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Waiving Debt As Zakat & Other Issues (Live Fatwa)

Questions and Answers of a Live Fatwa Session with Dr. Monzer Kahf
MK - Foto

On Tuesday, July 31, 2012, we managed to run a successful e-mail based Live Fatwa session on “Waiving Debt As Zakat & Other Issues” with Dr. Monzer Kahf—the prominent Muslim economist and counselor.

Interestingly, users reacted positively and sent their questions via the Fatwa section’s e-mail address in and ahead of the session’s time. The honorable guest, Dr. Monzer Kahf answered all the questions.

Below you can review all questions and Dr. Kahf’s replies:

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Read Also:

Question 1: 

Suleiman Yakubu

Studying Islamic Mortgage

As-salamu `alaykum. I am a Nigerian with a Masters Degree holder in Estate Management. I will want to specialize in Islamic Real Estate Financing (Mortgage) and Taxes in my PhD insha’ Allah. Which of the schools offers program in these areas and how do I get sponsorship as I need sponsorship, please. And to Dr. Monzer Kahf, I need your contacts please.

Answer: 

Dear Br. Suleiman,

I don’t know of any school that has a Ph.D. program in this area. 

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Question 2:

Walid – 31 – Male – Tunisia

Finding Job?

I am religious. I want to know how I could work. I am an architect and it's difficult to find a job. I have many problems with my father for this thing.

Answer:

I feel very sorry for you but I advise you to reconcile with your father and don’t be in trouble with him while searching hard for any job. Try to be innovative and make your own business no matter how small it may be.  

Allah Almighty knows best.

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Question 3:

M Shaikh – 28 – Male - India

Is My Income Halal

As-salamu `alaykum. I work in the IT software industry. My primary role in my current and possibly future jobs is to provide support to banks or banking products. To elaborate further, my job to is to ensure proper maintenance of software's that capture details of interest and interest bearing instruments. Please, advise if I should continue in this line of work.

Answer:

Dear Br. Kashif

What you described as a job is not itself Haram. It, no doubt, is on the edge of Haram. If you can change it, it is better so that you would not be roving around the Haram.

But I wouldn’t dare describing it or the income from it as Haram because it does not fall directly under writing Riba of be a witness to it, it is processing it after it is done.

Allah Almighty knows best.

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Question 4:

Dave Cotterill – 52 – Male - UK

Mr - Taxes in Islam

Further to your response about taxes in Islam, could you confirm if it is against the Islamic law to charge taxes other than the Zakah and as Saudi Arabia has large oil revenue they abolished taxes in 1975 as under Islamic law they had sufficient resources to fund the country without taxes its citizens.

Answer:

Dear Br. Dave, 

Without confirming it to any specific country because that should be based on detailed study of its economy. According to the Islamic economic system, taxes on people who live in the country are the last resort and we go to them when other resources, like oil, is not sufficient. This rule does not apply to fees which are only prices of services.

Allah Almighty knows best.

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Question 5:

Anonymous – 34 – Male - Australia

Unsure If Income Is Halal Or Haram

As-salaamu `alaykum. I have been working in a company for 5 years now. During the first 3 years, I was a trainee and as a trainee I had to go through courses conducted by the company and take lots of exams conducted by the country regulatory authority. I had to pass all these exams in order pass out as a maintenance officer and continue working in the company.

Failing any exam would result in being terminated from the company.  I passed all the exams, but there was one exam that I passed with the help of a friend who works for the regulatory authority that conducts these exams. He had shown me the exam questions about an hour before the exam started. However, he did not give me the answers. I had to find the answers in my course books myself during an hour before the exam started. During the exam I managed to answer those questions and passed the exam.

After 3 years of training, I was established as an officer. Is the money I earn from this job halal or haram? If it isharam, what should I do? Should I leave the job and look for other jobs. Please, advise. Thank You.

Answer:

Dear Br. 

It is good that you recognize your mistake. The Prophet (pbuh) said in an authentic Hadith what translates as: if you don’t make mistakes and ask Allah for forgiveness, Allah would have take you away and brought others in your place who will make mistakes and seek forgiveness and then He would forgive them.

Your present income is for the work you put in the job. Be honest in what you do and your income will be Halal insha’Allah. The mistake in the past is not the cause and reason of your earning, you may have probably passed without this dishonesty that was done then by both of you. Just be determined to yourself to act always with honesty and observe the being on the right side always like what Prophet Musa (pbuh) said when he recognized his mistake. He made repentance with istighfar and pledge to avoid such mistakes in the future as the |Qur’an report but my own immediate translation: “My Lord, for the mercy you gave me I will never be of support to any wrong doers.”

Allah Almighty knows best.

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Question 6:

Imran – 29 – Male - India

Waiving part of Debt As Zakat

As-salamu `alaykum. I have lent in total about 300000 INR to my maternal aunts husband. They are having a hand to mouth existence, and managing to survive, but repaying the debt is going to be hard for them.   My Zakah for current year is around 100000, and I intend to waive the amount from the loan, as Zakah. Is it permissible to do so?

My maternal aunt owns about 12 grams of gold, but other than that they do not own any assets to the best of my knowledge, except for a vehicle which my uncle uses as a means of livelihood.

A part of my Zakah is from assets of my mother and my maternal grandmother. Is it permissible for me to waive the part of loan amount as Zakat? Do I have to separate my mother and grandmother’s share of Zakah from this waiver or can I waive it all?

How is Zakah to be calculated for someone who has only assets in terms of gold jewelry, and the gold jewelry is less than 75 gm of gold but worth more than 595 grams of silver. Awaiting your feedback to dispose my Zakah.Fi amanillah.

Answer:

Dear Br. Imran, 

1. You cannot pay yourself your own Zakah. You are waiving the debt amount to paying the Zakah to yourself. Zakah has to be given to the poor and needy in such a way that the recipient becomes the full and complete owner of what is given to him/her. You cannot get your debt paid to you by your own-self from your own Zakah.

2. You said that grandmother owns a part of the assets, there may be a family obligation on her to help her daughter from outside Zakah because one’s Zakah cannot be paid to one’s descendants or ancestors. Family financial responsibility is another obligation besides Zakah.

3. Your Zakah may be given to your aunt, maternal or paternal, so the Zakah of your mother to her sister or brother in law. In either case it can’t be used as a retrieve of your or your mother’s debts.

4. Gold is subject to Zakah along with many other assets including cash investments and bank accounts. If you have less than the nisab of gold but have other Zakatable assets that make the total above nisab, you have the choice of paying the Zakah of gold in gold for the gold and in cash or other items beneficial to the poor for the other Zakatable assets, or paying Zakah in cash for the total by estimating the price of gold and adding it to other assets. In other words, these 75 grams of gold are subject to Zakah although it is less than nisab because it is complemented by other assets.

Allah Almighty knows best.

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Question 7:

K Shaikh

Is It Haraam To Quit Your Job Without Having Another

As-salam `alaykum. I have recently having some issue at work and due which it was difficult for me to continue. I did isthikara and on basis of its result decided to quit my job. Please, note that I am single and youngest in my family. My family can support me. However, I am obviously looking for another job because I want to settle down and don’t want to be a burden. Was it haram on my part to quit my job?

Answer:

Dear Br. Shaikh, 

No, it is for sure not haram. Many people do similar things. Just search for another job and be committed to working, being productive, satisfying your needs and helping family and others. 

Allah Almighty knows best.

The editor of OnIslam Live Fatwa service.

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