Zakat: A Tool for Poverty Alleviation
Theodossiou, Taylor M.
Washington and Lee University, Shepherd Poverty Program
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Taylor M.Theodossiou is a member of the Class of 2015 of Washington and Lee University.Capstone; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]The zakat, or involuntary almsgiving, is a means by which Islam attempt to address poverty. The concept of zakat may be strange to anyone who is not familiar with the Islamic religion. . . . The zakat is not unique in its capacity as a religious institution. After all many communities all over the world rely on religious institutions for services. What makes the zakat interesting is its jurisdiction goes beyond the mosques or imams, religious leaders. Instead religious organizations and even governments have made themselves in charge of the collecting and distributing of zakat. . . . On the other hand, zakat as a tool for the state can be extremely effective in alleviating poverty as will legitimize institutions that in the private sphere are not “passing through proper channels, are unrecorded, without any planning and not a part of any strategy” and so it would be difficult to assess the effectiveness of zakat. It can be argued that zakat, when implemented correctly as is the case for any poverty related institution, can be an effective way to alleviate poverty related problems. [From Introduction]