AFP - Monday, March 30 SINGAPORE (AFP) - - A Singapore-based church paid one of its leaders more than 500,000 dollars (329,000 US) in its last financial year, a report said Monday.
The New Creation Church, which raised 19 million Singapore dollars in just one day in February for the construction of its new premises, paid one employee between 500,001 and 550,000 dollars in the financial year ended March 31, 2008, the Straits Times said.
It said the church did not confirm if the money was paid to its leader, Senior Pastor Joseph Prince.
But New Creation's honorary secretary, Deacon Matthew Kang, was quoted by the newspaper as saying it was the church's policy to "recognise and reward key contributors... and Senior Pastor Prince is the main pillar of our church's growth and revenue."
Kang also described Prince as "the key man responsible for bringing in about 95 percent of our church's income," and added "he has enriched the church and not the other way around."
Two other employees of the church were paid between 150,001 and 200,000 dollars, but no names were given, the report said.
One of Singapore's fastest growing churches, New Creation had an income of 55.4 million dollars and net assets of 143.36 million dollars in its last financial year, according to its website.
Singapore is a predominantly ethnic Chinese society with deep Buddhist and Taoist traditions, but Christians here are known as devout and relatively affluent.
Wow, there is so much to do with this kind of money. NO wonder rich people who doesnt pay zakat will have to wait 500 years to go to Jannah.
Zakat is the 3rd pillar of Islam. That shows how important for muslims to give charity. ( charity means giving to the poor and needy and the orphans, in islam context).
One of the most important princles of islam is that ALL LIVING things belongs to Allah, and the wealth is held by human beings as safekeeping in this world.
Zakat means purification of wealth and growth. Setting aside a porportion of our earnings for the needy (The poor, The sick, the orphans) will encourage new growth of our earnings .( like working hard for a cause. )
This category of people is defined in surah at-Taubah: " The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is knower, Wise." (The Holy Qur'an 9:60).
The obligatory nature of Zakat is established in the Qur'an, the Sunnah (or hadith), and the consensus of the companions and the Muslim scholars. (means no objections or grey area on this). It is compulsory in other words.
Allah(swt) states in Surah at-Taubah verses 34-35: "34:O ye who believe! there are indeed many among the priests and anchorites, who in Falsehood devour the substance of men and hinder (them) from the way of Allah. And there are those who bury gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah. Announce unto them a most grievous penalty- 35:On the Day when heat will be produced out of that (wealth) in the fire of Hell, and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, their flanks, and their backs.- "This is the (treasure) which ye buried for yourselves: taste ye, then, the (treasures) ye buried!" (The Holy Qur'an 9:34-35).
The prophet (pbuh) said: "Any owner of gold and silver who does not deliver from them their right, on the Day of Quiyamah (Day of Judgment), (the gold and silver) will be shaped as foils of fire. Then it will be heated in the fire of Hell; (and) then with it he will be ironed on his side, his forehead, and his back" (narrated by Muslim).
It is agreed between Muslims in all the centuries the obligatory nature of paying Zakat for gold and silver, and from those the other kinds of currency.
When is Zakat Due ?
1. Passage of One Lunar Year:
Zakat is obligatory after a time span of one lunar year passes with the money in the control of it's owner. Then the owner needs to pay 2.5% (or 1/40) of the money as Zakat. (A lunar year is approximately 355 days).
Based on the total assets and the income that the church has, it means $500k in zakat. Ah, that can really helps the poor. :)
2. Deduction of Debts:
The owner should deduct any amount of money he or she borrowed from others; then check if the rest reaches the necessary nisab, then pays Zakat for it.
ARE WE BLIND TO THEIR NEEDS?
The Prophet said: 'Charity is a necessity for every Muslim. ' He was asked: 'What if a person has nothing?' The Prophet replied: 'He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity.' The Companions asked: 'What if he is not able to work?' The Prophet said: 'He should help poor and needy persons.' The Companions further asked 'What if he cannot do even that?' The Prophet said 'He should urge others to do good.' The Companions said 'What if he lacks that also?' The Prophet said 'He should check himself from doing evil. That is also charity.'
The religious teachers(ustazes, ustazahs ) in Islam in Singapore are not well paid at all. They are taken granted for that they should be not been paid for the knowledge. HELLO! They are also human beings, they have families to feed.
Im unsure about other countries... If u have any insights on this, please share. :)