Islam is undoubtedly one of the world’s leading religions today with adherents cutting across all the continents. It is even said to be the world’s fastest-growing religion1. The practice of its tenets therefore is worldwide regardless of whether the adherents of the religion are the majority or constitute the minority group where they live. Like other tenets of Islam, adherents are expected to practise zakat, an institution meant to generate funds from the wealthy Muslims for the upkeep of the poor ones among them. A major condition for validity of the practice of this pillar of Islam requires that it is managed or administered by the machineries of the state. As Ali2 however contends, most Muslims today live under non-Muslim governments which do not, cannot and will not undertake the collection and disbursement of zakat for them. Muslims under this condition, therefore, not only find it difficult to practise this social institution of Islam but also use this political condition as an excuse for not practising zakat with the implications that both the benefactors and the beneficiaries are denied the reward of its practice. This paper is therefore an attempt to profile a model for the administration of this all-important zakat in a multi-religious society using the southwestern Nigeria as a case study. It aims at helping Muslims who live under non-Muslim governments to practice zakat as demanded by the Shariah. Away from the usual theoretical review emphasising the significance and role of zakat in an economy, this humble attempt emphasises a practical step by step approach to operationalising zakat in a socio-political setting that is not Islamic. That notwithstanding, a few lines will be written on the types, significance and administration of zakat in Islam.
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