Mufti Taqi Usmani, an Islamic scholar and a former judge of the Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court, has suggested replacing the current zakat system with a new one based on ground realities.
He made these remarks while giving his opinion in the Supreme Court in a case related to the question that whether the Zakat funds and Bait ul Maal could be used to pay salaries of the employees or for day-to-day expenses of the departments.
Mufti Taqi, as well as the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), were invited by the Supreme Court to give their valuable opinion in this regard.
He suggested replacing the current zakat system (which took place after the 18th Amendment) with a new one based on realities.
If the Zakat system has to continue, it must be reviewed thoroughly and replaced with a fresh system based on realities on the ground, lest the Zakat, a sacred form of worship, should fall prey to corruption and say the least of mismanagement.
After the 18th Amendment in 2010, the system of Zakat went to provinces and Federal Zakat and Ushr Ordinance 1980 was repealed. He explained that governments need to have a well-organized system to control the zakat distribution, which they lack.
He said that if the current system cannot be replaced with a fresh system, it should be abolished at once.
Let the people pay their Zakat with confidence to the poor directly and be satisfied that their Zakat has reached those who deserve it.
He regretted that people have lost confidence in governments due to corruption and mismanagement, and they want to pay zakat directly to those who deserve it.
Some Ulema, he explained, consider that at source deduction of Zakat was against the Shariah law and that the obligation of Zakat does not discharge even after the amount is deducted.
Mufti Usmani also highlighted that under the current system, the collection of Ushr has been ended, though no legislation is present in this regard.
He recalled that during the times of Holy Prophet (s.a.w) and four caliphs, different people were specially employed to collect Ushr at a time when crops were harvested and to cattle owners to collect Zakat of cattle according to a well-defined formula.
These people used to bring the Zakat and Ushr and pass on to Bait ul Mal (the exchequer of the state). Once it became a part of Bait ul Mal, the collected Zakat was used by the state in the eight heads mentioned in the Holy Quran, the opinion said, adding that the people who collected Zakat used to be given their remuneration out of the Zakat fund.
Justice Gulzar Ahmed thanked Mufti Usmani for his valuable opinion and said that his words are substantial material for the guidance of the court. The top court also ordered placing his opinion on record of the court.