From Watts Up With That?
Essay by Eric Worrall
According to the Jakarta Post, الزكاة or Zakat, a Muslim religious obligation to donate 2.5% of savings to charity, should be spent on climate action.
If you’re Muslim and care about climate change, read this
Yusuf Jameel and Gaelle Perrier San Francisco, California/Salt Lake City, Utah, United States ● Thu, April 6, 2023
Versi Bahasa Indonesia
Ramadan is here. Billions of Muslims worldwide abstain from food and water from dawn to sunset. As we experience a month believed to be blessed in Islam and in which good deeds are emphatically encouraged, a vast majority will opt to simultaneously complete the third pillar of the Islamic faith by distributing their annual zakat.
Briefly, zakat is a mandatory donation of 2.5 percent of a person’s annual savings to those in need, with the goal of alleviating inequalities. It applies to Muslims who hold certain assets such as cash, gold, and investments, and it can be paid to eight categories of recipients, including the poor, the needy, and those in debt.
Much of the zakat fund is managed informally, so it’s hard to say exactly how much we’re talking about. One estimate places the global zakat collection between US$200 billion and $1 trillion. In the United States, a 2022 study by Indiana University estimated that the average Muslim American household donated $2,070 of zakat to humanitarian charities in 2021, amounting to a total of $1.8 billion. It’s safe to say that zakat represents a vast pool of money.
Traditionally, zakat has been used to cover medical needs and education; buy food, water, and clothing; sustain orphanages; and help people who are struck by natural disasters. For instance, a significant portion of the zakat this year is expected to be directed—and rightly so—to the disaster relief work in Turkey and Syria following the devastating February earthquakes.
Such assistance will always be critical. However, it does not solve the underlying problems. For lasting change, zakat should be targeted to address systemic causes of suffering—including climate change.
…Read more: https://www.thejakartapost.com/opinion/2023/04/06/if-youre-muslim-and-care-about-climate-change-read-this.html
The $1 trillion Yusuf Jameel and Gaelle Perrier urge Muslims to spend on climate action will buy less than 0.1C global cooling. It will never be possible to verify whether the money made any difference.
I leave it to religious scholars to determine whether any Islamic laws have been broken, by people who urge the giving of money to those who have near zero power to make a difference, but who don’t reveal to their audience how insignificant an impact all that money would have on the global climate.
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