The Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) has reported a collection of MVR 89.5 million in zakat al-mal for the past year, witnessing a slight decrease of 3 per cent from the MVR 92.6 million collected in 2022. This religious obligation, which is an integral part of the Islamic financial system, is levied on individuals who have attained the nisab threshold on their property, signifying their ability to contribute.
According to MIRA’s latest statistics, the peak in zakat al-mal contributions was observed in April, with a collection of MVR 22.3 million. However, there was a noticeable dip in December, where the amount of zakat al-mal received was significantly lower, totalling MVR 5.7 million, almost half of the MVR 11.0 million collected in the same month of the previous year.
Zakat al-mal, a mandatory charitable contribution, can be paid at any point throughout the year by those who meet the specified criteria of nisab, which is predominantly based on the value of gold and silver, in the Maldives. The fluctuating prices of these precious metals in the global market directly influence the rate of zakat, necessitating periodic adjustments to the rate. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs in the Maldives is responsible for setting the obligatory rate of zakat al-mal, which was last revised in August of the previous year.
In the Maldives, as in many Islamic countries, zakat al-mal acts as a mechanism for wealth redistribution, ensuring that those with sufficient financial resources contribute a portion of their wealth, typically 2.5 per cent, to benefit the less fortunate. This contribution is calculated based on the value of the property and financial holdings over a lunar Hijri year.
The collection and distribution of zakat al-mal are crucial components of the Maldivian government’s approach to social welfare and economic equity, reflecting the country’s commitment to its Islamic heritage and principles. The slight decrease in the collection last year, despite being a small percentage, highlights the dynamic nature of this religious practice in response to economic conditions and market fluctuations.