Jacob Ritter

Tithing Versus Zakat: An Economic Model and Comparison

Since the rise of Islam in 622 CE, the question of economic activity based on compatibility with religious precepts has been an issue of contention between Christians and Muslims, especially with regards to tithing and zakat. Muslims contend that zakat is a more fair system of almsgiving, as it effectively discourages greediness and the tendency to hoard by taxing one’s savings, and is a more effective way of initiating socioeconomic stability within the umma. Christians contend that tithing is a more fair system of almsgiving because it demands an equal percentage of income, and this system of taxation compels adherents to behave economically in a way that is more in line with scripture. This research paper will dissect both forms of almsgiving at a mathematical level, and then compare them to see what kinds of economic incentives are involved with each methodology, and attempt to extrapolate what kind of socioeconomic systems these religious precepts seek to create, and compare those economic systems to those advocated by the scriptures of their respective religions.