Does Asnaf Need to Pay Zakat?


I am a poor, penniless man and the father of two disabled children. Righteous people gave me from the wealth of Allah such as Zakat and charity. Now, I own a Nisab on which one full lunar year (haul) has lapsed. Is Zakat due on me?

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and messenger.

The majority of scholars hold that Zakat is due on wealth. The condition by which Zakat becomes due is to own a Nisab on which one lunar year (haul) has passed. Therefore, whenever a Muslim owns a Nisab of a kind of wealth on which one full lunar year lapses, Zakat becomes due on him whether he is rich or poor. Hanafi jurists, however, excluded the wealth that is saved for one’s basic needs such as food, drink, clothes and so on as they said: “No Zakah is due on it”.

The majority of scholars hold a different view from that of the Hanafi scholars as they hold that whoever owns a Nisab is required to pay Zakat on it even if he is poor. They also say that being entitled to receive Zakat does not prevent it from being due on a person. They set a difference between the limit of wealth that makes Zakat due and that which prevents one from taking it.

According to Malik, Ash-Shafi‘i, and Ahmad (may Allah have mercy upon them), the limit of wealth that makes Zakat due on someone is owning the Nisab. In relation to this, Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy upon him) said: “The fourth condition: Richness, based on the statement of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, to Mu‘aath ibn Jabal may Allaah be pleased with him, ‘Inform them that they have to pay an obligatory charity that is taken from their rich to be given to their poor.’ [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. This is also because Zakat is obligatory so as to be a source of assistance to the poor. Hence, there should be a considerable limit of wealth so as to achieve such assistance. The considerable limit of wealth in such a condition is to own a Nisab that is free from debt.”

The limit of wealth that prevents one from taking Zakat is owning what is sufficient for fulfilling one’s needs, whether it has reached the Nisab or not. Al-Khattaabi (may Allaah have mercy upon him) said about this, “Malik and Ash-Shafi‘i said: “There is no specified limit for wealth, but what counts is the financial capability of a person. So, if a person owns what suffices his needs, it is unlawful for him to take charity and, if he becomes in need, then it is lawful for him to take it.” Ash-Shafi‘i said: “A man who can earn his living may be rich by having only one dirham while another, who is too weak to earn his living and has many dependents to provide for, maybe poor despite having 1000 dirhams.”

On the other hand, Hanafi scholars hold that the same criterion should apply in both cases. This means that one who owns the Nisab is not permitted to receive Zakat because, by owning it, he is considered rich. However, the preponderant opinion is held by the majority of scholars. Therefore, you should know that you have to pay Zakat on your money as long as it has reached a Nisab and a full lunar year has lapsed on it. This also does not cancel the permissibility of taking from the Zakat money if you are entitled to receive it under the Shari‘ah.

Allah Knows best.

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The Dangers of Smoking


People should make use of what Almighty Allah has made lawful for them and beware of what He has prohibited. He left nothing which is good without making it lawful out of His grace, and nothing which is evil except that he prohibited it out of His mercy. So, just as He conferred upon you the bounty of making the good lawful, He also conferred upon you the bounty of making the evil prohibited. People should therefore offer praise to Him for both cases by willingly taking the lawful things and shunning the prohibited saying: ‘we hear and obey.’

Nowadays smoking has spread to every section of our society, even to young boys in the markets and in their homes. No one can deny the harmful effects that it has on one’s body, financial condition, society and religion.

The Affects Smoking on The Body
People smoke for different reasons (as they claim), some smoke to relax when they feeling tense, others smoke to feel more alert when they feeling dull, while others smoke when they’re depressed or bored, or to overcome feelings of anger or grief. The question here is; how can a mere cigarette be so many things to so many people? The answer lies in the chemicals in cigarettes and the powerful psychological effects they have.

There’s hardly a part of the human body that’s not affected by the chemicals in the cigarettes you smoke. Let’s take a tour of your body to look at how smoking affects it.

The Head & Mouth
As a smoker, you’re at risk for cancer of the mouth. Tobacco smoke can also cause gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath. The teeth become unsightly and yellow. Smokers may experience frequent headaches. And lack of oxygen and narrowed blood vessels to the brain can lead to strokes.

Lungs and Bronchi
Moving down to your chest, smoke passes through the bronchi or breathing tubes. Hydrogen cyanide and other chemicals in the smoke attack the lining of the bronchi, inflaming them and causing that chronic smoker’s cough. Because the bronchi are weakened, you’re more likely to get bronchial infections. Mucus secretion in your lungs is impaired, also leading to chronic coughing. Smokers are 10 times as likely to get lung cancer and emphysema as nonsmokers.

Smoking and The Heart
The effects of smoking on your heart are devastating. Nicotine raises blood pressure and makes the blood clot more easily. Carbon monoxide robs the blood of oxygen and leads to the development of cholesterol deposits on the artery walls. All of these effects add up to an increased risk of a heart attack. In addition, the poor circulation resulting from cholesterol deposits can cause strokes, loss of circulation in fingers and toes and impotence.

Smoking and The Body’s Organs
The digestive system is also affected. The tars in smoke can trigger cancer of the esophagus and throat. Smoking causes increased stomach acid secretion, leading to heartburn and ulcers. Smokers have higher rates of deadly pancreatic cancer. Many of the carcinogens from cigarettes are excreted in the urine where their presence can cause bladder cancer, which is often fatal. High blood pressure from smoking can damage the kidneys.

Nicotine—A Stimulant
Nicotine, the chemical that makes addicts out of cigarette smokers, is a stimulant with properties similar to those of cocaine and amphetamine (speed). Nicotine provides the pick-me-up that smokers feel. It increases heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate, and makes the smoker feel more alert. Unfortunately, these effects wear off after 20 minutes or so and the smoker is left craving another pick-me-up.

Acetaldehyde and Carbon Monoxide—Sedatives
Acetaldehyde, a byproduct of both cigarette smoke and alcohol, has some sedative properties. The carbon monoxide in cigarettes makes you feel dull the way you would in a stuffy room with not enough air. These chemicals seem to dampen some people’s feelings of tension, anger or strong emotion.

Other Psychological Effects
For many, the act of smoking itself—pausing in one’s work, lighting up, exhaling a certain way—becomes a comforting ritual in itself. The smoker may be involved in a private fantasy that relieves feelings of boredom and meaninglessness. Smoking may go hand in hand with other activities, such as drinking coffee or alcohol or eating dessert. These “triggers” are why quitting smoking involves more than just kicking the nicotine habit. Sooner or later everyone who smokes does so to relieve the craving for nicotine—a powerfully addictive drug. The addicted body sends messages of uneasiness and needs to the conscious mind until the smoker gives in and lights up.

Understanding Is Power
Take a close look at the feelings that make you want a cigarette and those that you have after you light up. Understanding these feelings will put you in charge when you’re ready to quit smoking. Do not be deceived by smokers who might appear to be of strong stature; unlike their outward appearance, they are not healthy in light of their lack appetite, the condition of their lungs, coughs, tuberculosis, and feebleness which might be felt upon very little exertion.

The Good News
Despite the bad health effects of smoking, the good news is that when you quit smoking your body begins to repair itself. Ten years after you quit, your body has repaired most of the damage smoking caused.

The Affects Smoking on The Financial Condition
Just ask any of them about the money that they expend daily on smoking, which, if spent on what is beneficial for a person and his family such as good food, drink, clothes, etc., would be of many benefits for one’s religion and worldly life. Rather, a smoker uses up most of his money on this vain pursuit which only adds to his immediate and deferred injuries. We seek Allah’s guidance for us and for them.

As for the traders who earn money from buying and selling such items and become wealthy after being poor and rich after being needy, then these are all ill-gotten gains and sinfulness. Such people are rich financial terms but very poor in their hearts; wealthy in this world but have nothing in the Hereafter, due to these ill-gotten gains which they made in this worldly life. They do not know when death will come to them forcing them to leave their wealth to their heirs while their hearts still long for it. Indeed poverty is better than wealth gained by disobeying Allah.

The Affects Smoking on The Community
Smoking diffuses social diseases that spread corruption amongst society, but most smokers do not care about the spread of this phenomenon among people; in fact they may actually enjoy seeing it spread among people to entertain and ease their own disastrous lifestyle. Therefore, they intentionally smoke in public before the youth, who become accustomed to this bad habit and regard it as a normal practice of the community. This leads to the inevitable outcome of the youth indulging in this fad to the extent that they rapidly become addicted to it. How many are the diseases that afflict those who use the remnants of cigarettes which are thrown in streets and public places!

The Affects Smoking on The One’s Religion
Most scholars, who are pure of all maladies and are well versed in the rulings of Islamic Law, know for certain it’s a prohibition from the Islamic texts and principles of Islamic jurisprudence. Smoking is disobedience of Allah and His Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention) and disobedience opposes faith, which decreases by committing sins just as it increases by doing good.

Those upon whom Allah has conferred His bounty of being protected against this habit should praise Him for this bounty and ask Him for steadfastness and to protect his brothers who are plagued with this addiction so that they may give it up. They should also ask Allah repeatedly to guard them and approach all possible means that might help others to shun it such as having a strong will, avoiding the places where this vice is practiced and replacing it with that which Allah has made lawful of food and drink, for Allah has made lawful any gate that might lead to good. They should also think of the affairs of those whom Allah has released from the fetters of this habit and to what extent they regained their health and recovered from the diseases that afflicted them because of this addiction – surely all praise is due to Allah.

Those who wait until cancer or emphysema has set in aren’t so lucky—these conditions are usually fatal. It’s one more reason to take the big step and quit now, but a more worthy reason to quite is to adhere to the command of Allah to eat and drink healthy and refrain from harmful matters. Allah Says (what means): “O you who have believed! Eat from the good [i.e., lawful] things which We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah, if it is [indeed] Him that you worship.” [Quran, surah al-Baqarah: verse 172].

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Zakat on Debit Card Deposit?


Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaah. I would like to ask regarding paying zakat on the money that a person has deposited from his own money in an Islamic bank in order use to use their covered card service. For example, the bank, before offering the covered card (debit card), requires from the client to give them 10,000 in cash, and they will keep it with them in a separate account (separate from the savings or current account) in order to grant the person the covered card. Upon the 10,000 cash given to the bank, they will set the maximum card limit to 7,500 that can be used. The bank said that this is sharia complaint as the person is using his own money that he has deposited and the bank then deducts the owed money from the person’s main bank account. The 10,000 cannot be withdrawn by the person unless he cancels the covered card program and hands them back the card. However, he can withdraw 7,500 from that card, which the bank will deduct 100% from the person’s main bank account. I would like to ask: does the person have to pay zakat on that money even though it is not in his full possession? If yes, then how should he calculate it? And would he have to pay for the past years, during which he did not know that he had to pay the zakat on such financial agreements? May Allaah reward you.

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

You must pay zakat on those ten thousand if they reach the Nisaab (minimum amount liable for zakat which is equal to 85 grams of gold or 595 grams of silver) by themselves or in addition to other money or gold or silver or tradable items. The amount of zakat is 2.5%.

If you have not paid zakat on it the previous years, then you should do so now, because zakat is not waived by the fact that its time has passed. Also, the fact that the amount is mortgaged with the bank does not prevent one from the obligation of paying it. Zakat must be paid on the money that is subject to zakat, even if such money is mortgaged. So you should pay zakat on the mortgaged money as long as you have other money to pay from.

Ibn Qudaamah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said, “If a person mortgages cattle and a whole lunar year elapses while it is in the hands of a mortgagee, then it is obligatory on the person who mortgaged the cattle to pay the zakat as he is the complete owner, so if he can pay the zakat from other things, then it is an obligation.”

Also, Ibn Hazm said in Al-Muhalla, “If a person mortgages cattle, gold, silver, land that he cultivated, or palm trees that yielded fruit, and a whole lunar year elapses, then zakat must be paid on all this … because it is property that resulted from his property, and the obligatory zakat is a must on it as long as his property is not transferred to someone else [i.e. as long as he is still its owner].

An-Nawawi said, “If a person mortgages cattle or other zakat funds and a whole lunar year elapses, then there are two views for this: the adopted view – which is the view authoritatively asserted by the majority of the scholars – is that zakat must be paid on it because of fully owning the property. It was also said that there is a difference of opinion regarding it, like that regarding the usurped property, as the person (in this case) is not able to dispose of his property.”

Allah knows best.

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Damages Caused by Animals

Allah SWT has prohibited usurping other people’s property and has imposed liability for whatever is damaged of the property taken without right even if it was by mistake. Whoever damages another person’s property – that is considerable – without its owner’s permission, is financially liable to make up for it.

Imaam Al-Muwaffaq may Allah have mercy upon him said: “There is no juristic disagreement in this regard, whether or not the damage is intentional, and whether or not the one causing it is legally accountable.”

Similarly, whoever causes damage to another person’s wealth is financially liable for it. For example, when one opens a gate causing what is locked in to be lost or stolen, or when one unfastens a container causing what is therein to be wasted and damaged, he is liable for them. Likewise, if someone ties a riding animal in a narrow street causing a passerby to stumble and be harmed or injured, he has to pay him for the damage caused. This is exactly like the one who parks a car in the middle of the street, and as a result, another car or a person is hit, whereby damage is caused, the one who parked the car is liable to make up for the damage. This opinion is based on the Hadeeth reported by Ad-Daaraqutni and others, which reads: “If one ties a riding animal in one of the pathways of the Muslims, or in one of their markets, and it treads on someone (or something) by one of its front or back legs, one is liable for it.” [Ad-Daaraqutni and Al-Bayhaqi]

The same ruling applies when one leaves clay, a piece of wood or a stone in a pathway or digs a hole in it, causing harm or injury to a passerby. In the same way, if someone throws watermelon peels or lets water in the street, causing a passerby to slip and get injured, he is to make up for it. People who do all such actions are financially liable for the resulting damage, as such deeds are regarded as transgression.

Unfortunately, there are many such instances of carelessness everywhere nowadays; too many holes are heedlessly dug on the roads and streets, too many blocks and obstacles are put therein, and too much damage is caused by that heedlessness due to the lack of control and supervision. Some people may even occupy streets as if they were their own, dedicating them for their own use, causing harm to those passing by without caring for the sins they are committing in this way or the punishment that awaits them.

Among the matters that incur financial liability is when one has a mad dog that assaults the passersby or bites any of them. The owner of the dog is liable to make up for the resulting damages or injuries, for having such a dog is an act of transgression. On the other hand, if someone digs a well in his courtyard for his own benefit, he is financially liable for any damage that might be caused through it; he is obliged to keep it in a condition that prevents harming the passersby. However, if he leaves it without such precautions, he is deemed a transgressor.

Moreover, if someone owns cattle, he is obliged to keep them away from damaging other people’s crops especially at night; otherwise, he is financially liable for whatever they damage. The Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) judged in such a case: “The owners of a property (i.e. cattle) should keep it during the daytime and they are liable for the damages they (the cattle) cause during the nighttime.” [Imaam Ahmad, Abu Daawood, and Ibn Maajah]

The owner of a domestic animal is not liable for it during the daytime, except if he releases it close to what it usually damages. Imaam Al-Baghaawi may Allah have mercy upon him said: “Scholars hold the opinion that the owners of grazing cattle are not liable for the people’s properties they (the cattle) damage during the daytime. However, their owners are liable for whatever they damage during the night, for it is conventional that the owners of gardens and orchards are to protect them properly during the daytime while the cattle owners are to detain them during the nighttime. Thus, whoever breaks this habit has deviated from the convention. This is in case the owner of the cattle is absent, but if he is there, he has to pay for what his cattle have damaged.”

In the Quran, Allah mentions a story about Prophets Daawood (David) and Sulaymaan (Solomon), may Allah exalt their mention, and their judgment concerning a similar case of damage. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): “And [mention] David and Solomon, when they judged concerning the field —when the sheep of a people overran it [at night], and We were witness to their judgment. And We gave an understanding of the case to Solomon, and to each [of them] We gave judgment and knowledge. And We subjected the mountains to exalt [Us], along with David and [also] the birds. And We were doing [that].” [Quran 21: 78 -79]

Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah may Allah have mercy upon him said: “According to the Quran, Sulaymaan (Solomon) was clearly favored by understanding the wisdom of liability on equal terms. The sheep were grazing at night and damaged a grape orchard. Daawood judged that the shepherds should pay the exact value of the damage, and then he estimated the sheep and found that their value was equal to the compensation for the damage. Therefore, he gave judgment that all the sheep should be given to the owner of the orchard. However, Sulaymaan judged that the owners of the sheep were liable for the damaged orchard and that they should pay its exact equivalent in compensation by cultivating the orchard until it returns to its original state. He did not also deprive the owners of the orchard of the crops that were supposed to be yielded from the time of damage until the time of recovery. Thus, Sulaymaan gave the owners of the orchard the sheep so as to benefit from them as much as the sheep owners used to benefit from the orchard. In other words, they would utilize the shepherds’ sheep in return for the fruits they missed of their orchard until the orchard was re-cultivated by the shepherds (in compensation). So, Sulaymaan evaluated the two guarantees and found them equal, and that was an example of the knowledge Allah favored him with and the wisdom He praised him for.”

If an animal has been led or ridden by someone, he is liable only for whatever it damages with its front organs, such as the forelegs or the mouth. Yet, he is not liable for what is damaged by the animal’s hind parts such as the hind legs, for the Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) said: “There is no compensation for whatsoever is damaged (or killed or injured) by a beast’s leg.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah may Allah have mercy upon him said: “The injuries or damages caused by animals like cows, sheep, and the like are not to be compensated (by the owner) if they are off a leash. This occurs, for example, when an animal breaks loose from the person leading it and then causes damage. In this case, there is no financial liability on the owner for the damage provided that the animal is not used to biting and that its owner has not been negligent in detaining it at night and keeping it away from market places and people’s gatherings.”

The same opinion is maintained by some other scholars, who state that there is no compensation (for the damage caused) if the animal escapes and wanders about aimlessly without a leader or a rider unless it is a wild beast.

In addition, if someone is attacked by a human being or an animal, and killing is the only way to stop them, there will be no compensation on that person in case he killed them. This is because killing here is a means of self-defense which is permissible, so there is no liability for its consequences. Moreover, the killing of an assaulter is intended to prevent its harm, so one will not be regarded as a killer when one kills it in self-defense. Rather, the assaulter itself will be regarded as a self-murderer in this case. Sheikh Taqiyyud-Deen may Allah have mercy upon him said: “A person has to stop the assaulter, and if it cannot be stopped except by killing, it is permissible for the attacked person to do so according to the unanimous juristic agreement in this regard.”

Among the objects for which there is no compensation in case of damage are musical and entertainment instruments, crosses, wine containers, and books on misguidance, superstition, dissoluteness, and profligacy. This is implied in the Hadeeth related by Imaam Ahmad may Allah have mercy upon him on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, who narrated that the Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) ordered him to get a knife and then he SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) went to the markets of Madeenah, where there were leather containers of intoxicants brought from Ash-Sham (The Levant; the region covering Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine). Ibn ‘ Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, added that those leather containers of wine were torn by knives in the presence of the Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) who commanded his Companions, may Allah be pleased with him, to do the same [Ahmad].

This Hadeeth proves the religious obligation of destroying such immoral things without giving anything in compensation. Still, this should be carried out under the control and supervision of the authorities so as to guarantee public interests and prevent any evil or corruption resulting thereof.

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The Ethical Framework for a Muslim Investor

Money, money, money. Doesn’t it make your head spin sometimes? Think of all the things you can do if you just had a little more…

Unfortunately, this compelling greed and need sometimes drives us to make financially unsound decisions, and worse still, even un-Islamic ones. The following article outlines various aspects of Islamic financial dealings, from paying the one you hire to what not to pay when you owe someone. There is so much evidence with regard to Islamic finance that they cannot and must not be ignored. If you ever intend to spend another money, you must read on.

The Hirer and the Laborer
Nothing bonds employees to their place of work more than the fulfillment of their contractual rights, including receiving their wages on time – such treatment fosters loyalty and a sense of belonging as well as financial security for themselves and their family. The Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) said: “Give the laborer his wages before his sweat dries away.” [Ibn Maajah]. He SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) gave a stern warning to those who do not meet their obligations by saying: “Allah Almighty Said (what means): ‘I will be an opponent to three types of people on the Day of Resurrection: one who makes a covenant in My name, but proves treacherous; one who sells a free person and eats his price and one who employs a laborer and takes full work from him, but does not pay him for his labor.’” [Al-Bukhari].

Our Wealth and Charity
However, the highest among the list of financial obligations is that of our obligation toward our Creator. The rich begin to fulfill this obligation by giving Zakah to the poor and they continue the fulfillment by giving charitable donations whenever needed. Fulfilling one’s obligation towards Allah purifies the capital from inadvertent errors and suspicion, as well as purifies the soul from stinginess and selfishness.

Zakah does not eat away capital, rather it increases it. On the other hand, withholding Zakah is a direct reason for bankruptcy. When people withhold Zakah, Allah withholds rain from them and if it were not for the sake of preserving cattle and wildlife, the rain would cease altogether. Evidence abounds on these issues from both the Quran and Sunnah.

Allah Says (what means): “… And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah – give them tidings of a painful punishment. The Day when it (the gold and silver whose Zakah was not paid) will be heated in the Hellfire and seared therewith will be their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, (it will be said), ‘This is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you used to hoard.’”[Quran, surah at-Taubah: verse 34-35].

Allah also Says (what means): “And those within whose wealth is a known right (Zakah). For the petitioner and the deprived.” [Quran 70:24-24].

And in another verse, Allah Says (what means): “Take, (O Muhammad), from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase, and invoke (Allah’s blessings) upon them. Indeed, your invocations are reassurance for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” [Quran, surah at-Taubah: verse 103].

The Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) said: “No owner of treasure who does not pay Zakah (would be spared) but (his hoard) would be heated in the Hellfire. These would be made into plates and with these, his sides and his forehead would be cauterized till Allah pronounces judgment among His servants during a Day, the extent of which would be fifty thousand years. He would then see his path, leading either to Paradise or to Hellfire…” [Muslim].

One has only to regard the effect that Zakah has on society to recognize its importance. The money is paid by the rich in order to fulfill their obligation towards Allah, and then used by the poor to relieve their suffering. In a society where giving and receiving are carried out in good faith, the poor live peacefully with the rich in flourishing and stable solidarity. The Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) gave an example of this society by saying: “When the Ash’arites run short of provisions in the campaigns or run short of food for their children in Al-Madeenah, they collect whatever is with them in a cloth and then partake equally from one vessel. They are from me and I am from them.” [Al-Bukhari].

Avoiding Ribaa (Interest)
A careful analysis of the history of civilizations reveals a common root to all turmoil and political unrest – and that root is usury. This is the reason why Islam took an extremely firm stand on the issue of interest.

Muslim investors should be extremely careful to avoid engaging in transactions involving interest or in any transaction involving interest masquerading as a seemingly lawful transaction.

Allah forbade interest and threatened those who take it with severe punishment, when He Says (what means):

“Those who consume interest cannot stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except as one stand who is being beaten by Satan into insanity. That is because they say: ‘Trade is (just) like interest.’ But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest. So whoever has received an admonition from his Lord and desists may have what is past, and his affair rests with Allah. But whoever returns (to dealing in interest or usury) – those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein. Allah destroys interest and gives an increase in charities. And Allah does not like every sinning disbeliever.” [Quran, surah al-Baqarah: verse 275-276].

Allah Almighty declared war against those who take interest and encouraged lenders to be patient with borrowers to the point of absolving them from all, or part, of the loan in the following verse, when He Says (what means):

“O you who have believed, fear Allah and give up what remains (due to you) of interest if you should be believers. And if you do not, then be informed of a war (against you) from Allah and His Messenger. But if you repent, you may have your capital – (thus) you do no wrong, nor are you wronged. And if someone is in hardship, then (let there be) postponement until (a time of) ease. But if you give (from your right as) charity, then it is better for you, if you only knew.” [Quran, surah al-Baqarah: verse 278-281]

Islam’s ruling on taking interest is very straightforward and severe. It is considered to be one of the seven mortal sins. The Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) said: “Avoid the seven great destructive sins.” The people inquired: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! What are they?’ He said: ‘To join others in worship along with Allah, to practice sorcery, to take the life which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause (according to Islamic law), to eat up Ribaa (usury), to eat up an orphan’s wealth, to show one’s back to the enemy and fleeing from the battlefield at the time of fighting; and to accuse chaste women, who do not have any unchaste thoughts and are good believers.’”[Al-Bukhari].

The Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) went on to curse the taker of interest, its payer and also the one who records it, including the two witnesses. He SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) said: “They are all equal.” [Muslim].

The Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) further said: “This night I dreamt that two men came and took me to a holy land whence we proceeded on till we reached a river of blood, where a man was standing, and on its bank was standing another man with stones in his hands. The man in the middle of the river tried to come out, but the other threw a stone in his mouth and forced him to go back to his original place. So, whenever he tried to come out, the other man would throw a stone in his mouth and force him to go back to his former place. I asked: ‘Who is this?’ I was told: ‘The person in the river used to eat Ribaa.’” [Al-Bukhari].

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Small Thought #5 – Start With Yourself Before Others

Who to start with?
In Da’wah (call to Islam), start with yourself before the members of your family and other people and look at what is lacking in you in order that you may start treating it.

So if there is a common deficiency between you and one of your companions or family members, then join him with you in resolving this problem because the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever from amongst you sees an evil he should change it with his hand and if he is not able to, then with his tongue and if he is not able to, then he should hate it in his heart, and that is the weakest level of faith.” [Narrated by Muslim and Ahmed]

How is your humbleness in prayer?
When our hearts are overloaded with the pressures of life and at the point of exploding, comes the prayer as an outlet where souls can breathe the taste of tranquility, throw the troubles of life away and become happy and calm. However, for prayer we have to provide it with what makes us Humble. Allah Says (what mean): “Indeed, they used to hasten to good deeds and supplicate Us in hope and fear, and they were to Us humbly submissive” [Quran 21:90]

How is your relationship with Allah?
Are you one who’s supplications are answered or do you notice most of your supplications not being answered?

Look into your Aqeedah (Faith) and the level of your certainty and reliance upon Allah, and observe closely your food and drink – are they from that which is Halal (lawful) or Haram (unlawful), or is there some doubt about their source?

If the situation was one that requires enjoining good and forbidding evil, what would you do? Prophet Muhammad said: “By Him in Who’s Hand is my soul, you will enjoin good and prohibit evil or (else) Allah will soon send upon you a punishment from Him, then you will call upon Him and He will not answer you.” [Ahmed and At-Tirmithi]

Maybe you would benefit from reading Hadeeths (Prophetic narrations) pertaining to the punishment of the grave and that of its bliss, about the terror of the Resurrection, and the torment of the Hell-Fire. You could well continue reading for days, weeks or months, accompanying that with good actions and self-struggle.

Are you prepared for the meeting with Allah?

  • Have you fulfilled the rights of the creation, one to another? Or are you in a constant state of postponing and deferring?
  • Have you converted your knowledge of repentance into crying and penitence?
  • Have you turned whatever you have read about loving Allah into real love for your Muslim brothers?
  • Do you often visit them, and overlook their faults? Do you aid the needy from amongst them, feel delighted for their happiness and grieve for their sorrow?

It is better for you if you were to meet death whilst trying to improve your own condition than to die whilst striving to improve others’, being held accountable at the same time for leaving off obligatory actions just like the lantern that burns itself out and gives light to others, as in the Hadeeth: “The example of the scholar who teaches the people good things but forgets himself is that of a lantern, it gives light to the people but burns itself out.” [At-Tabarani]

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Receiving and Giving Gifts in Islam

Gift-giving is one of the good manners that maintains and strengthens relations between the giver and the recipient. It is one of the acts that Prophet Muhammad SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) recommended Muslims to do. Al-Bukhari may Allah have mercy upon him narrated that ‘Aa’ishah may Allah be pleased with her said: “The Messenger of Allah SAW used to accept gifts and reward people for giving them.”

The phrase: “Reward people for giving them,” means giving the giver (at a later time) something of equal value at least in return.

This Hadeeth (narration) indicates that accepting gifts and giving something of equal value (or more) to the giver is the way of the Prophet SAW.

The Prophet SAW enjoined responding in kind to favors, as he said in an authentic narration: “Whoever does you a favor, respond in kind, and if you cannot find the means of doing so, then keep praying for him until you think that you have responded in kind.” [Abu Dawood]

“Whoever does you a favor,” means, whoever treats you kindly in word or deed or by gifting you.

“Respond in kind,” means to treat him kindly just as he has treated you kindly.

“If you cannot find the means of doing so” means if you do not have the money.

“Until you think that you have responded in kind” means, repeatedly supplicate for him until you think that you have rewarded him his due.

One of the Du’aa’ forms that one can say is ‘Jazaka Allahu khayran’ (may Allah reward you with good). At-Tirmithi may Allah have mercy upon him narrated that Usamah Ibn Zayd may Allah be pleased with him said: The Messenger of Allah SAW said: “Whoever has a favor done for him and says ‘Jazak Allahu khayran’ has done his utmost to thank him.” [At-Tirmithi]

“Done his utmost to thank him,” means that he has done his utmost to express his gratitude because he has acknowledged his shortcomings and that he is unable to reward and thank him enough, so he refers the matter to Allah, to reward him in the best manner. It is said that: “If you are unable to give him back in kind, then speak at length thanking him and supplicating for him.” [Tuhfat Al-Ahwathi]

The Permanent Committee (a supreme Islamic judicial authority in Saudi Arabia, was asked a similar question) and replied as follows:

“There is nothing wrong with accepting it (an amount of money as a gift), without you (the recipient) longing for that, and you can respond in kind if you are able to with an appropriate gift, or you can supplicate for him because the Prophet SAW said: “Whoever does you a favor, respond in kind … (the above-mentioned Hadeeth).” [Fatawa Al-Lajnah Al-Daa’imah]

Difference between charity and gift-giving
Charity is given to the poor and the needy to meet their needs and is done with the intention of seeking the Pleasure of Allah. Its intention is not limited to a specific person; rather it is given to any poor or needy one.

On the other hand, a gift is not necessarily given to a poor person, rather it may be given to rich or poor; the intention is to show friendship and to honor the recipient.

Both of them – charity and gift-giving – are righteous deeds for which a person will be rewarded (and please his Lord), but which is better?

Ibn Taymiyah may Allah have mercy upon him stated that Sadaqah (charity) is that which is given for the sake of Allah as an act of worship, without intending to give it to a specific person and without seeking anything in return, rather it is given for charitable causes, such as to the needy. A gift is given with the intention of honoring a specific person, either because the recipient is your friend whom you love, or because you want something in return.

Hence, the Prophet SAW used to accept gifts and reward people for them, so that no one could remind him of their favors, but he did not accept the “refuse” of people that they gave to purify themselves of sins, namely charity. He did not accept charity for this and other reasons.

Once this is understood, then charity is better, but there is a sense in which a gift is better than charity, such as giving a gift to the Messenger of Allah SAW during his lifetime out of love for him. Also, gifts that a person gives to a relative in order to uphold the ties of kinship or to a brother in Islam may be better than charity.

Based on this, giving to one of your relatives may be better than giving charity, because it is more befitting to uphold the ties of kinship. The same may apply if you give a gift to a friend of yours because that will strengthen the bonds of love between you. The Prophet SAW said: “Exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love for one another.” [Al-Bukhari]

What the Hadeeth means is that giving gifts may generate and increase love.

To sum up, gifting vs. giving charity is dependent on the situation but, in principle, spending on charity takes precedence.

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The Islamic Ruling on Al-Luqatah (Lost and Found Item)


Linguistically, ‘Al-Luqatah’ refers to anything that is found and picked up from the ground. Technically, as Imam Ibn Qudamah may Allah have mercy upon him a Muslim scholar, defined it as: ‘Property that the owner loses and a person finds and takes away (to preserve it in trust).’

Legal Validity
Muslim scholars vary about the ruling. The Hanafi and Shafi’i jurists maintain that it is better to pick up a lost property because a Muslim is duty-bound to preserve his Muslim brother’s property, as evidenced by the saying of the Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention), when he was asked about Al-Luqatah: “Remember the description of its container and the string with which it is tied. Make a public announcement of it for one year. If nobody comes and claims it, then utilize the money but keep it as a trust with you. And if its owner comes back one day seeking it, then return it to him.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

According to the Maliki and Hanbali jurists, it is a Makrooh (disliked) act to take away such property. This is also the opinion of Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas may Allah be pleased with them. They argued that by taking away such lost items, one is bound to use something that is deemed unlawful. They also argued that one may not be able to undertake his duty efficiently regarding it, in terms of advertising it, returning it to its lawful owner and preserving it.

It’s Ruling in Terms of Liability
Al-Luqatah remains a trust with the person who finds it and keeps it, and he is deemed liable for it only if he abuses it. He is also deemed liable for it if he gives it to somebody else without the permission of a judge. If it is damaged while still in the finder’s possession, after publicly announcing that he has found it and asking people to refer its rightful owner to him, then he is not deemed liable for such damage because he volunteered to preserve it in trust. The Ahaadeeth (prophetic statements) on this issue is very clear. The Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) said in the above-quoted Hadeeth: “…But keep it as a trust with you“.

Types of Al-Luqatah

  1. If it is an animal, the finder should see if it is able to protect itself or not. If it is able to, then he is not allowed to take it away. When the Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) was asked about the Islamic ruling concerning a lost camel, he replied: “It is none of your concern. Leave it, for it has its feet and a water-container (reservoir), and it will reach water and eat from the trees until its owner finds it.” [Al-Bukhari]. However, if the lost animal is not able to protect itself, such as a sheep, a sick camel or a horse with a broken leg, the finder is allowed to take it away. When the Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) was asked about the ruling concerning a lost sheep, he replied: “Take it, for it is either for you, or for your brother (i.e., its owner), or for the wolf.” [Al-Bukhari]
  2. As for lost property that is not an animal, such as money of an unknown owner, one should consider the following rulings:

The Ruling Concerning Trivial Fallen Items
For trivial items such as a loaf of bread, a whip, a date or anything that people generally do not claim when they lose, according to the predominant custom, the person who finds such an item is allowed to claim it as his own without publicly announcing it. He is also allowed to utilize it. Jabir bin ‘Abdullah may Allah be pleased with him who was one of the Prophet’s companions, said: “The Messenger of Allah SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) allowed us to utilize (such trivial objects as) a rod, a whip, and a rope if we found it.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Announcing Lost Property Publicly
a) If someone finds an object, he should acquaint himself with the features that distinguish it from all similar objects. This will allow him to identify the right owner if he comes to claim it and asks him about its distinguishing features.
b) If he knows its distinguishing features, he should advertise it in public places, markets and outside Mosques, but not inside the Mosques, as this is deemed a Makrooh act. He should then wait for a year.

How should the finder be compensated for announcing, publicizing or maintenance expenditure?
Hanafi and Hanbali jurists maintain that the finder should incur such expenses. Imam Malik may Allah have mercy upon him maintained: “The owner is to be given two options: either to reclaim it from the person who has found it, by paying him back for what he has spent on it, or to give it to him in return for the expenses incurred.” Shafi’i jurists say that the judge takes the money from the public treasury of the Muslim state and gives it to the finder of the lost property to use it for advertising purposes, or the finder may borrow this money and would consider it as a loan to the owner.

Returning Lost Property to the Person Who Claims It
If someone comes and claims that the lost property is his, its finder should ask him about its distinguishing characteristics. If the claimant adequately describes it and distinguishes it from similar items, or if he proves to him with clear evidence that it belongs to him – by describing its container or the string with which it is tied, for instance – then the finder should return it to him, as the Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) said by way of example: “If its owner shows up and satisfactorily describes its container, the string with which it is tied and the amount of money in it, then return it to him.” [Muslim]

A question arises here: After the claimant provides a satisfactory description of the lost property, should the finder return the property to him or should he take him to a judge to establish the evidence and act upon the judge’s decision? According to the Hanafi and Shafi’i schools of Fiqh (jurisprudence), the finder of the lost property is not obliged to return it. The followers of the Maliki and Hanbali schools of Fiqh have stated that he is obliged to return it to its owner if the latter gives a satisfactory description of it, in accordance with the dictates of the prophetic tradition mentioned above.

Claiming Lost Property as One’s Own
The finder of the lost property can claim such property as his own if he still has it, or he can claim its price as his own in case he sold it after advertising it for the required period of time. In such a case, he should give it or give its value to the owner should the latter come forward to claim it, as the Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) said in this regard: “Advertise it for a year. If nobody claims it, then utilize it, and keep it with you as a trust.” One is not allowed to claim it as his own without advertising it for a full year.

Some scholars argue that it is not permissible to consider lost property as one’s own, and whoever finds it should, after advertising, give it in charity to the poor because it is considered other people’s property, and it is not permissible to use it without its owner’s consent, in accordance with prophetic textual evidence: the Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) said: “A Muslim’s property is not lawful (for another Muslim) without the former’s own free will.” He SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) also said: “Lost property is not lawful. Whoever finds it should advertise it for a year. If its owner shows up and claims it, he (the finder) must return it to him; if he does not show up, he should give it in charity.” [Al-Bazzar and Ad-Daraqutni]

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Zakat: Meaning, Ruling and Benefits

The literal meaning of “Zakat” is purity. Its Islamic technical meaning designates the annual amount of wealth, food, property, etc. which a Muslim with adequate means must distribute among the rightful beneficiaries.

Zakat is a remarkable institution and a major pillar of Islam. Allah, Almighty, Says (what means): “And establish the Prayer, and pay Zakat (the poor-due)…” [Quran, 2:43]

Moreover, Zakat is an obligatory act because it is one of the pillars of Islam: The Prophet SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) said: “Islam was built upon five (pillars): `The testimony that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; the establishment of the prayer; paying the obligatory charity (Zakat); pilgrimage to the House (Hajj to the Kaaba in Makkah) and fasting (the month of) Ramadan.”‘ [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Zakat is a small portion of the Muslim’s wealth that must be given to the poor or to other specified beneficiaries. Whoever claims that Zakat is not obligatory and refuses to pay it, is not a Muslim, but a Muslim who refuses to pay Zakat due to stinginess, while affirming its obligation, has committed a great sin for which one will be severely punished.

Allah, Almighty, Says (what means): “…and as for those who hoard treasures of gold and silver, and do not spend them for the sake of Allah, announce unto them a painful torment. On the Day when that [hoarded wealth] shall be heated in the Fire of Hell and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, (and it will be said unto them): `This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard.” [Quran 9: 34-35]

He, Almighty, also Says (what means): “And let not those who covetously withhold of that which Allah has bestowed on them of His Bounty (Wealth) think that it is good for them (and so they do not pay Zakat). No, it will be worse for them; the things which they covetously withheld will be tied to their necks like a collar on the Day of Resurrection…” [Quran 3:180]

There is no equivalent in any other language to the word “Zakat” and the meaning it conveys. It is not just a form of charity, or alms-giving or tax or tithe. Nor, is it simply an expression of kindness; it is all of these combined and much more. It is a duty enjoined by Allah and a source of purification for the individual and society as a whole.

He, Almighty, Says (what means): “Take from their wealth ‘sadaqah’ (Zakat) in order to purify them and sanctify them with it.” [Quran 9: 103]

Zakat benefits society in many ways. Here is an explanation of the far-reaching effects of it:

  1. Zakat purifies the individual and his wealth. The status of his wealth is increased with Allah and in turn, he will be rewarded. When a person becomes liable for paying Zakat, a certain percentage of his wealth should be distributed immediately in the correct manner, because at that point, the wealth which is to be distributed does not belong to him. If this wealth is retained, it spoils the status of all of his wealth.
  2. Zakat does not only purify the property of the one who gives it, but it also purifies his heart from selfishness and greed. In return, it purifies the heart of the recipient from envy and jealousy, and it fosters in his heart goodwill and warm wishes toward the contributor. As a result, the rich and poor of society are bound together as a unit, working together and helping one another.
  3. Zakat decreases the sufferings of the needy and poor members of society, however, those in need should not depend on it completely.
  4. Zakat is an effective means of developing the spirit of social responsibility on the part of the well-to-do, and the feeling of security and belonging on the part of the underprivileged.
  5. Zakat is a clear manifestation of the spiritual and humanitarian interactions between the individual and society. It is a sound illustration of the fact that though Islam does not hinder private enterprise or condemn private possessions, it does not tolerate selfish and greedy control of wealth and property. It is an expression of the general philosophy of Islam which adopts a moderate and effective course between the Individual and Society.

In conclusion, we mention a calling by Allah, Almighty (what means): “O You who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from grievous suffering [in this world and in the life to come)? You are to believe in Allah and His Messenger and strive hard in Allah’s cause with your possessions and your lives: this is for your own good – if you had known it.” [Qur’an, 61: 10-11]

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