Tamlīk-proper to Quasi-tamlīk: Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) of Zakat Money, Empowering the Poor and Contemporary Modes of Distributing Zakat Money with Special Reference to British Muslim Charities

About the Research

The principle aim of this paper is to look at the concept of tamlīk (or possession of zakat-money by the recipient) from two dimensions: tamlīk by the recipient of zakat and tamlīk by the plenipotentiary, to wit, the organisation deputized to distribute the zakat-money on behalf of the British zakat-payer. The body deputized to distribute zakat has a religio-ethical duty of distributing the zakat-money it has taken possession of, in order to meet the allocative function outlined in the Qur’an. This paper questions whether British Muslim charities are currently being effective agents in achieving poverty reduction. It argues that there seems to be a lack of proper efficient zakat management system within these charities. Furthermore, it argues that the British Muslim charities’ modus operandi of distributing of zakat-money does not empower the poor; rather the charities dictate how the poor should receive their ‘money’.  This paper argues that cash distribution of should be considered a primary method of zakat distribution unless there are exceptional circumstances to do otherwise. It further argues that zakat in cash is far more effective in addressing poverty and empowering the poor than the status quo. This paper will hopefully exhibit a nuanced commonsensical and rational approach towards balancing the different juristic interpretations with a meticulous care to present as objectively as possible the views of opposing legal doctrines before embarking to refute weaker claims and to argue for the strongest view. I personally find this blending of traditional and rational argument (al-istidlāl wa’l ihtijāj bi’l manqūl wa’l ma‘qūl) the best approach to understanding classical issues in a contemporary context. 

Project Lead: Dr Shahrul Hussain

Project type: Peer reviewed journal