The Jakarta Post
The World Zakat Forum (WZF) is seeking to strengthen cooperation among global zakat management organizations to maintain public welfare.
The issue was adopted as a theme of the WZF International Conference 2018, which is to be held in Melaka, Malaysia, on Dec. 5 and 6. In attendance will be Indonesia’s National Development Planning Minister Bambang PS Brodjonegoro, Malaysia’s Religion Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa and 31 speakers from 16 countries, including Britain, India, Nigeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina and South Africa. The global zakat activists are to give presentations to 300 participants from various countries.
The WZF secretary-general Bambang Sudibyo said the global zakat movement can play an important role by distributing assistance for those who are financially or non-financially incapable persons.
"The Islamic world has been recently facing complex problems and challenges internally and externally, including negative stereotypes that cause Muslims to be the victims of discrimination and pressure. Internally, many Muslims lack care for other underprivileged Muslims,” he said.
As a matter of fact, many poor people are found in Muslim countries, weakening the position of those countries. It is worsened by their backwardness in education, science and technology and the weaker capacity of their human resources.
“To address the problems, the zakat forum should become strategic capital for Muslim countries to set themselves free from their long-term dependence on the West or the North, which is the extension of the new colonization,” he said.
The rise of the Muslim world should start from the success in solving the problems of its own people independently, establishing self-sufficiency among Muslim countries by strengthening the role of zakat as a socio-economic weapon in dealing with the capitalism and liberalism.
The use of zakat should have a strategic meaning in strengthening the ukhuwah (solidarity), collaboration, and solidarity among Muslim countries to reach common goals. Besides, the global zakat movement should support the basic aspects of humanity, which are health and education.
Various themes are to be discussed at the conference, including the framework for zakat regulations and institutions, the aim of zakat and sustainable development goals (SDGs), evaluation and measurement of zakat system, the contemporary fiqh-zakat and zakat cooperation among Muslim countries.
The WZF was established as a response to the need for a global zakat movement. During the WZF conference in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, in 2007, Indonesia was appointed to host the first WZF conference. On Sept. 30, 2010, when the first WZF conference was held in Yogyakarta, the forum was formally set up. Initially, the forum was only attended by nine representatives from international zakat organizations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey, Britain, Bahrain, Jordan, Sudan and Saudi Arabia. During the first conference, KH Didin Hafidhuddin was appointed as the first secretary-general of the WZF until 2013. He was then replaced by Ahmad Juwaini until 2017, when Bambang Sudibyo was elected to the position.
The WZF is expected to become a platform to formulate effective solutions for the multi-dimensional problems of the Muslim world regarding the main essence of zakat. First, it should not be aimed at eradicating poverty and incapability alone, but should also be aimed at empowering Muslim people. Second, it should reduce the socio-economic problems among Muslim people. Third, it should bring about public welfare. Fourth, it should raise the influence of the Muslim world. Fifth, it should revitalize the dignity of Islam in various global aspects. (*)