Anwar says zakat for non-Muslims only a suggestion, will adhere to royal decree

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim arrives at the Parliament Lobby in Kuala Lumpur November 6, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim arrives at the Parliament Lobby in Kuala Lumpur November 6, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today said he will abide by Selangor Sultan’s decree that aid from zakat collection within the state be given out only to Muslims.

The PKR president said his previous idea to open up distribution of the tithe collected from Muslims to help non-Muslims was only a suggestion based on universal Islamic values of justice, love and blessings.

“That is my view so these things could be researched and looked into by the muftis and religious council to decide.

“If it was decided that they disagree, it’s okay,” he told reporters at Parliament.

“If the decision was made by Selangor, then we will adhere to the decision in the jurisdiction of the religious council and the sultan,” he added.

But the Port Dickson MP also said he is proposing a fresh debate as there are differing views on the use of zakat.

Anwar had called for a reform in the distribution of zakat, the Islamic wealth tax meant to aid the poor, on October 30.

He had suggested it also be given out to poor non-Muslims while speaking at an international conference on zakat organised by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council and Universiti Teknologi Mara Malaysia, citing an opinion by prominent Muslim jurist Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

He said in the context of a multi-racial society, Islam encouraged the distribution of zakat funds to non-Muslims, adding that this should not sideline the needy among the Muslims.

On Monday, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor said zakat need not be extended to non-Muslims, and urged for an end to any public debate on the matter.

In a statement, the sultan’s private secretary, Mohamad Munir Bani said Selangor Mufti Datuk Mohd Tamyes Abd Wahid had advised that non-Muslims could only receive zakat if such help would result in their conversion to Islam.

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