ZAKAT MANAGEMENT IN INDONESIAN AND ZAKAT GLOBAL SYNERGY
By : Ahmad Juwaini
STORY ON DEVELOPMENT OF ZAKAT IN INDONESIA
13th centuries ago, Islam entered the land of Indonesia and since then the light of Islam shines the fatherland that extend from Aceh to Papua. Gradually, step by step, the people from many parts of Indonesia know, understand and ultimately practicing Islam.
As the basic foundation of a Moslem, the five pillars of Islam is the first and main teaching taught and practiced in daily lives of Indonesian Moslem people. As well as the declaration of faith (syahadat), the five daily prayers (shalat), fasting during the month of Ramadhan (puasa), hajj- the pilgrimage to Mecca (haji), zakat (the obligation to give alms) is the third articles of the five pillars of Islam has become part of Indonesian Moslems since its early entrance in Indonesia.
Eventhough the journey of Islam in Indonesia has been passed centuries, the zakat management is done in a very simple and natural approach. The first type of zakat that became popular among Moslems community is Zakat Fitrah. Most Moslem gives out zakat fitrah in form of uncooked rice, money or other staple foods to Ustad, Kyai or Ajengan (spiritual leader) around their place of living. Others distribute their zakat through pesantren and mosques or other Islamic social organization such as orphanage. Many of them also distribute their zakat directly to the poor and miserable or to the rightful recipients.
At that time, a formal institution on zakat management has not yet been introduced. Generally, all the zakat committees has temporary characteristic such as it is establised during the month of Ramadhan or on the night of Ied. The people who manage sometimes are those individuals who are entrusted by the community or mosques and pesantren in traditional way. Therefore, it can be said that the Moslems then still has little concern on zakat.
Moslems low concentration on zakat could be seen by comparing Moslems awareness on zakat and the other articles of faith on the five pillars of Islam such as shalat, hajj and so forth. Indonesian Moslems attention on matters concerning shalat is shown by the spreading out of mosques and mushola (small prayer house in residential and office area) in Indonesia. Moreover the biggest mosque in South East Asia is found in Indonesia. Indonesian Moslems concerns on the fifth pillars of Islam- Hajj, is revealed by legendly known the term of address “Pak Haji” and “Bu Haji”. Also almost in all Indonesian provinces we can find the hajj boarding house. Even in Jakarta, Batam and Samarinda there are Hajj Hospital.
However if we would like to know: “What fact can be shown that Moslem in Indonesian is concern about zakat?” the answer would be very low or almost none. It seems that for hundreds of year the zakat of Indonesian Moslem is like a rolling wave in the middle of the ocean, but then disappear without a trace when it reaches the beach.
Why zakat has not yet had its benefit “monument” in the past? The main reason would be that the Moslem community at that time paid their zakat traditionally- direct and personal. They were not yet understand and instill the values why zakat need to be distributed through an institution.
On that traditional period, the world of zakat in Indonesia had few characteristics, such as:
1) In general it is given by the muzakki to mustahiq without the help of amil zakat.
2) If it is entrusted through amil zakat, then it is limited only on zakat fitrah.
3) Zakat generally is distributed for temporary consumption.
4) Assets that become the object of zakat only limited to those explicit assets that are explained in detailed in Qur’an and Hadits, which are gold and silver, agricultural farming (limited to plantation that produces staple foods), ranch (limited to cow, sheep), trading (limited to commodities), and rikaz (discovery treasure).
One of the reasons why zakat in Indonesia has not yet been carried out and managed optimally is because there are still many incorrect perceptions on zakat. The false perception is inherited from traditional understanding that does not based on the full understanding of zakat. Some of Moslems’ incorrect perceptions on zakat are:
a. Zakat is special religious observance (Mahdhoh/Ta’abbudi), an opinion that zakat is only a religious ritual, connected to all religious observance regulation. Zakat is the fifth pillars of Islam, thus has to be approached with transedental perspective. This viewpoint would narrow the space for Moslems to do exploration, discovering new ideas and developing the zakat practice in in Moslems.
b. Zakat is individual religious observance, a view that like any other pillars of Islam, zakat is tend to be understood as personal behavioural teaching in fulfilling his duties to his Rabb. This perspective rejects the zakat’s role as social concern and social wealth instrument. The consequences would be that every people who do their zakat feel that the problem has ended, when they meet their duties in paying the zakat. It is not important to see whether their zakat has made a change in public prosperity.
c. Zakat is the same as Zakat Fitrah, an opinion that zakat means zakat fitrah. All this time Indonesian Moslem lives in colonialism, thus not many Moslem people have a good life. This also affects their ability to pay Zakat Mal (Zakat on assets). It is not surprising that Indonesian Moslem have more understanding on zakat as zakat fitrah.
d. The time for Zakat is on the month of Ramadhan, a view that the momentum in paying zakat is on the month of Ramadhan. It also means that zakat only progress in Ramadhan. The consequences would be that the portion of Moslems attention in developing thoughts and implementation on zakat is limited to the month of Ramadhan. Eventhough zakat that is linked to the month of Ramadhan is only zakat fitrah. Whilst for zakat on assets, the zakat payment term is much depends on Nishab (the zakat outstanding time; it could be payable yearly, every harvest time or by time that assets being gained).
Since there are still lots of incorrect perceptions on zakat among Moslems, the zakat management situation has not yet shown its quality. The situation on zakat management in Indonesia in common can be described as follow:
a. Only occur in the month of Ramadhan. Usually the zakat management institution is established in form of committee and operates effectively for the last three days of Ramadhan. Such institution is not categorized as a permanent institution but temporary.
b. Managed by unpotential senior people. The managers of zakat institution are usually the eldest who also have limited potential on growth.
c. Managed part-time. The institution of zakat management is administered unprofessional. It describes that zakat is not something that important in the lifes’ of Moslems people.
d. Lots of “negative thinking” towards the assigned institution. Due to many fraudulent use of zakat fund by several zakat institution, thus forming people’ perceptions that zakat institution can not be trusted in which it is used much for their own interest.
e. Having traditional, dirty, and marginal images. Zakat institution is an institution that is managed with traditional insight and insufficient knowledge
After going through the phase of individual and impermanent zakat management, it is then realised by the Moslems in Indonesia that they have to start improving the quality of zakat management. Indonesian Moslems begin to feel the need of an institution that specializing in managing Zakat and Donation (Infak and Shodaqah). The urge to institutialise the zakat management becomes more and more strong.
This strong desire is finally crystalised when eleven Islamic scholars on national level convey their proposal to President Soharto on September 24th 1968 which then exercised with President Soeharto exclamation on Isra Mi’raj commemoration at Istana Merdeka on 26 October 1968.
To extend the existence of zakat management institution, Religion Minister then release an Instruction No. 16 year 1989 regarding Development of Zakat and Infak/Shadaqah. It then strengthened by the Religion Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs Directive No. 29 year 1991 and No. 47 year 1991 regarding the establishment of Zakat and Infak/Shadaqah Institute. It is, moreover, supported by the Governor of Greater Jakarta Special Capital Region decree No. 280 year 1991 about the management of Zakat and Infak/Shadaqah in DKI Jakarta territory.
In harmony with the publication of many directives and ministerial decree, as well as the establishment of BAZIS DKI, lots of BAZIS is set up in many provinces in Indonesia and its networking structure from subdistrict to villages. Furthermore this type of BAZIS is then being followed by the public through Islamic organisation, especially mosques by forming a zakat management institution. One of such institution that prominent is Al-Falah Social Fund Foundation (YDSF) Surabaya that was found in 1989. YDSF tend to collect donation (infak) fund, even though at the end the activity of managing zakat is done.
After the establishment of many BAZIS and ZIS Management organisation that are being set up in mosques and pesantren (Islamic schoold), thus the public starts to socialise the importance of paying the zakat through institutions. At this stage the image of zakat management through institution is very low.
Entering the year of 1993, an institutionalised zakat administrator marking its history with the establishment of Dompet Dhuafa Republika, an institution that manage zakat set up by the Moslem society and maintain by the power of an Islamic newspaper- Republika, which then known by the public as a zakat institution that pioneering a model of professional management of zakat. Dompet Dhuafa Republika therefore slants the dynamic of zakat history in Indonesia.
One of the big roles performed by Dompet Dhuafa Republika is to nursing the birth of Association of Zakat Administrator “Forum Zakat” (abbreviated: FOZ). Through Zakat for Corporation Seminar that held on July 7th 1997, Forum Zakat was declared, where at the beginning it was consortium by 11 institutions, such as : Dompet Dhuafa Republika, Bank Bumi Daya, Pertamina, Telkom Jakarta, Baitul Mal Pupuk Kujang, Bazis DKI, Hotel Indonesia and Sekolah Tinggi Ekonomi Indonesia (STEI).
Concurrent with the participation of zakat administrator institutions, especially through Forum Zakat, the government has also realized that it is time to make the zakat regulation instruments in Indonesia. With the joint commitment of many groups/parties/people in Indonesia including the legislative body, finally at the end of President BJ Habibie governance an Act concerning Zakat Management No. 38 year 1999 is legalised on September 23rd 1999.
Subsequently the Act was taken to next step with the Minister of Religion Directive No. 581 year 1999 regarding the exercise of Act No. 38 year 1999 which then being revised with the Minister of Religion Directive No. 373 year 2003 and the General of Moslem Society Guidance and Hajj Affairs No. D/291 year 2000 in regards to technical guidelines on Zakat Management.
As the follow up on zakat regulation in Indonesia, thus in many areas in Indonesia, Regional Regulation (Perda) on Zakat is also legalized- from province (propinsi) to administrative city (Kabupaten/Kota) level. This Regional Regulation is the explanation and technical arrangement on the execution of Zakat Management Act on Regional stage. Zakat Regional Regulation is the means for organizing the variety of zakat management policies in many regions.
With the legalization of Zakat Management Act in 1999, thus Indonesia is entering a new era, where zakat becomes an important element in the life of Indonesia people. The legalized Zakat Management Act noted that zakat has come into the formal state territory. Although half of the content still arouse pro and contra, but in general Zakat Management Act is believed to bring a fresh breeze for the development of zakat in Indonesia.
One of the consequences of Zakat Management Act legalisation was the setting up of National Zakat Institution (BAZNAS) as an institution that administered zakat at national level in which it could play a role of coordinator for all the zakat management institutions. Nevertheless in the progress, this role still needs many other supporting prerequisites in order to reach the optimum condition.
Besides BAZNAS, Zakat Management Act recommends the set up of zakat administrator organization arrange by the government which is called Badan Amil Zakat (BAZ) and the one that arranged by the society is called Lembaga Amil Zakat (LAZ). With the legalization of Zakat Management Act, thus almost all the provinces and more than half of the administrative city establish BAZ. The presence of BAZ is also being completed with the increasing birth of LAZ, in national and regional stages.
The Zakat Management Act also clarifies that zakat payment can become a tax deduction on taxable income. Even though it is not yet fulfilled the main wish of the Moslems, where zakat is tax deductable, but however the accommodation on zakat payment as tax deduction on taxable income is a form of motivation and recognition that the Moslems is expected to have the urge to pay their zakat through a formal zakat institution. It seems that the need for socialization and intensive trouble-free facilities are still high and therefore the execution of zakat payment as tax deduction on taxable income could be realized as broad as possible.
As part of the support given to strengthen the zakat institutions in Indonesia in which it also helps to grow the society’ consciousness in paying zakat, on October 26th 2005 which seemingly occur on the month of Ramadhan 1426, The President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at Istana Negara announce the Zakat, Infak and Shadaqah Movement. The movement of zakat awareness is wished to broaden the zakat collection which was gathered from various zakat organizations.
After the birth of so many zakat institutions, whether the one establish by government (BAZ) or society (LAZ), on this stage and hereinafter are the most important part where we have to develop a synergy between zakat institutions in Indonesia. These numerous zakat institutions have to become means of facilitation to strengthen zakat function in helping and empowering the poor and needy (mustahik). Not the other hand, where it becomes the reason of the emergence of competetition, contradiction and conflict between zakat institutions.
Zakat synergy is also part of the steps to mobilize collected resources from different zakat institutions. Such synergy would unite the potential to do something more big and strategic. If one or several zakat institutions could not actualized their programs in empowering the mustahik, thus the synergy would make the possibility to do more be greater and therefore and so does its impact.
In order to achieve the synergy stage between zakat institutions, several prerequirement or steps have to be enforced such as:
1. Every zakat institutions have to realize that their task in managing zakat is the task given by Allat SWT in the context of fulfilling the religious duties and always favoring the public interest above all.
2. Every zakat institutions have to realize that the zakat they administered is entrusted by Allah SWT, muzakki and thus has to be used for the sake of mustahik.
3. Every zakat institutions have to joint-in-hand and have the ties of fraternity between fellow Moslems and between zakat institutions themselves.
4. There should be a mutual resolution to decide on which strategic programs have to be done and prioritized on certain period. Such resolution would become the benchmark of every zakat institutions.
5. Every zakat institutions have to be realible to share potency, whether it is in the form of fund nor human resources and facilitation so as to materialize the community strategic program.
6. There should be intensive mutual communication to understand and respon all the developments, so that the synergy process would improve.
Every zakat institutions could implement a synergy with other zakat institutions. In hope that all of them could perform a realible, professional and beneficial activities, therefore the community would be encouraged to distribute their zakat through their institutions.
Many efforts in synergizing the management of zakat in Indonesia have been done. Several examples of synergy form between zakat administrator that have been carried out by zakat institutions in Indonesia, are:
1. Collaborating program of development of tithe collector (amil zakat) resources. For instance the program is being done by two or more zakat institutions working their activities together in order to improve the amil zakat capacity and capability through zakat management trainings or workshops. This for example is shown in the Amil Development Program organized by Zakat Management Institute (IMZ) where some zakat institutions were involved as the program supporter.
2. Collaborating program of distribution or empowerment of zakat, such as: the arrangement of working skill training on this matter would be how to make use computers for the mustakhik or by way of financing and managing the unfortunate farmers to be able to improve their harvest or by managing hospitals and medical unit for the poor. This is done for example on agricultural farming program in Lamongan East Java where many zakat institutions are involved and also in program Free Health Care (RS LKC) at Sunda Kelapa Menteng Jakarta.
3. Collaborating program between management of zakat institutions, for example to team up to make their institutions more solid by making use of their advantages to achieve a better organisation performance. Such corporation is done by two or more zakat institutions, which once done by Baznas and Dompet Dhuafa Republika and thus Baznas Dompet Dhuafa was formed on September 20th 2006 up until September 20th 2007.
INDONESIAN AMIL ZAKAT CODE OF ETHICS
One of important aspects in organizing zakat in Indonesia is systemizing the Amil Zakat code of ethics. Amil Zakat is a profession that should be considered among Moslems community. The necessity of the profession is determined by Allah Rabbul Alamin through His divine in the Qur’an. Amil Zakat duty is to be a mediator of zakat circulation from muzakki to mustahik. If there is no Amil Zakat, then the supporting pillar of zakat fund management would collapse.
Relatedness to Amil Zakat, once upon a time there was a story about zakat institutions in one of the city in Indonesia that showed their enthusiacism in collecting zakat funds in Ramadhan by socializing the fundraising attractively so thus we could find lots of promotional media of several zakat institutions in every corner of the city. Unfortunately an excessive unhealthy competition appeared. A promotional media of an institution is “covered” with other zakat institution promotional media. Or else like what happen in another city, a zakat institution, obstruct another zakat institution that wants to do its socialisation in a company that has become its “regular donator”.
Such fenomena shows that amil zakat code of ethics needs to be understood. It is a code of conduct that has to be done by every people who involved in the area of zakat management service. With the amil zakat code of ethics thus every people and every institution would be guided to act positively in supporting every program that would improve the development of zakat. Not otherwise become shallow and thinking that zakat management is only a task intended for a few people or one particular institution.
Amil zakat code of ethics will shape amil zakat perception that managing zakat is a huge mandate from Allah SWT and has to be carried out with seriousness and truthfulness. This noble task in managing zakat is basically done with the consciousness of fulfilling the duties and devotion to Allah Rabbul Alamin. With the profound sincerity, thus amil zakat will present a proper conduct in managing zakat in accordance to what Allah SWT and His Prophet have destined. The result would be the appearance of dignified character in managing zakat.
Some behaviour that could be considered in the amil zakat code of ethics is:
1. Working sincerely in the name of Allah
2. Using the Zakat Syariah to be the guidelines in managing
3. Serving the muzakki and mustahik wholeheartedly
4. Having a proper conduct and humanitarianism, especially by helping the poor.
5. Seeing competition with other zakat institutions as a race in goodness, so that we could appreciate and respect others more.
6. Being transparent and accountable
7. Always doing self-improvement so that working performance would advance from time to time
8. Always pray for the muzakki as a form of appreciation to the people that have given some of their wealth to help others in need.
Amil zakat code of ethics will continue to be socialised so that it can be the guide for every ectivities in zakat institutions in Indonesia. This code of ethics will undergo perfection so it can guard the amil zakat conduct in Indonesia. To strengthen the code of ethics position when facing the zakat institutions, thus it needs to be made official or being supported by zakat institutions and other related parties in the journey of organizing amil in Indonesia.
THE FUTURE OF FORUM ZAKAT (FOZ)
Forum Zakat (FOZ) is the association of zakat institutions in Indonesia. It is a means for uniting and interacting all zakat administrator in Indonesia. Since it was found in 1997, FOZ has now been operating for eleven years. The member consists of Badan Amil Zakat (BAZ) dan Lembaga Amil Zakat (LAZ). The numbers of registered members are 253 organisations.
Nowadays emerge questions marks about FOZ performance in the future that are based on quite important thoughts. The first assessment come into view is the opinion that FOZ performance is decreasing in the battle of zakat in Indonesia. Even though FOZ if viewed from its activities sides, is still running lots of activities, however the program that are chosen still has artificial characteristic. Thus FOZ is valued to be incompetence to choose strategic activities/programs for the sake of society.
The second assessment revealed is that FOZ is not yet able to become the connector as well as the augmentation of zakat organisation (OPZ) strength. Some actions taken by FOZ to synergize OPZ is like challenging a steep wall. The activities processing and each members interests usually become the obstacles. The commitment and implementation to form a joint project sometime undergo endless discussion.
The third assessment emerged is that members of FOZ do not felt the real benefits of FOZ. They think that the existence and the discontinuance of FOZ have no difference. At the end theywould assume that FOZ is not too important. FOZ has made lots of efforts to extend its wing to district area, but always stumbled by the lack of support and enthusiasm from OPZ. For them the presence of FOZ is unsignificant for the development of their institutions.
The fourth assessment would be that FOZ is now has become part of Badan Amil Zakat Nasional (BAZNAS) or at least the role of FOZ and BAZNAS is overlapping and thus unclear. FOZ is expected to be independent and elegant to voice the many interests and opinions of zakat institutions.
To make the role of FOZ more clear in the future, thus every zakat stakeholder in Indonesia need to formulate the strategic role of FOZ. One way to explain FOZ position in the upcoming is by setting up the “Blue Print of Zakat Indonesia” in which the necessity at the moment is urgent in order to direct and picturised the face of zakat Indonesia in the future.
INDONESIAN ROLE IN SYNERGIZING ZAKAT INTERNATIONALLY
On 13-15 March 2006 in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia was held an international conference on zakat. That regional activity is called South East Asia Zakat Conference. The Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had the pleasure to give welcoming speech to open this international meeting. Around 200 delegations from many countries in South East Asia attended the great event which was held for the first time.
The accomplishment of South East Asia Zakat Conference is the result of zakat development growth in south eastasia all this long. Many zakat organisations have grown in ASEAN countries for the last 10 years. Through friendships and conventions between zakat administrators throughout South East Asia which was dreamt up by zakat administrators in Indonesia, and then crystalised in a desire to strengthen the function of information transfer and synergy.
This conference is improvised to formulate the South East Asia Board of Zakat (DZAT), a means for gathering of the leaders and all the zakat practitioners in South East Asia. The Board consists of people that have the full understanding of zakat in each country. The roles and responsibilities expected from the Board are:
1. To be the reference in deciding a solution for every zakat problems accour in regional level, whether it is fiqh matter or management
2. To standardise the zakat administrator competence, on the level of Amil, nor the management of the organisation
3. To do studies and research in the development of zakat in South East Asia
4. To held seminars, trainings, workshops in improving the quality of zakat management
5. To collaborate in making use and distributing zakat, especially in constructing zakat pilot project in South East Asia
6. To initiate the formation of Regional Zakat Board in other parts of the world.
The establishment of DZAT is a reflection of Moslem’ awareness to improve and optimalize the use of zakat so that it could give a wider beneficial and and uplifting the social status of the poor. Through DZAT, the zakat society in South East Asia will try to overcome the poverty problems in South East Asia.
The establishment of DZAT is strategic step to follow in the restoration of International Baitul Mal as practice by Rasullullah SAW and his disciples. With the set up of DZAT, the next step taken in the next five year is to establish Board of Zakat in other parts of the world. Furthermore in 10 to 15 years ahead it is expected that International Board of Zakat has been formed. The international Board of Zakat would afterward initiate the establishment of International Baitul Mal.
Thus the South East Asia Conference on Zakat in Kuala Lumpur becomes the momentum and has an important role in the arena of zakat internationally. The conferences proceeded successfully and obtained the target goal.
In the South East Asia Zakat Conference, Datuk Abdul Rahim, the Board of Directors of Pusat Pungutan Zakat (PPZ) Malaysia at the end of the conference session said: “We are from Malaysia will allocate 10 percent of the zakat fund raised in all Malaysian areas to finance zakat activities in South East Asia”. This statement is a form of support and commitment to stimulate the movement of South East Asia Board of Zakat (DZAT) that had been declared to all participants of South East Asia Zakat Conference in Kuala Lumpur on March 15th 2006.
The forming of DZAT was also supported by Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in which in his opening speech he said: “Through DZAT, an agreement could be made to handle contemporary issues on zakat in overall by considering the sensitivity of the members”
Besides the commitment to establish DZAT, South East Asia Conference on Zakat is also confirming the consciousness to make use the power of people’s economy. The Malaysia ambassador in Saudi Arabia Datuk Ismail Ibrahim in his speech convey: “The economic power that should be on the hand of Moslem people, is not well managed and productive, and at the same time, the Moslems people prosperity can not be used to help other Moslems in need.” He invites all the participants to make an effort to gain the power of people’s economy so Moslems can stand up straight in global interaction.
Currently, after DZAT is being agreed, it is then depends on the zakat administrator in South East Asia, especially the entrusted repository of DZAT, to make use of the momentum to optimalize and synergize zakat in South East Asia. The poor and the miserable in South East Asia and all the components of Moslem society who have aspirations to go back to nobility of Moslem people are waiting for the real actions.
For the Indonesian Zakat community, the establishment of DZAT is a symbol of the appearance of the third rolling waves of zakat. The first wave is the phase where every zakat institution in Indonesia is taken up in various activities to improve the quality of the management of zakat. This phase is directed to achieve trustworthy and professional management performance.
The second wave came when zakat institutions in Indonesia is motivated to coordinate with other institutions and to manage zakat on the national level. This phase is marked by the establishment of Forum Zakat (FOZ), an association for the organisations of zakat administrator all over Indonesia. This phase is also marked by the legalisation of Zakat Management Act No. 38 year 1999.
And the third wave arrive when zakat institutions in Indonesia pioneering and directly involved in the management of zakat in South East Asia. The phase is marked by the establishment of DZAT and zakat synergy in South East Asia. This third wave has just being started, no trace of it can be seen yet since the ripples have just appear on the surface and thus still gathering its height of success.
After the thir wave has been passed, thus the fourth wave would come, that is when all zakat institutions in Indonesia initiating the international zakat synergy. On this phase International Baitul Mal is being developed and efforts to reintroduce the glittering period of zakat as what already occurs in the past.
The birth of South East Asia Board of Zakat (DZAT) is a pilot project for the establishment of zakat management solidity in between countries. DZAT is expected to be the leader as well as the pioneer of the birth of Regional Board of Zakat in other parts of the world. DZAT is a mover and an initiator for the set up of other Regional Board of Zakat. The DZAT activists have to socialize the existence of DZAT as well as promoting it for the establishment of other Regional Board of Zakat.
The positive results that have been achieved by DZAT should be use as reference for the existence of other Regional Board of Zakat. The outcomes of the directive made by DZAT can become an inspiration for the other Regional Board of Zakat. Therefore DZAT status becomes important including its activities and achievement.
In the long run, an effort has to be done for the establishment of other Regional Board of Zakat, such as East Asia Board of Zakat, West Asia Board of Zakat, African Board of Zakat, European Board of Zakat, American Board of Zakat or Australian Board of Zakat. Such efforts are:
1. Organizing seminars on the importance of Regional Board of Zakat
2. Visits various areas of the world to socialize the Regional Board of Zakat
3. Making use of international Islamic to socialize the necessity of Regional Board of Zakat
4. Writing a literacy to enlighten the importance of Regional Board of Zakat in the form of books, magazines or brochures.
INTERNATIONAL ZAKAT ORGANISATION
After the establishment of Regional Board of Zakat, so then the next step that has to be taken is to set up the International Zakat Organisation as the miniature of International Baitul Mal accordingly to the examples showed by the disciples and successor of Prophet Muhammad SAW. The presence of Baitul Mal is playing a very important role in managing zakat fund in global scope.
The aims and benefits of the International Zakat Organisation establishment are:
1. As a mean of synergizing and coordinationg International Zakat
Even though the Moslem society has a large potential on zakat fund, but if the fund could not be synergized and coordinated, then it cannot be the source for bigger benefits.
2. Decide on Syariah Guidelines and Contemporer Practical Zakat Management
At every period of time a guideline is needed to solve new problems in the context of managing zakat internationally. The result would be used as a parameter in the management of zakat all over the world.
3. Becoming an international zakat fundraiser
The strength of zakat fund potency must be mobilized to become the source that can be use for the strategic interests for the Moslems, internationally.
As the resume of International Zakat Conference and the establishment of South East Asian Board of Zakat, without fanfare, a great international event was held. The conference aims to declare the set up of international zakat organisation and was taken place in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia on November 28th 2006. On the initiative of Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and supported by Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and also Islamic Chamber of Commerce and industry (ICCI), the idea of forming an international zakat organisation is moving quite fast.
The conference that took a theme : “Towards The Establishment of an International Zakat Organization” attended by 14 countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordania, Turkey, Syria, Uni Emirat Arab, Qatar, Pakistan, Yaman, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. Every country is being delegated by the Minister of Religion or Ministery that takes care of zakat affairs. Indonesia representative were Minister of Religion Moh. Maftuh Basyuni associated with Director General of Bimas Islam Department of Religion Prof. Nasaruddin Umar.
Some consideration were made in forming international zakat organisation as conveyed by Syaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamil, President ICCI: (1) To make zakat as the source of fund to eliminate poverty and unemployment; (2) To make zakat as the source of fund to do investment activities in order to enhance the economic growth; (3) To develop the management capacity of zakat institution in various Islamic countries.
In a discussion about responses on the proposal of setting up an international zakat organisation, every country declares their approval. Even though some of them wish that the idea is put into more detail, but nevertheless every country agrees to establish the international zakat organisation. The Indonesian Minister of Religion Maftuh Basyuni expresses his support on the idea since it would be very useful for the Moslem people all over the world, depends on the situation and condition of each countries.
In his opening speech, the Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi confirming that later on this international zakat organisation will play a role in helping to optimize zakat through zakat fund subsidy of rich Moslems countries to the poor Moslems countries. Thus it is expected that this organisation will help the hardship or suffering of a Moslem country when struck by a disaster. In addition, Badawi uttered that international zakat organisation will try to give a professional, transparent and accountable zakat management.
At the end all the countries representatives in the conference accepting the idea that it is necessary to establish an international zakat organisation. As a follow up on the above agreement thus some steps will be done to do continous perfection such as preparing organisation structure including its detail of responsibilities. To prepare the International Syariah Act on zakat especially in regards to its utilization and empowerment. To organise the affiliation pattern between zakat institutions in Moslems countries and their government role particularly concerning the collection and utilization of zakat fund. This continuance is also going to be determined by creating working group to mastering and following up the agreement.
In relation to forming an international zakat organisation it is suggested that Kuala Lumpur Malaysia will be the center of international zakat organisation secretariat with the full support from the government and Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who is also the Chief of Islamic Conference Organisation (OKI). Even though the formal agreement has not yet being done, but it seems that all the conference participants has accepted informally.
With the agreement of establishing the international zakat organisation, it means that another big step is done in the world of zakat management. If in February 2006 when the South East Asia Zakat Conference is taken place to set up a South East Asia Board of Zakat (DZAT), all the participants predict that it will be done in three to five years ahead, nevertheless through the international zakat conference, the agreement to form an international zakat organisation could be finished in a few months period. Hopefully this would be a good sign to go back to zakat glittering era, in which it is a dream of many Moslems society all over the world.
THE RETURN OF MAGNIFICENT ZAKAT
With the formed of international organization in zakat and with the starting of the zakat era, hence the realization of magnificent zakat become nearer.
This magnificent zakat era is a wonderful hope of the best achievement in managing zakat which starting to grow in this world, an ideal picture of “Khairu Ummah” in administering zakat.
There are several factors that can become basis for us to see that the magnificent of zakat is starting to grow. There are:
a) Establishment of the world network coordination in zakat.
b) Minimum of 80% Moslem all of the world pay zakat to the right institution.
c) The poverty number of Moslem people in the world has decreased minimum 50% from 10 years before.
d) There are some countries that zakat is no longer accepted because of its free from mustahik.
e) Emerging international institution in health and education for poor people.
f) Many of business centers or economic center which belongs to mustahik or the profit is used for the sakeness of mustahik.
In conjunction with the establishment of the world international organization in zakat, many zakat organizations or people who concern about zakat will continue to support and take part if necessary to achieve the mission.
But furthermore, the support and involvement of other Moslem countries will become one of the main key in achieving that mission.
In conclusion, all Moslem countries and all zakat organizations have to work together, creating strong synergy so that the achievement of magnificent zakat will soon become establish.
*) Ahmad Juwaini is an Executive Director of Dompet Dhuafa Republika and member Board of Advisor Indonesian Zakah Organization Association Forum Zakat (FOZ)
**) This is a Paper for International Zakat Executive Development Programme, in Malaysia, 15 – 26 December 2008