Number of people paying zakat rises

National 2 minutes, 24 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

MORE Muslims paid their zakat (tithe) last year than in 2014 said the acting secretary of the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) yesterday during the appointment ceremony of this year’s ‘Amil or (Zakat collector).

 In his opening speech during the ceremony at the Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah mosque, Hj Abdul Aziz Hj Akop said 330,976 Muslims paid their Zakat Fitrah (individual) - 1501 more Muslims from the 329,475 that paid in 2014.

 Stating the risen number of payers of Zakat Fitrah, Hj Abdul Aziz said the amount collected also reflected this pattern as $931,638.97 was raised in 2015 a 0.47 per cent increase compared to $927,297.81 in 2014.

 He attributed the rise to the increasing number of Muslim foreigners entering the country ‘therefore the rise in Zakat Fitrah collection as well.’

For Zakat Harta (wealth), the number of Muslims paying last year was 5014, 525 more compared to the 4489 of Muslims that paid in 2014 with the amount collected last year being $16,830,149.77, a 0.55 per cent decrease from $16,923,245.71 in 2014.

“The (reason for the) decrease in amount of Zakat Harta collected (in 2015) – among other things – is because of last year’s declining national economy.” the acting secretary said.

 “Although, with the increased number of zakat payers last year, this (increased number of zakat payers) is still a result that is positive and attractive,” he said.

Newly appointed ‘Amil or Zakat Collectors were reminded to take on their role with much integrity as it is a ‘big role and one that is noble’ which shoulders great responsibilities.

Dato Paduka Hj Abd Mokti Hj Mohd Daud said the responsibilities include keeping the funds from being ‘lost or stolen’, squandered, or borrowed.

He said the money should be secured with ‘perfection’ and not to be stored or placed carelessly ‘left in the car or office’ without supervision.

“With that being said, carry out your roles as ‘Amil with much taqwa (piety), responsibility, amanah (trust), discipline and trust upon Allah SWT,” he said.

This year 309 ‘Amils were appointed from a selection of Imams and Bilals, officers from the Mosque Affairs department, religious officers (of Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA), village-heads, police officers and army personnel appointed.

The 309 ‘Amil will be deployed to man 140 Zakat collection points across the country with the breakdown being the 184 covering 79 zones in Brunei Muara, 49 ‘Amil in 29 zones in Tutong District; 24 ‘Amil will be in charge of collecting zakat in 13 zones of the Temburong district; 22 ‘Amil in Belait district will cover 15 zones and 30 MUIB officers will cover four zones.

In addressing the subject of those in need and those deserving under the categories (asnaf), the deputy minister urged the ‘Amil to be proactive by reaching out to those that are eligible for the zakat, but decline from applying simply because of feelings of shyness’ when requesting for the financial aid.

“We should approach and handle such situations with wisdom and mercy while having an open heart,” the deputy minister said.

The Brunei Times