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Thursday, 18 July 2013

Yemen urges people to pay zakat to the state

The Yemeni Ministry of Endowments and Guidance is urging people to pay zakat to the state during Ramadan, in order to prevent this money from falling into the hands of groups that use it to bring harm to the community, officials said.

The ministry announced it is currently conducting an awareness campaign to ensure people understand that the state is authorised by law to collect and disburse zakat funds.
The comprehensive campaign includes television segments, radio programmes, seminars, lectures and brochures which stress the importance of paying zakat to the state.
"The campaign that the ministry is conducting by means of scholars and murshids aims to ensure that zakat is collected for the state, since it is the entity vested with the authority to collect and disburse these funds to sharia-approved purposes," said Sheikh Jabri Ibrahim, director general of preaching and guidance at the Ministry of Endowments and Guidance.
The state develops plans to collect zakat and dispense it, Ibrahim told Al-Shorfa, adding that those who pay zakat also have the right to disburse 25% of their zakat money directly to the poor and needy.
Beginning on the first day of Ramadan, 30 pre-recorded television segments featuring religious scholars, some from Al-Azhar Mission in Yemen, airing on official channels, Ibrahim said.
"Radio segments featuring religious scholars were also recorded and are being broadcast on Radio Sanaa and other official stations in other provinces, given the importance radio holds in the lives of Yemenis, especially in the daytime in Ramadan," he said.
The ministry also recorded four televised seminars featuring zakat scholars and specialists, in addition to distributing brochures and holding seminars and lectures between prayer times, he added.
Zakat awareness campaigns take place throughout the year but are more intensive during the holy month, Ibrahim said.


"Educating people about zakat is a religious duty first and foremost," said Sheikh Mohammed Yahya al-Massoudy, a murshid in Taiz province.
The head of state or his representative has sole authority to collect zakat in Yemen, he said, and this work is carried out by zakat duty departments in the capital and other provinces.
"The obligation to pay zakat is not fulfilled until [zakat] is paid to the state, and the state has the obligation to disburse it for sharia-approved purposes, otherwise it would be the party that bears the culpability before God," al-Massoudy said.
The educational role murshids and scholars play around the country is vital, he said, as people listen to seminars and lectures delivered in mosques and abide by them.
Al-Massoudy warned people against paying zakat to organisations that are not affiliated with the state, "because they may not disburse them to the poor and needy, but may instead use them to serve their own agendas or in a manner that brings harm to the community, as do some organisations that operate in the name of Islam but are far from it".


The state has already begun to reap the benefits of the campaign, said Mohammed al-Thalaya, assistant undersecretary for domestic resources at the Ministry of Local Administration.
This is "evident in the zakat collection figures recorded so far this year, which are expected to hit 15 billion riyals ($70 million), compared to 13 billion riyals ($60.6 million) last year", he said.
Zakat collection departments in various districts have referred a number of zakat payment manipulators to the courts, he said, and those found guilty as charged will be fined at least 25% of the value of their zakat.

(Al-Shorfa.Com / 17 July 2013)

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Pakistan adopts AAOIFI standards for investment sukuk

(Reuters) - Pakistan's central bank has adopted a global standard for sukuk (Islamic bonds), which could help Pakistani issues attract investment by foreign institutions from the Gulf and elsewhere.
Issuers will have to comply with the "investment sukuk" guidelines of the Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), or face penalties, the central bank said in a statement.
AAOIFI is one of the main standard-setting bodies for Islamic finance, which follows religious principles such as bans on interest and pure monetary speculation.
Around the world, the industry commonly refers to AAOIFI standards but they are mostly used as guidelines rather than manadatory rules since they are not enforceable in every jurisdiction.
Bahrain is one of a handful of countries which enforces them fully, while countries such as Oman refer to a portion of them.
Pakistan's regulators are rolling out new rules in an effort to increase Islamic banks' share of the total banking sector to 15 percent by 2017. Islamic banks held 847 billion rupees ($8.44 billion) or 8.7 percent of total banking assets in March this year, central bank data shows.
Despite double-digit growth, the industry has missed growth targets set by regulators: forecasts set out in 2007 expected the industry to reach 907 billion rupees by the end of 2012.

In May, the country's securities commission established a sharia advisory board to oversee Islamic financial instruments, while last year it announced rules for sukuk, takaful (Islamic insurance) and Islamic deposits.

(Reuters / 17 July 2013)

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Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (M) Bhd (BTMU) to promote Islamic finance products

KUALA LUMPUR (July 16, 2013): Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (M) Bhd (BTMU) aims to become the global hub for Islamic finance within its global operation upon the launch of four new Islamic financing products today.
BTMU is the first Japanese bank to offer Islamic financial products and services under its international currency business unit and the first Japanese bank to have an in-house syariah committee comprising prominent Malaysian scholars.
Its president and CEO Masato Nakamura said the unit has been focusing on Islamic banking businesses in currencies other than the ringgit and has steadily gained recognition from the industry.
"Our commitment is well-supported by the expanding team of experienced professionals in Islamic finance.
"The development is being guided by the establishment of our own syariah committee that has the capability to endorse syariah-compliant transactions in our various business line," he told reporters after the launch of the products here today.
Bank Negara Malaysia director of Islamic banking and takaful department, Wan Mohd Nazri Wan Osman, launched the products -- Istisna' Financing-i, Ijarah Financing-i, Standby Letter of Credit-i and Bank Guarantee-i.
Nakamura said BTMU Malaysia hoped to effectively contribute to the enhancement of financial cooperation and encourage the Islamic finance by Japanese enterprises in the region.

(The Sun Daily / 16 July 2013)

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