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    Curtains drop on Islamic conference

    Izah Azahari

    The International Conference on Fiqh Al-Zakat Education (PAPFIZ) came to a close yesterday, with Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) Haji Mohammad Rosli bin Haji Ibrahim as the guest of honour.

    PAPFIZ – jointly organised by the Religious Teachers University College of Seri Begawan (KUPU SB) and the Brunei Islamic Religious Council, MoRA – was held as part of the Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition (MYCE) 2021.

    The event commenced with the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah led by KUPU SB Core Knowledge Centre Education Officer Mohamed Noor bin Haji Ibrahim, and the singing of Asmaul Husna and national anthem.

    PAPFIZ Co-Chairman Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sabtu said the conference aimed to highlight the beauty and excellence of zakat’s true function, through a platform of sharing and preserving knowledge (based on studies and research), as well as the efforts implemented as the best mechanism to further strengthen the professionalism of zakat and educational institutions, to strengthen the use and exploration or new discoveries in zakat-related areas.

    Haji Hamzah said the results of the studies presented at the conference are expected to be referenced by practitioners and policymakers to examine its suitability in accordance to the socio-economic cultural patterns being enjoyed, without conflicting with the Islamic law.

    ABOVE & BELOW: Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Religious Affairs Haji Mohammad Rosli bin Haji Ibrahim joins others at the closing ceremony; and a section of the attendees at the event. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

    Haji Mohammad Rosli presents a token of appreciation to Dato Seri Setia Haji Metussin bin Haji Baki
    Senior officials from the Ministry of Religious Affairs at the closing

    Sharing on some of the developments, he said that focus is not placed on the distribution of money alone. Priority is instead given to education, skills training and entrepreneurship.

    In terms of zakat collection, the zakat fitrah, which can now be made online, has received encouraging response.

    He also called for government agencies, private parties, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the public, zakat payers and zakat recipients to work together so the implementation of zakat affairs in the Sultanate can run even smoother.

    The event also saw Head Rapporteur and KUPU SB Syariah Faculty Deputy Dean Pengiran Dr Hajah Norwidayawati binti Pengiran Haji Metusin listing the four PAPFIZ 2021 resolutions: the aspects of education and public understanding; the aspect of management, procurement and distribution; the aspect of legal development and contemporary ijtihad; and the aspect of asnaf development.

    A copy of the PAPFIZ 2021 resolutions was presented to the guest of honour by KUPU SB Ra’es Dr Haji Adanan bin Haji Basar. The event concluded with the recitation of Doa by KUPU SB Syariah Faculty Assistant Lecturer Azman bin Haji Kassim.

    Dato Seri Setia Haji Metussin bin Haji Baki delivered a premiere paper on ‘Empowering the Management of Zakat in Advancing the Socio – Economy of Muslims: Challenges and Hopes.’

    Dato Seri Setia Haji Metussin explained that zakat is a right that must be imposed on a property owner – it does not resemble the voluntary giving of gifts, consolation, assistance and compassion, but a command of Allah the Almighty, which is obligatory.

    From an economic viewpoint, he said that Islamic economics consider zakat’s role and potential to be substantially broad, including increasing economic growth and productivity through the circulation of wealth, and enabling the poor to be more productive economically. This in turn creates employment opportunities for those in need.

    Additionally, it helps meet the daily consumption needs of zakat recipients by increasing their purchasing power for goods and services, avoiding excessive accumulation of wealth by the rich, and financing projects such as education, healthcare and social welfare.

    Dato Seri Setia Haji Metussin added that Islam encourages zakat money to be developed through investment. In general, the investment of zakat money is one of the zakat distribution mechanisms viewed to positively impact asnaf and improve their standard of living. Scholars disagree on its necessity, but most scholars require it on the condition that it follows the guidelines set by the Islamic law.

    The main forms of investment are those undertaken by the asnaf, and investments carried out by Zakat institutions or baitulmal.

    Dato Seri Setia Haji Metussin said wisdom is needed from individuals managing zakat money, in planning and organising strategies to ensure the money belonging to the asnaf can be distributed transparently and in trust.

    “If they invest zakat money and the investment does not harm the asnaf and the purpose of zakat itself, even for the good and welfare of the zakat recipient, it must be invested,” he said.

    Meanwhile, four working papers were also presented by KUPU SB Syariah Faculty Asisstant Senior Professor Dr Haji Abd Rauf bin Muhammad Amin on ‘Determination of Illat Zakat Law Based on Maqasid Syariah and Its Suitability with Contemporary Zakat Management;’ KUPU SB Usuluddin Faculty Dean Dr Midar Rusdi on ‘Building the Socio-Economic Character of Islam through the Guidance of Zakat Verses in the Quran;’ Universitas Islam Malang (UNISMA) Islamic Education Faculty Assistant Professor Dr Dzulfikar Rodafi on ‘Asnaf Fi Riqab, Al Gharimin, Fi Sabilillah Dan Ibnu Sabil Menurut Fuqaha’; and KUPU SB Education Faculty Dean Dr Ismail Abas on ‘Strategies for Planning the Fiqh Zakat Curriculum for Religious Schools and Secondary Schools in Brunei Darussalam: A Proposal.’

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