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The System of Zakat and Charities Under the Islamic State

Although zakat is considered an obligation like prayer, the majority of predominantly Muslim countries today do not have policies of enforcing payment of zakat by the state, just as they do not generally enforce closure of shops during prayer times and attendance of prayers in the mosques. The most notable countries that do enforce zakat taxation are Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The former enforces zakat payment through its General Authority of Zakat and Tax, while the latter introduced enforcement of zakat in 1980.

Considering that the Islamic State claims to be the caliphate, it is hardly surprising that the organization sought to impose zakat taxation on the Muslim populations in the territories that it controlled in Iraq and Syria at the height of its power. The group even created a specific administrative department to deal with zakat taxation and charities: the Diwan al-Zakat wa al-Ṣadaqat (Department of Zakat and Charities), one of a series of administrative departments (diwans) formally established after the declaration of the Caliphate on 29 June 2014.

Read the report at GWU Program on Extremism

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