The Grand Mufti of Liberia, Sheikh Abubakar Sumaworo, has urged Liberian Muslims to honor paying the zakat (due to the poor) as their mandatory religious contribution to poor people in society.
Saying that this rite of Islam is aimed at bringing relief to the poor by the rich, the Islamic cleric indicated that Zakat constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam.
Mufti Sumaworo said that Zakat is a religious obligation for all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth, and by performing it, the Muslim purifies his/her possessions and makes them pleasing to Allah.
He also said Zakat is a form of alms-giving treated in Islam as a religious obligation or tax, which by Quranic ranking stands next in importance to prayer.
The Grand Mufti said it is usually payable on assets continuously owned over one lunar year that are in excess of a minimum monetary value.
Muslims believe that those who give Zakat can expect reward from Allah (God) in the afterlife, while neglecting to give Zakat can result in damnation and is also considered part of the covenant between God and every Muslim.
Speaking at the Gurley Street Mosque on Friday, the Grand Mufti said that Zakat is based on income and all the value of one’s possessions, noting that it is customarily 2.5 percent of a Muslim’s total savings and wealth.
Noting that a minimum amount known as nisab is assessed on gold and silver at 85 grams, the Mufti also stressed that Zakat is paid on capital assets and money at the rate of 2.5 percent or 1/40 of the value.
According to him, the Zakat is also payable on agricultural goods, precious metals, minerals and livestock at a rate varying between 2.5 percent to 20 percent or one-fifth of the goods.
He said Zakat is considered as a purification of one’s income and wealth from impure ways of acquisition.
The Grand Mufti also emphasizing the issue of the Zakat, said the collected amount is paid to the poor and the needy, those sympathetic to Islam, to be free from slavery, debtors, stranded travelers and in the cause of Allah, stating that Zakat is given for the sake of salvation.
He also emphasized that collectors are required not to take more than what is due and those that pay the Zakat are asked not to evade payment.
Sounding warning to Muslims, Mufti Sumaworo said that refusal to pay or mockery of those who pay Zakat is a sign of hypocrisy and Allah will not accept the prayers of such people.
Additionally, he said that such individuals will be punished on the Day of Judgment.
The Grand Mufti also warned of punishment for those who take Zakat when they are not eligible to receive it.