Zakat is included in the fourth Pillar of Islam. It shows that zakat is an indicator of a Muslim’s Islamic faith. In Islam, there are two types of zakat: zakat fitrah and zakat mal or zakat of wealth. Eight groups are entitled to receive it, namely as stated in the following Quran Surah At-Taubah:
“Indeed, the zakat is only for no incomers, fewer incomers, zakat officers. Next are people who recently converted to Islam, people who liberated enslaved people, persons in debt, travellers for the benefit of Allah, long distances travellers, and Allah is All-Knowing again All-Wise.” (QS. At-Taubah: 60)
In the zakat, three parties are involved: muzaki or zakat givers, mustahik or zakat recipients, and amil or zakat officers. Amil is obliged to distribute zakat from muzaki to mustahik, who belong to the eight groups above. So which is more critical, channelling zakat fitrah directly to muzaki or distributing it through amil?
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Is It Better to Channel Zakat Fitrah Directly to Mustahik or Amil?
Through the Quran surah At-Taubah verse 60 previously, Allah Swt has stated explicitly that zakat worship has its administrator or zakat officer, namely amil. It relates to surah At-Taubah verse 103, in which Allah commanded the Prophet Muhammad Saw, as the leader of the people, to “take” some of the treasures of the aghniyas. Aghniya is a rich man or a person who can meet his needs.
“Take zakat from some of their treasures; with that zakat, you cleanse and sanctify them and pray for them. Verily your prayer is (becoming) the peace of the soul to them. And Allah is All-Hearing All-Knowing again.” (QS. At-Taubah: 103)
The meaning of “some wealth” in the above verse is zakat. According to Al-Maraghi’s interpretation, the zakat will cleanse the aghniyas from the sins arising from their abstinence from war and purify themselves from the love of treasure.
In addition, zakat will also rid themselves of ugly qualities that arise due to property, such as misery, covetousness, and so on. Therefore, the Apostle then sent companions to withdraw zakat from the Muslims.
The withdrawal and management of zakat in the time of the Prophet Muhammad Saw was carried out by a special committee called amil zakat. They received full authority from the Prophet Saw to record the Muslims who were obliged to issue zakat. Then, they distributed zakat to eight groups of people who were entitled to receive it.
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This zakat committee was explicitly formed for remarkable work as well. They collect data on muzakki and mustahik so that the data collected is accurate and accountable. Thus, mistakes such as misdirection in the distribution of zakat will not occur.
One of the most famous stories about zakat or amil officers is Muadz bin Jabal. In the historical hadith of Bukhari and Muslims, number 1308, it is mentioned that the Prophet Muhammad Saw sent Muadz bin Jabal to Yemen to become a zakat officer.
“From Ibn Abbas radhiyallahu ‘anhu, the Prophet Saw sent Muadz to Yemen and said the contents of the hadith. It was stated, “Verily Allah has obliged zakat to them on their property taken from their rich people and given to their poor people.” (HR. Bukhari Muslim)
In addition, some hadiths also mention that the Prophet Saw always sent amil to collect zakat from the aghniyas.
The obligation was issued zakat from the aghniyas during the Prophet Muhammad Saw. He directly controlled it with the help of Umar bin Khattab, Ibn Lutabiyah, Abu Mas’ud, Abu Jahm, Uqbah bin Amir, Dhahaq, Ibn Qais and Ubadah bin al-Shamit who were later appointed as amyl by the Prophet.
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Thus, the conclusion is that the distribution of zakat fitrah is better left to amil zakat, trustworthy, credible, and professional, than handing it over directly to mustahik. However, it is okay to distribute zakat fitrah directly to mustahik, but with conditions. Zakat fitrah can be directly distributed to mustahik only if there is no amyl in an area or there is amyl, but the amyl has been proven to be untrustworthy.
Advantages of Channeling Zakat Fitrah Through Amil
There are five advantages if zakat fitrah is handed over through amil or amil zakat institution (LAZ), including:
- Following the commands and instructions in the Quran and Sunah
- The certainty and discipline of zakat payers are guaranteed
- The feelings of muzaki and mustahik are awake, muzaki is not big-hearted, and mustahik does not feel inferior
- Achieving efficiency, effectiveness, and accuracy of targets in the utilization of zakat according to the scale of priorities in an area
- Spreading Islamic “vibe” and the spirit of Islamic governance
As a national amil zakat (LAZ) institution, Dompet Dhuafa has been trusted to manage zakat, infaq, sadaqah, and waqf (Ziswaf) funds for the past 30 years. Zakat funds are managed in a trustworthy and professional manner.
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