“And establish prayer and give/pay zakat, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah of what you do, is Seeing.” [Al-Quran 2:110]
The above verse from the Quran commands the believers to pay Zakat. Being one of the 5 pillars of Islam, Zakat is deemed as an obligatory charity. It is emphasized in both Quran and Sunnah how Zakat is an obligatory duty of every abled Muslim. Being compulsory, there are several ways of paying Zakat, and one very common method is online payment. But is it really a more effective form of Zakat payment?
How Can You Pay Zakat Online?
There are several ways of paying Zakat. For example, an individual can calculate his personal due Zakat amount and then pay it to any other Muslim or relative (not kin of blood) who is eligible to obtain Zakat. Another way of paying Zakat is through various institutions or mosques where Aamileen (authorized collectors of Zakat), will distribute it among the poor or needy in that region or those affiliated with the mosque/institution.
A more recent trend is online Zakat payment. In this scenario, Shariah compliant online platforms will assess some of the eligible recipients of Zakat, and select them according to priority. The profile of shortlisted candidates are then made available on their websites / social media and are run as campaigns. The users can then pay their due Zakat amount, Sadaqah or other donations virtually to any of these campaigns thereby helping Muslims in dire need across the globe. There are several types of online Islamic charitable platforms, and one such platform is Global Sadaqah. Through Global Sadaqah, users can make online payment of Zakat.
There are societies/regions that are prone to poverty, which lacks support and financial aid from other communities or countries. People of such societies can become isolated of support towards fulfill their needs. Certainly, through websites such as Global Sadaqah, these societies/regions will now have greater access to an improved living environment.
How Can the Virtual Zakat System Help?
The traditional Zakat method when functioned in ideal methods can help to negate the financial crisis of the poor and needy within the society. But this also raises a big question, what if an entire community or society in a region is under financial crisis and there is no one that can provide to alleviate the needs of the others? Yes, it is at a time like this when online Zakat payment becomes very useful.
Virtual Zakat institutions target less privileged societies or communities in crisis that otherwise have no other support from. These institutions reach out to communities that require aids after a disaster, crisis etc. or individuals who are in need of financial supports to cover medical expenses such as major surgeries, educational expenses or aids to build comfortable homes for the homeless. Through online Zakat paying systems, Muslims are now able to lend a helping hand to the Muslim brothers across the globe beyond geographical boundaries.
The transparency of such system is an added advantage too. For instance, when giving Zakat virtually, we already have a clear understanding on the total funding required for a specific campaign, how much funds have been raised pertaining to it, and also a live update on the progress of each campaign. Also in making online zakat payments, the payer has the choice of deciding his payee (which charitable campaign he/she would like to contribute to).
Islam has always advocated giving charity in secrecy.
“Allah loves the God-fearing rich man [who gives much in charity but still] remains obscure and uncelebrated.” (Muslim)
The online zakat payment system maintains high level of secrecy of the payers, but at the same time you are able to keep track of the donations you’ve made and the campaigns you’ve supported.
There are also instances where Muslims living among non-Muslim communities find it harder to give Zakat to one of the 8 eligible groups, when such local institutions are not available. At such instances, online Zakat and sadaqah payment becomes very convenient to transmit it to a qualified individual.
Finally, online payment of Zakat is very useful to maintain a homogenous distribution of wealth among the Muslims across the globe. Despite the transparency on the payments made, the secrecy of the payer is maintained which adheres to what Islam propagates. The instant payment that can be made virtually at the comfort of being in your own place through your own device makes online Zakat payments even more attractive!