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Muslim advice to mourning daughter: pay Islamic taxes in honor of your dead parents

December 17, 2009

An anonymous writer seeking to help her friend whose parents apparently died before conducting the hajj contacted a Muslim-American newspaper in Anaheim, California.  She wanted to know if the hajj could be performed in her parents’ behalf.

InFocus News (IFN) published its answer earlier this month.  After addressing the hajj question, IFN’s “religious advisory board” couldn’t resist adding this unsolicited extra instruction:

It is highly encouraged to offer Sadaqa, Zakat, Udhiya, and perpetual Du`aa’ Maghfira (forgiveness) on behalf of your deceased parents. Rituals performed by a child on behalf of a deceased parent are among the few blessings that continue to count in the book of the deceased even after they have passed.

Zakat is Islam’s compulsory wealth tax of 2½ percent.  Sadaqa is giving beyond that minimum.  (Udhiya is blood sacrifice of an animal, but we’ll leave that aside.)  How would you like it if you wrote a Christian publication for advice on coping with the loss of your parents, and you were instructed to pay extra taxes on their behalf?

It is worth repeating that the beneficiaries of zakat aren’t just charities or the poor.  It has been well-established through the Koran 9:60 and interpretations of Islamic scholars over the centuries that jihad is a legal use for zakat and sadaqa revenues.  (Incidentally, comparing the zakat to Christian tithing is inappropriate for the reason explained on our FAQ page here.)

One hopes that the SoCal readers of this newspaper ignored the advice to give the zakat, which all too often continues to be funneled through Islamic charities in the United States to terrorist organizations abroad.

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