Zakat and Social Solidarity

Zakat and Social Solidarity

Prof. Asep Saepudin Jahar, M.A., Ph.D.

RAMADAN this year has a special meaning because we have experienced the covid-19 pandemic and completed the five-year democratic celebration of the 2024 Election.

Fasting is actually not only about enduring hunger and thirst felt during the day, but also how every Muslim is able to succeed in their social worship in full, namely being able to build empathy as well as solidarity between others without distinguishing social status.

The important lesson of fasting is social solidarity to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and support each other in various aspects of life. The practice of fasting together during Ramadan produces strong bonds between Muslims and other people of different religions.

Almsgiving to others, especially to the poor, is a reference that what each person has is part of the rights of others, not the absolute property of individuals. The vertical relationship with God and the horizontal relationship with humans encourage caring to share.

A simple thing in that regard is practiced through breaking the fast (iftar) together. In fact, it is narrated in a hadith that feeding the fasting person will be rewarded as much as the fasting person (HR Tirmidzi). This is where the majesty of individual fasting worship also contains a social dimension.

Giving in Islam is the main foundation. The reward of worship, which occupies the most important solidarity, builds egalitarianism. Zakat, infaq, and sadaqah occupy a noble place. Through these three acts of worship, there is a circulation of wealth and distribution in society. The teaching of zakat also encourages justice for all social classes.

In surah Al-Hasyr verse 7, it is explained, "So that wealth should not circulate among the rich only among you". Therefore, individualism is prohibited in Islam because it leads to individual egoism which results in social inequality.

The zakat component includes various assets that grow and have economic value in society to be distributed to the poor. Therefore, giving should be the best, not the flawed or bad.

Uniquely, the management of zakat is emphasized institutionally, not individually given directly to individuals. This approach teaches that strengthening social solidarity will grow when there is a good system for collecting and distributing it.

The great value of the concept is to eliminate the sense of inferiority of the recipient and the superiority of the giver. The giver acts to fulfill his obligations, and the recipient (mustahik) is entitled to the proceeds of zakat collection. Paying zakat, infaq, or sadaqah contains a combination of generosity and responsibility that must be fulfilled because there are other people's rights.

The modern management of zakat is explained in the Qur'an surah At-Taubah verse 60, which is distributed to eight groups of zakat recipients, one of which is the zakat manager. The essence of the teaching of zakat is that institutional management is required to encourage solidarity and social justice in society.

The author is the rector of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta. This article has been published in Media Indonesia on 15/3/2024).