The impact of the Islamic act of alms giving as a means for poverty alleviation among the poor in Lusaka district, Zambia.

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Zimba, Zanga
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University of Zambia
The study investigated the impact of the Islamic Act of Alms Giving (Zakat) as a means of poverty alleviation in order to determine its contributions to poverty alleviation among the poor in Lusaka urban district. The objectives of the study were to: establish the type of Alms (Zakat) given; explore the benefits of Alms (Zakat); ascertain the challenges associated with Alms (Zakat) and identify measures that can help improve Alms (Zakat) given to the needy in Lusaka urban District. The study was qualitative and adopted a descriptive design, were focus group discussion, document analysis and Interviews were conducted. The participants comprised of five (5) Imams, four (4) Islamic members of the Muslim association and one (1) Focus Group of Recipients (members from the general public) in Lusaka urban District who were sampled homogenous purposive sampling technique. Data were thematically analysed. The study established that Alms (Zakat) was practiced in Lusaka urban District and helped to empower locals with money to buy food and other basic amenities; recipients were mainly given cooking oil, sugar, salt, soap, clothes, meali-meal, rice, blankets, fertilizer and seeds among other things (but not everything at once). Zakat encouraged members to convert to Islam because of the basic needs they were receiving. The study further revealed some challenges which included some Muslims not fulfilling Zakat due to greediness and non-compliance and an official way of giving Zakat in undesignated place. In addition Zakat given to people was not enough to enable the recipients to venture into small enterprises for self-sustenance and that it encouraged suppliant among street kids. It also lucked monetary mechanisms to allow authorities make follow ups after Zakat was given to check if small and medium enterprise were set. Zakat institution in Lusaka further lacked innovation, creativity and knowledgeable staff in financial matters. Lack of innovation and creativity was also reported and indeed unofficial way of giving Zakat in undesignated places. Notwithstanding the challenges, the study concluded that Zakat was a programme that needs the attention of Muslim Associations Leaders to work together to help alleviate poverty among citizens. It was recommended that Imams and Muslim Association (MA) should encourage every Muslim to give Zakat in time, work together as a team and make follow ups when Zakat was given to the needy to ensure money and other help were spent in a meaningful way. Key Words: Imam, Needy, Poverty, Muslim, Zakat.
Muslim , Zakat. , Poverty