Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Oman accepts e-payments on new zakat portal

The Oman Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs has launched an e-payments system for collecting zakat (زكاة‎‎) as part of digital transformation initiatives to facilitate services for beneficiaries and simplify procedures, the Oman News Agency has reported. Zakat is an annual payment, obligatory for Muslims, whose amount is calculated on the value of selected assets. The money is used for specific charitable and religious purposes.

Sultan bin Said al-Hinai, General Supervisor of the Zakat e-system said the system helps to manage zakat affairs for four stakeholders: the zakat payer, which could be an individual or an institution; the the beneficiaries of zakat, which could be an individual or a family; local zakat committees, and the Islamic banks which contribute to facilitating zakat services.

Services include a zakat calculator, and reliable acceptance of zakat payments. Zakat payments are credited to the general account for zakat in the sultanate, to the relevant account in wilayah, or to eligible individuals. It also allows payment of general or current alms, kaffarat or zakat al-fitr*. It also enables the delivery of in kind zakat, such as fruits, animals and others. 

To date, 1,120 users have taken advantage of the e-payment service.

*Kaffarat (كفارة) refers to payments made in lieu of fasts missed un-necessarily during Ramadhan. This is to be distinguished from fidyat (الفدية), or payments made in lieu of fasts missed because the person is too old or too sick, and cannot make up for it later. Zakat al-fitr is a compulsory amount to be paid before Eid prayers, either in the form of food or money, and meant as charity to be distributed at the end of the last fast in Ramadhan. The money helps the poor who may not have been able to engage in the Eid celebrations and also provides the giver with an opportunity to be forgiven for sins made during Ramadhan.