Managing Zakat Collectively by Tithe Management Institution4 Oktober 2010 13:12
By : Rusman Ramli (*)
Behind the beauty and sophistication in the tithe concept as one of pillars of the Islamic teaching, there is a question that needs to be answered by many Muslims. The question is why is the remarkable potential of tithe very difficult to materialize in a real world?
The beauty of remarkable tithe potentials is understandable from the following illustration. I pick an example from Palu City, a city where I live. In 2010 Palu city has only 300 people, 70 percent of them is Muslims or equals 210 thousand people. Out of the number, 20 percent or 42 thousand people are tithe payers (muzakki) and the rest (80percent) is people who receive tithe (mustahiq).
The muzakki has three levels of incomes. Twelve thousand people have 1 million rupiah income in average, 15 thousand have Rp 3 million income and 15 thousand people have Rp 5 million income. By applying 2.5 percent tithe tariff out of the incomes, the tithe fund collected is supposed to be Rp3.3 billion per month or Rp39.6 billion per year.
Is that really a big potential that can be achieved by only a not so rich provincial capital city? Still with the same assumption that every regency/municipality in Indonesia is as small as Palu, if we calculate it nationally there should be Rp17 trillion tithe funds a year. The number will be bigger if we use more realistic figure.
Let’s go back to Palu City. If the fund potential is Rp3.3 billion per month is used to open productive businesses which can absorb job opportunities for needy people and they require investment of 50 million rupiah, at least every month there will be 50 small and medium businesses established.
If every small and medium business is able to absorb 5 workers, there will be 250 people absorbed every month or 3,000 workers every year. It is certainly a remarkable economic breakthrough. And it is still in Palu City which is smaller than many regencies or municipalities in the country.
The above illustration clearly shows us a big potential and the beauty of tithe comcept in providing a solution towards the people’s problems. However, once again why is the beautiful and powerful concept very difficult to materialize?
There are two fundamental causes which according to my opinion are related each other
Firstly, the attitude of muzakki which is still short oriented, interpersonal, and lack of awareness in paying tithe through tithe management institution (BAZ/LAZ). Secondly, transparency and credibility of tithe management institution has not been optimum so that there is lack of trust among people towards the institutions.
The first opportunity to revitalize Islamic tithe is to arouse the awareness as well as to change the attitude of the muzakki. Arousing the awareness is very important because until now there are still big gaps between potential and realization of tithe funds.
There are still many Muslims who have not applied the tithe obligation consistently. Every year, 95 to 99 percents of Muslims pay zakat fitrah or individual tithe paid in the end of Ramadhan. However, only 50 percents of Muslims know about wealth tithe (gold, silver, agricultural crops, cattle, trade, etc). And there are still Muslims who do not know about profession tithe.
Besides, it requires reconstruction on tithe paradigm from personal short termed tithe to become empowering institutional-long termed tithe. This is very important because tithe has a social dimension not a private dimension in which the tithe is directed for social or public goods. The roles from the government, Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and Islamic NGOs are required here.
The second opportunity comes from collectively and professionally tithe fund management. The result and benefits of the tithe will be optimal if the tithe fund is managed collectively and professionally. Through the right management, the tithe will be more meaningful to empower the needy so as they will be able to change themselves to become muzakki (tithe payers) in the future.
Concerning this, actually there has been satisfying progress. The collectively tithe management has received a strong regulation support since the enactment of Law No. 38/1999 on tithe management.
There is a strong rationalization why Islam gives more courage on collective tithe management through tithe management institution that individual tithe management. Firstly, tithe management as intermediation institution between muzakki (tithe payers) and mustahik (tithe beneficiary). This is important considering Islam really encourages Muslims to maintain the dignity of mustahik (tithe beneficiary) besides encouraging muzakki (tihe payers) to be more sincere in making good deeds. The Apostle said: “There are three kinds of heaven people: the fair and just ruler who gives the right donation, those who are kind and have good heart to their relatives and those who stay away from begging from others” (HR. Muslim).
Secondly, management institutions proactively help reminding the muzakki (tithe payers) to perform their tithe obligation as well as help counting the amount of their tithe. Thirdly, tithe management institution will be deeper, more careful, more complete and accurate in identifying the mustahik (tithe beneficiary) so that the tithe distribution and empowerment will be well and effectively materialized. Fourthly, tithe management institution is still needed so that muzakki (tithe payers) do not feel that they still their tithe.
Fourthly, muzakki is not a management institution. Muzakki who places themselves as tithe management institution tends to place mustahik (tithe beneficiary) as an object so that mustahik is forced to queue during the tithe distribution, not the muzakki who approaches the mustahik. And the weakness of muzpembagian zakat, bukan sang muzakki yang mkki who distribute the tithe by themselves is that not all the tithe beneficiaries receive the tithe, whereas Allah SWT has determined 8 groups eligible to receive the tithe, not 2 groups (the needy and the poor).
Of course we should be selective in choosing the tithe management institution. It should be professional, credible in performing its task of managing the tithe. In this way, zakat (tithe) will be able to play its role as determined in Islam. Wallahu a’lam bisshawab.
(*) Rusman Ramli, Head of PKPU Palu