“They Love Us Because We Give Them Zakāt"

The Distribution of Wealth and the Making of Social Relations in Northern Nigeria


Author: Dauda Abubakar
In ‘They Love Us Because We Give Them’ Zakāt, Dauda Abubakar describes the practice of Zakāt in northern Nigeria. Those who practice this pillar of Islam annually deduct Zakāt from their wealth and distribute it to the poor and needy people within their vicinity, mostly their friends, relatives and neighbours.
The practice of giving and receiving Zakāt in northern Nigeria often leads to the establishment of social relations between the rich and needy. Dauda Abubakar provides details of the social relationship in the people’s interpersonal dealings with one another that often lead to power relations, high table relations etc. The needy reciprocate the Zakāt they collect in many ways, respecting and given high positions to the rich in society.

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Dauda Abubakar, Ph.D. (2014), University of Jos, Nigeria, obtained a Ph.D. in Anthropology at the Freie University Berlin Germany. He has written many articles published locally in Nigeria and outside Nigeria on Zakāt and other areas.
List of Figures
Arabic Transliteration
Map of Nigerian states
Map of Plateau State
Map of Jos North local government and its localities

 1  Theoretical Considerations
 2  Components of Gift Exchange
 3  The Obligation of Reciprocity
 4  Different Dimensions of Gift Exchange
 5  Gifts and Self-Presentation in Society
 6  There Is No Free Gift in Jos
 7  Methodology
 8  Chapter Outlines

1 Zakāt and Various Forms of Giving
 1  The Practice of zakāt in West Africa
 2  Northern Nigeria and Jos
 3  Jos
 4  Islam in Jos
 5  Economic Activity among the Hausa Muslims
 6  Overview of the Practice of zakāt

2 Muslim Attitudes to Giving in Jos
 1  Social and Religious Significance of Giving
 2  Other Forms of Giving
 3  Religious Significance of Giving
 4  Perceptions of Gifts as Opposed to zakāt

3 Administration of Zakāt by Muslim Groups in Jos
 1  Qādiriyya and Tijāniyya Sufi Orders
 2  Izala’s Department of Zakāt and Waqf
 3  Administration of zakāt by Muslim Yoruba Societies in Jos

4 Deductions of Zakāt in Jos
 1  Individuals and zakāt Deduction
 2  The Private Practice of zakāt
 3  Who Deducts zakāt?
 4  Factors Responsible for the Payment of zakāt
 5  Nisāb and the Role of the Print Media
 6  Process of zakāt Deductions

5 Distribution of Zakāt in Jos
 1  Process of zakāt Distribution
 2  Beneficiaries of zakāt
 3  Gender Imbalance among zakāt Beneficiaries
 4  Muslim Scholars and zakāt
 5  Classification of zakāt Beneficiaries
 6  The Challenges of New Interpretations of asnāf al-thamāniya

6 Zakāt and Social Relationships in Jos
 1  Zakāt: Tool for Deepening Relationships
 2  Zakāt and Social Bonds
 3  Zakāt Distribution and Power Relations
 4  Zakāt and Social Status
 5  Group Loyalty
 6  Dual Role of zakāt: Worship and Social Relationships


Appendix: List of Informants
Glossary of Arabic and Hausa Words
All interested in the role of Zakāt in Muslim societies and anyone interested in how religious practices promote social relationships. Also useful in religious studies, Islamic studies and anthropology.