Zakat is considered by Muslims as an act of purifying income and wealth through which one contributes for the well-being of fellow Muslims. Zakat is perceived as preserving social harmony between the wealthy and the poor. As one of the five pillars of Islam, Zakat is expected to be paid by all practicing Muslims who have the financial means.
Mawlawi Din Mohammad a member of Kandahar Islamic Scholars told Sada-e-Azadi, “Zakat is a must for all Muslims who have the financial ability. It is an obligation to contribute for the well-being of others in the community.”
Collection and disbursement of Zakat as (tax on income and assets) is considered as one of the functions of an Islamic government. The government uses the collected funds to provide health care, to build roads and schools, to supply electricity, and to provide security forces to protect its citizens.
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan -- elected by the Muslim people of Afghanistan-- is the only legitimate authority in the country to collect and redistribute taxes.
Islamic teachings forbid impure means of acquisition—taking money or property by force.
Mawlawi Din Mohammad added, “The Taliban taking Zakat from people through force and intimidation is forbidden in Islam. Islam is strongly against this behaviour. Islam is the religion of peace and promotes peace and equality in the society. How can paying Zakat to the criminals and the enemies of peace justified as Islamic?” Mawlawi Din Mohammad said that it is the duty of every Muslim to understand that paying Zakat to the violent and evil insurgents is against the Islamic teachings. “Zakat is not to be taken by force to be used for evil actions.”
Mawlawi Abdullah is another Islamic Scholar in Kandahar who is strongly against the abuse of Zakat by the Taliban and says insurgents are taking Zakat or Usher from poor farmers for the purposes of violence.
Mawlawi Abdullah explained, “In Islam, it says to give Zakat to those who stay far from their homes when fighting for Islam. However, these insurgents are killing innocent Muslims. Is this what Islam says? No. I want everyone to stand against the insurgents and never give them Zakat or Usher because they are not true Mujahidin, but murders of our innocent Muslim people.”
Mawlawi Nyamatullah, a member of the Ulema Shura in Kandahar said that the true Mujahidin are the Afghan National Security and Defence Forces because they protect the people of Afghanistan from the tyranny and the violence of the insurgents. “In Islam the Zakat is compelled to be paid by those who are financially able and distributed for those who deserve aid and assistance. However, these insurgents are not fighting for Islam but killing innocent people. Therefore, no one is allowed to give Zakat to these perpetrators of violence and destruction, but rather they should stand against them and cooperate with the security forces to evict them from their areas,” he said.
The Islamic Scholars of Kandahar unanimously denounced the misuse of the principles of Islam by the insurgents. When insurgents misuse the goodwill and religious piety of their fellow Muslims, we must stand united in rejecting them.