Zakat and sadaqah as instruments of charity occupy a central position in the Islamic scheme of poverty alleviation. Managing zakat for alleviation of poverty, however, involves many challenges. Institutions that rely on zakat and sadaqa as their primary source of funding must address the issue of sustainability. This is possible only if they are perceived as highly credible institutions. A sustained flow of zakat funds demands high degrees of integrity, transparency and professionalism in the management of funds.
Given the above, there is an institutional need for adequately trained professionals and managers well-versed in the Shariah aspects of zakat as well as in scientific techniques of management of charity-based and not-for-profit institutions. The IIIBF has embarked on this ambitious program to develop a cadre of certified zakat professionals to address the challenge of human resource development for the Islamic charity-based and not-for-profit organizations.
The course covers the following major areas in five modules:
1. Zakat and Comprehensive Human Development: This module provides an introductory overview on the role of zakat in comprehensive human development in the framework of the objectives (Maqasid) of Shariah. While traditionally zakat has been described variously as a tool of taxation and redistribution of incomes by an Islamic society, more recent work positions zakat as a tool of raising resources for meeting various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), e.g. poverty alleviation (SDG#1), freedom from hunger (SDG#2), reducing inequality (SDG#10) etc.
2. Mobilization of Zakat: This module on the mobilization of zakat resources essentially addresses how to estimate zakat liabilities of economic entities – individuals and businesses – as mandated by the Shariah. It presents the clear and not-so-clear rules of the Shariah in the matter of zakat liability of various assets and incomes – cash, gold and silver, inventory, debtors, fixed assets; incomes from agriculture and businesses, salaries, rent, dividends and financial assets and what-have-you. It also discusses how dedicated laws on zakat in several countries deal with this issue.
3. Allocation of Zakat: This modules is on the allocation or distribution of zakat resources among beneficiaries, as mandated by the Shariah. It presents the fundamental principles of Shariah that guide the distribution of zakat among eight categories of beneficiaries (asnaf). It also discusses how dedicated laws on zakat in several countries deal with this issue.
4. Zakat Institutions: Accountability, Governance, Regulation:This module provides a framework for ensuring accountability, transparency and good governance of zakat Institutions through regulations, policies and standards. It also undertakes a comparative analysis of zakat laws as they seek to ensure accountability and good governance in selected countries.
5. Innovations & Good Practices in Micro Management of Zakat: This modules comprises several case studies that highlight innovations, such as, use of fintech for zakat management. The case studies also highlight some good practices in zakat management at the micro or organizational level, e.g. how to overcome the challenge of sustainability in zakat mobilization through enhanced accountability, transparency and good governance by zakat-funded organizations; and how to efficiently and effectively use zakat resources for provision of microfinance to the poor as well as addressing financing needs of the humanitarian sector.