MUIB explains difference between poor and destitute

National 2 minutes, 18 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEI Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) uses the estimates from Department of Economic Development and Planning’s (JPKE) guideline of $253 (in income) for each family member in a household per month in assessing and considering applicants for asnaf zakat, said acting secretary of MUIB yesterday.

If a family member received less than $253, then that family/household falls under ‘poor’. If a family member received $126.50 or less, the family is categorised as destitute.

Hj Abdul Aziz Hj Akop said the adopted guideline was not an official guideline and the amount does not necessarily totalled to $253.

Distribution of the zakat in Brunei falls into six categories or asnaf that are permitted to receive zakat; Fakir (destitute), Miskin (poor), ‘Amil (Zakat Collector), Muallaf (Muslim Converts), Ibnu Sabil (Stranded Traveller or Way Farers), and Al-Gharimin (those in debt).

For applicants under destitute category, they must show that they do not have any income. If they do, their income is not enough to even meet half of their needs and the needs of those they are taking care of. For applicants under poor category, they have a source of income but their income can only support barely half of their needs and those under their care, he said.

The MUIB acting secretary was one of the invited speakers at the international education seminar of Fiqh Al-Iqtisad Al-Islami titled ‘Generating Economy through Zakat (tithes) and Wakaf’ at Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College (KUPU SB).

In cases of low income families, for example, where a head of the family earned an income of $1,000 a month and has six dependents (wife and five children), each member of the household only has $142.85 each per month.

This puts the family in the poor category, he said.

Another example is when the breadwinner has many dependents and the overall income is greatly reduced for each member. A breadwinner who earns $2,000 per month with 12 dependents will only have $166.66 per person.

Unemployment, low income and huge number of dependents in a family were some of the causes of poverty in the country, he said.

Hj Abdul Aziz also cited low education qualification as one of the factors that could contribute to unemployment for the asnaf zakat applicants, and most of the employment opportunities were only limited to low paying jobs.

He added that the applicants also do not have the financial means to open their own business or engaged in self-employed work such as becoming a fisherman as they do not have the money to buy the boat and fishing equipment.

Other factors that lead the recipients to apply for asnaf zakat were debt and laziness, where in some cases some individuals prefer to rely on the assistance given rather than work to earn a living, he said.

The Brunei Times