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Mufti of Egypt permits usage of Zakat funds for army and police

Grand Mufti of Egypt Sheikh Shawqi Allam

 In a provocative fatwa that has sparked the anger and derision on social networking sites, the mufti of Egypt, Shawki Allam, allowed Zakat funds to be spent on security forces who are fighting terrorism.

Allam said in his interview during the “Mufti Dialogue” programme, broadcast on ON Live channel, that “the old scholars interpreted ‘money for God’ as spending Zakat money on weapons and soldiers fighting enemies, and this is a security struggle, along with the intellectual confrontation of extremism.”

Zakat is one of the five core principles of Islam, which all Muslims must abide by. It is a ‘wealth tax’, set at 2.5% of the total wealth of Muslims who are deemed to be eligible for paying the tax. There are very strict rules about how and on whom the collected Zakat can be spent, with the aim being to ensure that the truly poor in society are the only ones who benefit from the funds. Traditionally, spending on policing wasn’t seen as a valid use of Zakat funds.

He added that “methods of  confronting extremism have changed from the days of the Prophet (peace be upon him) until now.”

The Mufti explained that failing to confront extremists leads to corruption and the collapse of societies, saying: “The pen next to the gun, as the word and thought fighting is exactly equal to the security struggle.”

Allam’s fatwa trigger the responses from of a number of activists on twitter, who considered it as a license for the army and police to seize the Zakat funds in Egypt under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

 

 

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