly, Islam emphasizes moderation in expenditure. In the Holy Quran, it states, “The faithful servants of the Beneficent are [...] those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not miserly, but hold a just [balance] between those [extremes].” (The Holy Quran 25:67)

It also encourages leniency in financial transactions. Prophet Muhammad said, “Allah’s (God) mercy descends on a man who is lenient [easy to deal with, gracious] when he sells, lenient when he buys, lenient when he pays, and lenient when he receives.”

Another preventative measure from incurring financial crisis is Islam’s prohibition of usury. Usury permits a lender to take advantage of the financial needs of a business, expecting interest without regard to the profit or loss incurred by the borrower. Instead, Islam mandates that a loan should either be interest-free or an investment that makes a profit only if and when the business makes a profit.

Muslims are warned against incurring unnecessary debt and are strongly encouraged to pay their debts fully and in a timely manner. In addition, debtors who forgive debts are revered, and Muslims are encouraged to help others’ pay their debts. “If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay. But if you remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if you only knew.” (The Holy Quran 2:280)

Islam also aims to minimize disputes, confusion and fraud in business transactions. For this reason, specific categories of transactions are not allowed in Islam. These include selling a product that doesn’t exist yet (although a deposit for a future sale is acceptable), selling a product that is undefined or not understood by the buyer or seller, selling based on false rumor, and selling what one does not own or cannot deliver.

People and civic institutions play an important role in alleviating the difficulties and poverty that arise. At Islamic Relief USA, as a relief and development organization, we take this responsibility very seriously and strive to apply Islamic principles to the highest degree. We strive to keep our administrative costs under control in order to maximize our resources for those we serve. We also provide publicly accessible information on IR USA’s programs, management and policies on websites like GuideStar, to maintain fiscal transparency and organizational efficiency.

It is for this reason that Charity Navigator, the leading charity evaluator in the United States, has recognized Islamic Relief USA with its highest rating of “four stars” for seven consecutive years. It is also for this reason many American Muslims will turn to Islamic Relief USA this Ramadan to distribute their zakah in the most effective manner here in the United States and abroad.

To learn more about Islamic Relief USA and its programs, please visit: www.IslamicReliefUSA.org

Abed Ayoub is CEO of Islamic Relief USA.

About

  • Nabihah

    please check out

  • HarshK

    How about the “jizya” imposed on non-Muslims? How about the daily incidents of hatred and terror practiced by Muslims all over the world( 5 guards killed in Iraq, 10 bus passengers shot in pakistan….)?

  • ThishowIseeit

    Abed,

Read More Articles

Screenshot 2014-04-23 11.40.54
Atheists Bad, Christians Good: A Review of “God’s Not Dead”

A smug Christian movie about smug atheists leads to an inevitable happy ending.

shutterstock_134310734
Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

Valle Header Art
My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

shutterstock_188545496
Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

5783999789_9d06e5d7df_b
The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

concert
Why I Want to Be Culturally Evangelical

I’ve lost my faith. Do I have to lose my heritage, too?

shutterstock_37148347
What Is a Saint?

How the diversity of saintly lives reveals multiple paths toward God.

987_00
An Ayatollah’s Gift to Baha’is, Iran’s Largest Religious Minority

An ayatollah offers a beautiful symbolic gesture against a backdrop of violent persecution.

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

shutterstock_188022491
Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.