Zakat contributions double to Dh15m in six months

Zakat contributions have doubled in the first half of the year compared with the same period last year.

ABU DHABI // Zakat contributions doubled in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2009. Officials today said this showed increased trust in the government body that distributes the alms tax, and a spiritual need by Muslims to turn to religion in times of crisis. The figures were released yesterday by the Zakat Fund, which collects the tax and distributes it to the needy. It is not the only organisation in the country that administers zakat, however. The fund's revenue rose to a little over Dh15 million for the first six months of 2010, a 100 per cent increase over the same period last year. The number of individuals paying zakat through the fund also jumped by 25 per cent. If the trend holds true, the fund, which brought in more than Dh60 million last year, could be heading for a record haul during the Holy Month of Ramadan, when many Muslims choose to pay the annual tax, causing charity donations to spike. The organisation will announce its target for Ramadan in early August. Zakat is the third pillar of Islam, mandated for every financially able Muslim. It is calculated at 2.5 per cent of financial assets, but has different rates for a variety of other sources of wealth, such as livestock and minerals. The Zakat Fund was created in 2003 by Sheikh Zayed, the late founder of the UAE.