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Malaysia: Kelantan collects Zakat in Shariah money

By Ibrahim Abdulaev : IslamDag.info | Kota Bharu / Friday, 26 August 2011

An historic event took place at Kelantan Trade Centre in Kota Bharu the state’s capital. For the first time in the past 100 years, payment of Zakat, the third pillar of Islam, was collected and paid with Sharia currency, Gold Dinar and Silver Dirham on 25 August 2011 in a public event organized by the government.

The event officiated by the Chief Minister of the state’s administration, Dato Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, and state officials began at afternoon and ended with fast breaking dinner. Guests, media from all over the country as well as foreign delegations from Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Spain, England and Kazakhstan attended the event that promised to trod the way for Muslim nations and communities around the world to restore the fallen pillar of Islam, Zakat.

"Kelantan Government agencies, state companies, private companies and individuals from all over Malaysia who wish to pay Zakat with Halal money of Islam are now able to do so," said Dato Nik Aziz Nik Mat launching the event. "This possibility to pay Zakat with Shariah money to official authorities is given to Malaysians for the first time. All Muslims of Malaysia, who have sufficient wealth to pay Zakat are invited to Kelantan," he said.

A little over a year ago, on 12 August 2010, a small north-eastern state of Malaysia made a revolutionary step that may well have an impact on the modern world history: the government of Kelantan introduced bi-metallic medium of exchange, Islamic Gold Dinar and Silver Dirham, known in the history and tradition of Islam as Shariah Money.

And now, one year after the launch of Shariah Money, Kelantan makes yet another decisive and historic move towards restoring Divine order. According to Islamic law Zakat al-Mal (annual tax on wealth) should be collected from real tangible wealth such crops, livestock, gold, silver being in the possession for one year and it cannot be collected with debt contracts, promissory notes or papers like dollar or ringgit. For gold and silver money Zakat al-Mal is 2.5% and it is taken only when the wealth of a Muslim reaches the minimum level, 20 dinars or 200 dirhams, it should follow that amount of collected Zakat starting from 0.5 gold dinar or 5 silver dirhams.

Since August 2010 till present, people of Kelantan not only preserved the value of their Sharia coins, in fact its buying power has increased tremendously: the gold dinar appreciated against Ringgit by 30% while the silver dirham by 100%.

Daily throughout the state dinars and dirhams are offered to public at unified price by state-appointed agents (wakala); thousands of shops, business outlets and traders in Kelantan are accepting dinars and dirhams as means of payment; all state companies including utility providers too accept the Islamic currency.

To administer the collection and distribution of Zakat, the State Religious Department, Majlis Agama Islam Kelantan, had set up its counters in the hall during the event, and the collected coins were distributed on the same day or within 24 hours.

One thousand and five hundred poor from various districts of the state received Zakat and were able to spend it in the central market of Kota Bharu as well as shops in their respected areas whose list was provided to zakat recipients.

"Today I bought t-shirt with dirham," said Nurman Kholis, who came from Indonesia to attend the event. "Restore Fitrah, Restore Dinar & Dirham," is written on it, he said.

"Taxi at Kota Bharu airport accepts dirham for payment," said Umarazmon Amir Hassan, who came all the way from Kuala Lumpur to pay his Zakat.

"God is Great. I wish this permeates all the Islamic countries," said Djamel Boukhari from Algeria. Many Islamic countries expressed their interest in restoring the Sharia currency that was in use starting from the Prophet Muhammad’s time in Madinah.

With gold price hitting all time records, gold rush that started early this year is apparently becoming pandemic, since the central banks, are hastily buying up the yellow metal realizing only gold will give them a breather when the financial tsunami, stocking over horizon, hits the entire globe again.