x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

A clarification on the obligation of zakat al mal

A reader notes the meaning of zakat and who is obliged to pay it.

Natalie Portman plays a talented and conflicted dancer in the movie Black Swan. A reader recognises the powerful effect that movies based on dance have had on the world of cinema.
Natalie Portman plays a talented and conflicted dancer in the movie Black Swan. A reader recognises the powerful effect that movies based on dance have had on the world of cinema.

In the photo caption accompanying the article Charity begins with some accounting (December 29) about the issue of zakat, it said that zakat al mal was "a percentage paid on the wealth that a person or company [italics are mine] accumulates in a year". This is a gross misunderstanding that nearly everyone, including scholars, makes.

Allow me to elaborate. Zakat, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, is a duty that is only for individuals and not companies. It is like saying that fasting or prayer is also applicable to companies, which is nonsensical.

The issue is that zakat is paid to cleanse the soul of the individual of greed. How exactly does that work within a company? A company is formed to make money for the shareholders.

It is the shareholders or the management and employees of the company who make use of the money and it is they who are duty bound to cleanse their souls. A company is a soulless entity and therefore is not obliged to be cleansed.

Mishal Kanoo, Dubai


Telecoms regulator should take action

The recent news item that telecoms charges in UAE are very high, Etisalat and du urged to reduce cost of calls abroad (December 28), has been admitted by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). Then what is the role of the TRA as a regulator?

The TRA should force the telecoms providers to reduce the charges instead of making a comment. Unfortunately, both existing telecoms providers in UAE are overcharging, whereas even in the so-called Third World countries, telecoms charges are one fourth of what UAE providers charge.

Shabir Zainudeen, Abu Dhabi


Dance movie with the right moves

I absolutely agree about the popularity and potency of dance movies, Dancing in the dark (December 28). I suggest that One Last Dance be added to your list. This 2003 movie was a labour of love by Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi, who both star in the movie.

It was written and directed by Niemi. The movie focuses on the inside world of dancers and also that it is never too late to realise a dream. The dance scenes are exquisite.

Sue Tabashnik, Dubai


New generation to be taught integrity

The definition of integrity is important in education (December 27), by Ayesha Ibrahim Almazroui, is an interesting topic. Integrity is good for societies and daily life and the master key of appreciation, success and respect.

We believe that our religion is the perfect guide for living. From reading the Holy Quran, we understand what is right and what is wrong and it shows the consequences of both directions.

Parents are the main unit of society; if they have integrity, then we'll guarantee a generation with integrity. Education completes the family's job by maintaining the awareness of integrity and ensuring that students have the intuition of a moral thinker. It's more than being educated, it's about socialisation too.

Name withheld by request


In defence of a few cups of coffee

The article A coffee is part of life in the UAE 'but don't overdo it' (December 24) provided a great insight into the coffee consumption patterns of young adults. However, I feel there are some facts which require clarification.

Like everything else, coffee must be enjoyed in moderation and thousands of modern scientific studies have shown that drinking coffee in moderation (three to four cups of soluble coffee per day) is perfectly safe and can be beneficial to your health.

There are many misconceptions surrounding coffee which have given it an unfairly bad reputation, particularly in comparison to tea. Some of these myths mentioned in your article include the idea that coffee is addictive. Regulatory agencies such as the World Health Organisation clearly mention in their studies that caffeine does not act on the brain in the same way addictive substances do, and hence cannot be considered an addictive substance.

Another common misconception is that coffee leads to dehydration. While a lot of people believe coffee has a diuretic effect because of its caffeine content, all recent scientific studies agree that moderate coffee consumption of three to four cups per day is actually no more diuretic than water.

As mentioned, the overall message here is moderation, and I feel it is important for readers to take the above into consideration when reading any article about coffee.

Lynne al Katib, Nestlé corporate nutritionist, Dubai