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This article endeavours to explain how the Muslim practice of zakāh (almsgiving) is a viable model for poverty alleviation in the Western Cape. This paper will briefly examine the origin and history of zakāh, how it has developed over time, the relevant Sharī’ah aspects, its rulings, and the spiritual rewards relating to the practice, including those liable to pay and who are eligible to receive zakāh. A selection of the organisations in the Western Cape and their principal objectives to alleviate poverty will also be discussed. A holistic view will be presented explaining the epistemology of poverty. The consequences of poverty will be described, and then an assessment of what the State is doing regarding the reduction or alleviation of poverty in South Africa will be undertaken. This paper will also highlight both historical and contemporary views on the issue of zakāh. The conclusion provides some solutions, recommendations, and alternatives that could improve Muslim communities socially, economically, and spiritually.
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