July 20th – July 26th – “Zakat will help restore Economic Justice”

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Letter to the Editor

Letter Title: “Zakat will help restore Economic Justice”

Economic inequity continues to widen in America and it’s hurting the underprivileged the most. Our obsession with capitalism and consumerism keeps financially gratifying the rich at the cost of indebting the poor. Money is largely monopolized by banks where interest not only destroys credit scores but hard working families.

We have to do better, before it gets worse. Debts desperately need to be removed even forgiven as charity. Interest must be replaced with a lending model of collective gain and loss. Hoarding excessive amounts of money without investing it should be penalized. Such funds could be redistributed to alleviate the poor. Believe it or not, this is the system of Zakat that Islam prescribed 1400 years ago. Today, Economist Thomas Piketty and Politician Elizabeth Warren agree that this approach is the only way out of our current mess. They call it marginalized wealth tax, but Muslims have called it Zakat since the 7th century.

Islam visualizes a liberal economic model that permits collaborative building of wealth, but also gives a mechanism for redistributing surplus to the underprivileged through Zakat. It’s the equalizing antithesis to the greed of interest.

As the Holy Qur’an reveals “Whatever you pay as interest that it may increase the wealth of the people, it does not increase in the sight of Allah; but whatever you give in Zakat seeking the favour of Allah — it is these who will increase their wealth manifold” (30:40).

Zakat would reduce the current level of inequality and reconcile capital and labor. It turns out Islamic civilization still has a lot to offer in economic prosperity and financial ethics.

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Spanish: CARTA AL EDITOR

Titulo de la carta: El Zakat ayudará a restaurar la justicia económica

La desigualdad económica continúa estrechándose en América afectando más a los menos privilegiados. Nuestra obsesión con el capitalismo y el consumismo sigue beneficiando económicamente a los ricos a costa de endeudar a los pobres. El dinero es monopolizado mayormente por los bancos, donde el interés no solo destruye marcadores de créditos, sino también a familias trabajadoras.

Tenemos que actuar mejor antes de que la situación empeore. Las deudas deben ser eliminadas inmediatamente, incluso perdonadas como una donación. El interés debe ser reemplazado por un modelo de préstamos de ganancias y pérdidas colectivas. La acumulación de cantidades excesivas de dinero sin inversión debería estar penalizada. Esos fondos se podrían redistribuir para aliviar a los pobres. Lo creas o no, este es el sistema de Zakat que el Islam prescribió 1400 años atrás. Hoy, el economista Thomas Piketty y la política Elizabeth Warren están de acuerdo con que ésta es la única manera de salir de nuestro desastre actual. Ellos lo llaman marginalizar los impuestos de los ricos pero los musulmanes lo han llamado Zakat desde el siglo 7.

El Islam visualiza un modelo económico liberal que permite la creación colaborativa de riqueza, pero el Zakat también provee un mecanismo para redistribuir el superávit a los menos privilegiados. Es la antítesis de la avaricia de interés.

El Sagrado Coran revela que: “Lo que pagáis como intereses para que aumente la riqueza de los hombres, no la aumenta a la vista de Al-lah; sin embargo, todo lo que dais en Zakat buscando el favor de Al-lah, sabed que éstos es a quienes se aumentará muchas veces su riqueza” (30:40).

El Zakat reduciría el nivel actual de desigualdad y reconciliaría el capital y el trabajo. Resulta que la civilización Islámica aún tiene mucho que ofrecer en materia de prosperidad económica y ética financiera.

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Alms, in the broadest sense of the word, is the cornerstone of the Islamic society and a constant theme in the Quranic teachings. There are two kinds of alms in Islam: obligatory and voluntary. The obligatory charity is Zakat, while the voluntary charity is called Sadaqah. The concept of Zakat is not new to Islam; similar alms giving had been enjoined upon the Israelites and Christians. In Islam, the Zakat takes the form of a prescribed contribution based on a person's wealth. The rate of participation varies with the kind of property owned, but, on average, works out to 2.5% of the total value. The proceeds of Zakat are supposed to disburse towards: relieving poverty and distress meeting the expenses for the collection of Zakat other things beneficial for the society providing ransom for prisoners of war helping those in debt propagation of Islam providing stipends for scholarships providing comfort and convenience for travelers Zakat, therefore, is a duty enjoined by God in the interest of society as a whole. While on the one hand, these charitable contributions provide for the needs of the community. On the other hand, the act of giving in God's name purifies the heart of the contributor from selfishness and greed.

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