As part of the philanthropic community in Indonesia, BAZIS (Amil Zakat Infaq and Sedekah Agency) and LAZIS (Amil Zakat Institute of Infaq and Sedekah) can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the development of effective Zakat programs. Zakat can be an alternative resource in supporting the achievement of SDGs by promoting an inclusive, strategic, long-term, and sustainable approach. Simultaneously, SDGs can be used as a measuring tool and guide the empowerment programs undertaken by various zakat management institutions.
Seeing the importance of theological justification in the form of fatwas in the raising of, management and distribution of zakat to support the achievement of program SDGs (Fiqh of Zakat on SDGs), Filantropi Indonesia and BAZNAS (Badan Amil Zakat Nasional) held the 18th Philanthropy Learning Forum (PLF) with the theme ‘Formulating Fiqh Zakat on SDGs” on Wednesday the 26th of July, 2017. This discussion aimed to capture input from scholars, zakat activists, academics and non-profit philanthropic activists for the preparation of Fiqh Zakat on SDGs, initiated by BAZNAS in cooperation with UIN Jakarta.
There were four speakers present: Suzanty Sitorus (Secretary of Indonesian Philanthropy Assoication Board), KH. Masdar F. Mas'udi (Baznas), Hasanuddin Abdul Fatah (Chairman of the MUI Fatwa Committee), and the Zakat Fiqh Formulating Team for SDGs represented by M. Maskum. During her presentation, Suzanty explained that the SDGs are a set of global goals set by UN member states and a commitment towards the global, national and local communities. One of the underlying differences between the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and SDGs is the number of goals to be achieved. The previous MDGs consisted of only 8 goals, many of which were not achieved, while the SDGs have 17 goals. These set 169 individual performance targets and provide 124 indicators for use in assessing progress. In the achievement of SDGs, the group with the most untapped potential is religious philanthropy.
According to Hasanuddin, the jurisprudence of zakat must first be understood. The legal basis of Fiqh zakat is related to Islamic law, that is revelation and revelation plus reason (Fiqh). Both have different characteristics. Revelation is a truth that is always true, absolute, permanent and universal. In Fiqh, however, the truth is relative, not permanent and not universal. Zakat itself contains two aspects of worship: revelation (cannot be rationalized) and muamalah (may be done, can be rationalized).
Masdar noted that of the 5 pillars of Islam, zakat is sometimes overlooked. Whereas the potential contribution of zakat could amount to IDR 217 trillion per year, the amount collected recently was around IDR 5 – 6 trillion. The problem lies in the difficulty of collection. Though there is a command "Take their property for charity", The Amil Zakat Institute faces a great challenge in the collection of zakat. The difficulty now lies in how LAZ can improve its capacity to act, rather than passively receiving donations. One potential solution is whether some rules may be modified in order to facilitate the development of zakat, for example, whether taxes and zakat can be synergized.
Maskum also agrees with the argument that zakat can also be used for SDGs. Earlier in its history, zakat was used as a source of state income and the process of collecting zakat existed as a state duty. Therefore, the conditions and requirements of zakat may potentially be modified. Some of the proposals made at the event include: Fiqh must be in accordance with the SDGs, all zakat managers must have equal opportunity for collection, zakat may not exist as an alternative but also the overall paradigm, define the economic aspects which allow property to be withheld, whether non-Muslims can receive zakat, and whether zakat may be used for other purposes. In summation, before zakat can be organised towards and used effectively for the implementation of SDGs, the rules must first be agreed upon by the religious authorities.