Every human being, regardless of rank or status, would want their wealth, properties or assets to be blessed. The giving of Zakat is the duty of every Muslim. It is one of the five pillars of Islam. Allah has promised great rewards for those who spend their wealth towards the path of Allah with a joyful heart and full of sincerity. Allah declared in Surah al-Baqarah, verse 261:
(Which means): “The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” [Al-Quran, Surah al-Baqarah, verse 261]
This verse clearly shows that the practice of zakat opens up many opportunities for each individual to fully utilise their assets. Zakat removes greed and stinginess, provides spiritual calmness as well as expand the essential rewards and blessings for wealth gained. This is the reality of the greatness of performing zakat that must be believed by those who truly devote themselves to Allah.
Based on the Zakat Report by the Zakat Collection Centre of the Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Council (MAIWP), in 2016 almost RM581 million worth of zakat was collected from various fields and categories. From that amount, it was distributed to 5 main schemes, namely for the development of asnaf (rightful recipients), education, shelter, self-reliance and the development of the ummah covering 29 types of assistance as a whole. Apart from that, the distribution also involves several educational institutions including Islamic kindergartens in the Federal Territory, Darul Ilmi and Pondok Moden Al-‘Abaqirah. Various other forms of distribution were also implemented, such as the establishment of public infrastructure, construction and improvement of infrastructure for the Islamic community, as well as distribution to welfare and shelter institutions.
These distributions clearly demonstrate that zakat institutions do play their role well when managing zakat in our country. This completely rebuffs allegations and accusations heard among the community that zakat institutions are ineffective, inefficient and have failed to assist the people. Such negative perception would somewhat bring down the dignity and credibility of the zakat institutions. Here, the concept of tabayyun (to check and verify) is important for every individual. Learn to check and verify information as well as sources before disseminating it, so as not to spread slander and cause suspicion.
Maybe we are now capable of fulfilling our hearts desires, enjoying delicious food and expensive clothes which we provide for ourselves and family, but can our conscience be at peace when we know some of our fellow brothers are sleeping in a state of hunger, undergoing the hardships of life without knowing when it will change?
Remember that through our wealth, we have a responsibility and trust that needs to be performed. Let us not always question the responsibility of zakat centres, but instead, ask what our responsibilities are in assisting such centres? Do not continue to be complacent and arrogant of the favours of wealth we have received, but remain silent, ignoring the demands of performing the zakat, infaq (donation), or charity. In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah and recorded by Imam al-Bukhari, Rasulullah was reported to have said:
(Which means): “Whosoever Allah gives wealth but does not perform zakat, then on the Day of Resurrection, his wealth will turn into a horned male serpent with two fangs and coiled around him on the Day of Judgment, and the snake will devour him between its jaws while saying, “I am your wealth! I am your wealth!” [Refer Sahih al-Bukhari]
To motivate our soul to easily and willingly donate or contribute part of our assets, let us look at some examples that may be followed in giving zakat or contributing towards the path of Allah. Saidatina Khadijah bint Khuwailid RA spent her wealth for Islam. Most of her properties and assets were used to liberate slaves, help poor people, assist the needy, and save friends who were suffering from financial problems. Saidina Uthman bin Affan RA donated 1,000 camels and 70 horses for the Battle of Tabuk, including 1,000 dirhams to finance the expenses of the war. Similarly, Abdul Rahman bin Auf RA also contributed his wealth for the way of Allah. Those were just some of the examples shown by the Companions on how to put wealth to good use. Their sacrifices would surely bring them great rewards.
Learn from the attitudes and morals of the Companions regarding property and asset management. Provide assistance. Lighten the burden. Indeed, the hand that gives is better than the hand that receives.
On this occasion, this blog calls upon all to fulfil the obligation of zakat through legal and recognised zakat institutions appointed by the government, such as the Zakat Collection Centre of the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Council (MAIWP). This is because the zakat collected by such zakat institutions shall allow the fund to grow bigger so that various assistance and distributions can be made in a more orderly and organized way.
Looking back historically, Rasulullah appointed collectors (amil) from among his Companions. These appointed collectors travelled to remote villages to facilitate the collection of zakat. This proves that zakat institutions have existed since the time of Rasulullah, and is the sunnah of Rasulullah. Therefore, zakat collection centres that exist today follow the same method as shown by Rasulullah.
Make haste in doing good deeds. May all our efforts be rewarded with great blessings by Allah. In conclusions:
First: Zakat is an obligatory act of worship to purify every Muslim individual, towards achieving the blessings and pleasure of Allah.
Second: Paying zakat at institutions established by the government is a sunnah that has been practised by Rasulullah.
Third: Emulate the morals of the Companions who were always competing in performing charitable deeds, to help those who were most in need. Allah declared in Surah Ali ‘Imran, verse 180:
(Which means): “And let not those who [greedily] withhold what Allah has given them of His bounty ever think that it is better for them. Rather, it is worse for them. Their necks will be encircled by what they withheld on the Day of Resurrection. And to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth. And Allah, with what you do, is [fully] acquainted.” [Al-Quran, surah Ali ‘Imran, verse 180]