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In many verses the Qur'an mentions that charity is a duty that must be fulfilled:

"And render to the kindred their due rights, as (also) to thee in want, and to the wayfarer: but squander not (pour wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift."

"So give what is due to the kindred, the needy; and the wayfarer, that is best for those who wet the countenance of God; and it is they who will prosper. That which Ye lay out for increase through the property of (other) people, will have no increase with God: but that which Ye lay out for Zakat, seeking the countenance of God, (will increase). it is these who will get a recompense multiplied".

"As to the righteous, they will be in the midst of garden and springs, taking joy in the things which , their Lord gives them because before that they lived a good life they were in the habit of sleeping but little by night, and in the hours of early dawn they (were found) praying for forgiveness, and in their wealth and possessions (was remembered) the right of the (needy) one who asked, and he who was prevented (from asking)..."

"Except those devoted to prayer, those who remains steadfast to their prayer, and those in whose wealth is a recognized right (for the needy), for he who asks and he who prevented (from asking)."

We all know that rights have to be rendered. To guarantee this rendering the Prophet ( Prayer and Peace of Allah be upon him) collected alms through those he appointed. The Qur'an had decreed that those who collect alms can also receive alms. It is a definite fact that most of the apostates after the death of the Prophet apostatized by refusing to render Zakah decreed upon them. The fact that Abu Bakr issued orders that they should be fought confirms that it is a duty of the state to collect Zakah and enforce it upon all who have to render it. As for the distribution of Zakah, it is known that the Prophet ( Prayer and Peace of Allah he upon him) used to distribute it himself to Muslims each according to his need, so that the utmost benefit is gained for the good of them all, as individuals and as groups.

This is stated in the verse of the Qur'an:

"And among them are men who slander thee in the matter of (the distribution of) the alms. If they are given part therefore they are pleased, but if not, behold they are indignant. If only they had been content with what God and his Messenger gave them and had said: efficient unto us is God! God and His Messenger will soon give us of His bounty;to God do we turn our hopes ! That would have been the right course."

This shows that the hypocrites were content only when they received alms, dissatisfied when deprived of them, and that the Prophet dispensed from the Zakah funds himself. Zakah was one of the main sources of revenue of the Islamic state. The money was spent in accordance with the Qur'an on the eight categories mentioned. For these reasons, it is best to pay Zakah to the state represented in terms in what it sets up as special institutions for Zakah. This is the best and the most useful way to distribute it, since the present increase in population and their many-sided preoccupation does not give them the chance to know the truth about others in order to decide who is poor, needy, etc. We often come across a person who is able to earn his living, and who does in fact earn his living use roundabout ways to get charity in one way or another In that way charity is not given to those who deserve it.

As for the state, since it looks after the good of all and can with all the facilities in hand discriminate between those who deserve charity and those who do not the investment multiplies the amount in a way that makes the benefit wider and bigger. The industrialization of a country and the growth of its economy is again beneficial to the community in the same sort of way as Zakat. With this the way is opened for the unemployed to find work. It is an obvious fact that unemployment is a reason for poverty; though it is not the main reason.

Again, such a procedure is strengthening to the state itself and it helps to raise its prestige it is as if good encompasses individual and community alike. The Islamic state was founded on the collection of Zakah through its employees who were appointed for that particular work after the death of the Prophet. The order of Abu Bakr to wage war against the apostates in his time underlines the fact that the state was founded on the collection of Zakah. This state of things continued throughout the time of Umar. His speech after his succession proves that, for it mentioned wealth in the following way:

"Take it from me that I shall not collect from you more than what is due; this I shall distribute in a just way."

This is a confirmation of the necessity of collecting Zakah and dispensing it. This continued to be so throughout the time of "Uthman" until he was assassinated; then the Muslims quarreled amongst themselves. Some of them paid Zakah to the public treasury.

History relates that "Umar Ibn Abdel Aziz" used to send his employees to collect Zakah and distribute it. "Yahya Ibn Sa'd" says of that:

Umar Ibn Abdel Aziz sent me to collect Zakah from Africa. I did so, then I asked for the poor who should receive it. I did not find any because Umar Ibn Abdel Aziz had made every one rich. I used the money to free some from slavery".

Perhaps the best assurance that the public treasury is the place which has the right of collecting Zakah is the Qur'an, when it states that those who administer it have a share in it. Those who administer it are obviously those who collect it, those who are appointed by the state for this purpose.

 
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