Zakat is the third pillar of Islam and an obligation, as well as prayer or fasting in Ramadan, for every Muslim who meets the requirements for it. In addition, Zakat is a right of those who receive it over the wealth of those who have to pay it. It is also a way of putting wealth in circulation in society and avoiding its stagnation.
The Zakat is, first and foremost, an order from Allah to his creatures which comes immediately after worship.
Part of the wisdom of this is that Islam is not only a belief system and a form of worship, but it is a worldview of the human being and creation, and its relationship with society is an inherent part of this.
Finding a way to establish the collection and delivery of Zakat is a fard al-kiffayah, a community obligation, a responsibility that if no one is carrying it falls on the entire community. The fact that, in the absence of other alternatives, you make your own count and hand over the Zakat privately to fulfill your personal obligation, does not redeem the obligation of community establishment. This is because Zakat is not a personal gift – a Sadaqa – but it is an institution that has to be established in community to ensure that those who have the right to receive it do so and facilitate payment to those who have to do so.
It is evident then that in order for such a thing to be possible it is necessary to recognize an authority that collects it – it does not happen voluntarily – and distributes it. This is the traditional way according to the sunna of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and the first Muslims.
In places where there is a clear authority, such as countries whose government is Muslim, this obligation falls on them. It is in other places where this authority does not exist, such as countries where Muslims are a minority, there is a need for the community, and especially its leaders, whoever they may be, to organize themselves to do so.
For these reasons the Seville Mosque Foundation, with the help of its president, Ibrahim Hernández, has launched the Seville Zakat initiative. The intention of this initiative is that, in a transparent and responsible way, a platform is established to facilitate that those who have to receive the Zakat know where and how they can do it and those who have to pay it know how and how much.
The legal form by which Seville Zakat will be governed will be in accordance with Fiqh Maliki. Therefore, it is necessary to state that, according to the majority position in this, Zakat is not paid on the nominal value of paper money, since Zakat is paid on the intrinsic value of a good. Now, being the paper money the monetary form extended today and other forms with intrinsic value being in disuse, we are in a situation of darura, necessity, and the damage of not paying on the nominal value of the paper money is greater than to pay it. So this allows the application of Zakat to the nominal value of paper money without taking into account its intrinsic value.
The philosophy of Seville Zakat is that it is a transparent and reliable institution as well as open to anyone who meets the requirements to receive or pay for it. We also prioritize the location of the Zakat; that Zakat that has been collected in one place must be distributed mainly in that same place, unless there was no one to receive it.
For this, Seville Zakat undertakes to audit and publish the accounts on a regular basis and to keep a totally confidential record of those who deliver and receive it.
Seville Zakat is a service that the Seville Mosque Foundation has been providing for years privately, but we understand that the time has come to make it public, since it is part of our obligations. For this reason, the goal for Seville Zakat is to be an independent institution at the service of all Muslims in Seville.