Impact of Zakat on the Muslim

There is no doubt that Zakat (obligatory charity) has a great impact on both the person who pays it, and on the society as a whole. Among its impacts are the following:

It purifies the person who gives it from sins and acts of disobedience he committed; Allah Says (what means): {Take, [O Muhammad sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention) ], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase.}[Quran 9:103]. Moreover, it is confirmed that the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention) said: “Charity wipes out the sin exactly as water extinguishes the fire.” [At-Tirmithi]

It results in the increase and blesses of the money; linguistically, Zakat means to bless, increase, or purify. Allah Says (what means): {But whatever thing you spend [in His cause] – He will compensate it; and He is the best of providers.}[Quran 34:39]. Besides, it is confirmed that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention) said: “I swear by Allah on the following three things: ….(and he mentioned) charity does not decrease the wealth of the person who gives it.” [At-Tirmithi]

It fulfills the need of the needy; this leads to the spread of security in the society, as theft and robbery will decrease. It also means harmony in the society.

The above are some fruits yielded by the payment of Zakat, and whoever wants to find out more in this regard may refer to the books of the scholars may Allah have mercy upon them on this subject.

Allah Knows best.

*What do you think about this topic? Please tell me what you think in the comment section below.
*Hit the like button if you think this post is useful.
*Support this da’wah effort by following my blog.

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]

*What do you think about this topic? Please tell me what you think in the comment section below.
*Hit the like button if you think this post is useful.
*Support this da’wah effort by following my blog

Zakat + Sadaqah: The Productive Investment of a Lifetime

What if I told you about an offer where you can get the product, plus double your money back, plus extra prizes? What would you do? You’d probably immediately text all your friends to tell them about it and then rush down to the shop to make the purchase.

While many of us tend to chase after special offers and reduced prices in this dunya (world), we often overlook the fact that Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) has offered us an even better deal that will benefit us both in this dunya and the akhirah (hereafter). What deal am I talking about? Sadaqah (voluntary charity).

The following points show how this noble act can increase our productivity in this life and in preparing for the next.

1. Sadaqah is a guaranteed investment.
‘Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan which Allah will double unto his credit and multiply it many times?’ [2:245].

The above verse teaches us that by generously giving to the poor and needy, Allah will increase our wealth and blessings in this life, wipe out sin, increase reward and provide shade on the Day of Judgment and more insha’Allah!

What more could we ask for? Money back, profit, good health, barakah (blessings) in our wealth, shade on the Day of Judgement, sadaqah is definitely the best investment for our dunya and akhirah.

Forget special offers, reduced prices and buy one get one free deal – a productive Muslim knows the ultimate best way to spend his/her wealth – in the way of Allah.

2. Sadaqah is a means of gaining barakah in your wealth.
It may be hard for us to give sadaqah when we are barely able to make ends meet. However, it is reported in Sahih Muslim that the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

Charity does not decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect; and the one who shows humility, Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people).”


”There is not a day in which the obedient slaves rise in the morning except that two angels descend, and one of them says: ‘O Allaah! Compensate the one who spends.’ The other angel says: ‘O Allaah! Destroy the wealth of the one who is niggardly.”

If we truly believe and apply these hadiths, we will come to learn that we can never lose from giving sadaqah, but instead, we gain immensely from it.

However, gaining from sadaqah may not always be in a physical form. When we give sadaqah, it doesn’t necessarily mean that our salaries will increase or we will miraculously stumble upon a goldmine. It may mean that Allah will put barakah into our wealth and possessions instead. By regularly giving sadaqah, we will quickly notice that although we are still spending the same amount of money on the same expenses, we will still have plenty of left insha’Allah.

Giving sadaqah can also put barakah in our time and personal matters. We may find that after giving sadaqah, Allah will ease all our affairs.

If you have been trying to save up for something, or if you have debt that you haven’t been able to repay, or if you have a goal that you just haven’t been able to achieve; as a productive Muslim you should set aside a portion of your salary every month for sadaqah – even if it’s a very small amount. The difference it will make in your life will be worth it insha’ Allah.

3. Sadaqah serves as a means of reaping continuous rewards after your death.
When we work for something that will grant us benefit in this worldly life (e.g. a promotion, etc.), we tend to put in a lot of time, effort and sometimes money in order to achieve our goals.

A productive Muslim does the same for the akhirah. He/she invests time, hard work and money in activities that will bring great reward, and some that will continue to benefit him even after death.

Why not invest money in building a mosque, digging a well, opening a school, planting a tree or any other form of sadaqah jariyah (ceaseless charity)?

“When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased)” [Muslim].

If you’ve provided money to build a well, you will be rewarded for every single drop of water drunk from it while you’re alive and after your death until the Day of Judgment insha’Allah. If you contribute to building a mosque, you will be rewarded for every single prayer performed in it. If you put in the time and effort to teach someone Qur’an or some form of knowledge, you will be rewarded every time that person recites the Qur’an or shares the knowledge with someone else.

SubhanAllah. Imagine the reward you will find reserved for you in the akhirah, perhaps it will take you to higher and higher stations of Jannah by His Mercy!

Sadaqah is a special offer from Allah that stands as long as we’re alive. Make sadaqah a productive habit this Ramadan, and a habit throughout your life before it’s too late!

”And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous; Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good” [3:133-134]

May Allah, The Most Generous, make us from those who give regular sadaqah and may He accept it from us. Ameen.

*What do you think about this topic? Please tell me what you think in the comment section below.
*Hit the like button if you think this post is useful.
*Support this da’wah effort by following my blog

The Third Pillar of Islam: Compulsory Charity (Zakat)

An introduction to the third pillar of Islam, the compulsory charity or zakat, the spiritual dimensions of zakat and charity, and how Islam views money in general.

Charity is not just recommended by Islam, it is required of every financially stable Muslim. Giving charity to those who deserve it is part of Muslim character and one of the Five Pillars of Islamic practice. Zakat is viewed as “compulsory charity”; it is an obligation for those who have received their wealth from God to respond to those members of the community in need. Devoid of sentiments of universal love, some people know only to hoard wealth and to add to it by lending it out on interest. Islam’s teachings are the very antithesis of this attitude. Islam encourages the sharing of wealth with others and helps people to stand on their own and become productive members of society.

In Arabic, it is known as zakat which literally means “purification”, because zakat is considered to purify one’s heart of greed. Love of wealth is natural and it takes a firm belief in God for a person to part with some of his wealth. Zakat must be paid on different categories of property — gold, silver, money; livestock; agricultural produce; and business commodities — and is payable each year after one year’s possession. It requires an annual contribution of 2.5 percent of an individual’s wealth and assets.

Like prayer, which is both an individual and communal responsibility, zakat expresses a Muslim’s worship of and thanksgiving to God by supporting those in need. In Islam, the true owner of things is not man, but God. Acquisition of wealth for its own sake, or so that it may increase a man’s worth, is condemned. Mere acquisition of wealth counts for nothing in the sight of God. It does not give a man any merit in this life or in the hereafter. Islam teaches that people should acquire wealth with the intention of spending it on their own needs and the needs of others.

“‘Man’, said the Prophet, ‘says: My wealth! My wealth!’ Have you not any wealth except that which you give as alms and thus preserve, wear and tatter, eat and use up?”

The whole concept of wealth is considered in Islam as a gift from God. God, who provided it to the person, made a portion of it for the poor, so the poor have a right over one’s wealth. Zakat reminds Muslims that everything they have belongs to God. People are given their wealth as a trust from God, and zakat is intended to free Muslims from the love of money. The money paid in zakat is not something God needs or receives. He is above any type of dependency. God, in His boundless mercy, promises rewards for helping those in need with one basic condition that zakat is paid in the name of God; one should not expect or demand any worldly gains from the beneficiaries nor aim at making one’s name as a philanthropist. The feelings of a beneficiary should not be hurt by making him feel inferior or reminding him of the assistance.

Money given as zakat can only be used for certain specific things. Islamic Law stipulates that alms are to be used to support the poor and the needy, to free slaves and debtors, as specifically mentioned in the Quran (Surah at-Taubah [9]:  verse 60). Zakat, which developed fourteen hundred years ago, functions as a form of social security in a Muslim society.

Neither Jewish nor Christian scriptures praise slave manumission by raising it to worship. Indeed, Islam is unique in world religions in requiring the faithful to financially help slaves win their freedom and has raised the manumission of a slave to an act of worship – if it is done to please God.

Under the caliphates, the collection and expenditure of zakat was a function of the state. In the contemporary Muslim world, it has been left up to the individual, except in some countries in which the state fulfills that role to some degree. Most Muslims in the West disperse zakat through Islamic charities, mosques, or directly giving to the poor. Money is not collected during religious services or via collection plates, but some mosques keep a drop box for those who wish it to distribute zakat on their behalf. Unlike the zakat, giving other forms of charity in private, even in secret, is considered better, in order to keep one’s intended purely for God.

Apart from zakat, the Quran and Hadith (sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him) also stress sadaqah, or voluntary almsgiving, which is intended for the needy. The Quran emphasizes feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, helping those who are in need, and the more one helps, the more God helps the person, and the more one gives, the more God gives the person. One feels he is taking care of others and God is taking care of him.

*What do you think about this topic? Please tell me what you think in the comment section below.
*Hit the like button if think this post is useful.
*Support this da’wah effort by following my blog.

What Can 2.5% Do?

How much can Zakat help the poor people of the world? Let’s find out.

I’m sure you’ve heard of Bill Gates. Most likely, you are currently using at least one of the products his company, Microsoft has produced. He is one of the richest men in the world, currently worth $99 billion. Now, just imagine if he gave away 2.5% of his money to the poor people of America. How many people could that help?

Zakat of 2.5% Could Probably Change The World

You can probably imagine how much good would come to the world if the wealthy gave part of their fortune to the poor. This generosity would improve national economies, reduce crime, and bring better opportunities for all.

And that’s the beauty of Zakat. From the example above, you can see that Zakat is more than just a tax. And it’s more than charity. Zakat is a tool that fosters social harmony and justice.

For the wealthy, Zakat purifies their wealth and brings humility and gratitude. For the poor, Zakat brings hope and satisfaction and removes enmity for the rich.

Two Types of Zakat

There are two types of Zakat. The first type, the one most people are familiar with and the example used above is called Zakat al-Mal (wealth). The second one is Zakat al-Fitr.

Zakat al-Mal
Zakat al-Mal is paid on accumulated wealth over a year. So it’s not based on earnings like income tax. Instead, the amount to be paid is based on whatever amount of wealth a person has in their possession. This would usually entail savings, gold and silver jewelry, stocks, produce, cash, livestock, etc.

Muslims then must pay 2.5% of this accumulated wealth as Zakat. But not all Muslims are required to pay Zakat. Those people that fall below a certain wealth threshold, called Nisab, are excused.

Zakat al-Fitr
The other type of Zakat is Zakat al-Fitr. This must be paid by all Muslims with enough food for one day. The amount to be paid for Zakat al-Fitr is much lower than Zakat al-Mal. Zakat al-Fitr is paid by the head of the household on behalf of all family members, both young and old. The amount for Zakat al-Fitr varies, but it most similar to the price of food for one day.

There is profound wisdom in these two types of mandatory charity. Zakat al-Mal is paid by the wealthy to the poor and needy. But Zakat al-Fitr as paid by all, both rich and poor. Because of this, even the poor earn reward for giving in charity, and they also have a chance to help those who are even more in need.

Who Receives The Zakat?

Zakat cannot be paid to just any charitable cause. The recipients of Zakat are made clear in both the Quran and the statements of Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him.

Zakat can be given to people in the following categories:

  1. The Poor – Those who are definitely poor and ask for help
  2. The Needy – Those who are poor, but do not ask for help
  3. Those employed to administer the Zakat
  4. Newly converted Muslims
  5. Slaves
  6. Those in debt
  7. Wayfarers – Travelers who are cut off from their own resources
  8. Those in the path of Allah – Muslims who are fighting or teaching for Allah
    Of course, it is permissible to give charity to causes or organizations beyond those listed above. Muslims are encouraged to give voluntary charity, or sadaqah, whenever they can. But only those who fit into the above categories can actually receive the yearly Zakat payments.

Zakat is an Obligation on All Muslims

Finally, I must make it clear that Zakat is an obligation. Those who can pay the Zakat, and deliberately neglect it, are committing a major sin and may fall out of Islam.

In fact, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was the first Caliph of the Muslim world after the death of Prophet Muhammad. However, some of the tribes that were originally aligned with the Muslims refused to pay the Zakat when Abu Bakr became the leader. Abu Bakr gathered his army and went to war with these tribes until they submitted and resumed paying Zakat.

This story should make it clear how important the Zakat is in Islam. How about calculating how much Zakat would have to give to the poor and needy?

*What do you think about this topic? Please tell me what you think in the comment section below.
*Hit the like button if think this post is useful.
*Support this da’wah effort by following my blog.

Charitable Organizations Are Indispensable.

Charitable organizations are such organizations that foster charitable activities in an organized and voluntary way, with ethical and non-profit motives. These are the features and characteristics that distinguish charitable organizations from governmental institutions of social solidarity and other society-service organizations.

zakat-house-pride-for-kuwait-its-people-awqaf-ministerServices provided by charitable organizations aim at the general welfare of humanity. They provide help for the poor and the needy, healthcare for the sick, condolences for the aged, housing for the indigents, schools for the students of knowledge, and workshops for unemployed persons to work at or dedicate endowments to encourage scholars and scientific discoveries. These activities, in addition to the role of the governments, are indispensable in civilized societies to face the necessary needs of the society and its development.

This introduction is necessary to understand the role of charitable organizations in general. As for charitable organizations in Islam, they are inseparable parts of the Muslim community because they are deeply rooted in its heritage, values, and principles. Thus, charitable institutions are indispensable due to the reasons discussed herewith.

The Value of Charities
Muslims are committed individually and collectively by an explicit Quranic text to give part of their wealth in charity every year. This wealth may be in the form of trade, agriculture, animals, or metals. Almighty Allah says (which means):

“And those in whose wealth there is a known right, for the beggar who asks and for the unlucky who has lost his property and wealth.” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Ma’arij, verse 24-25]

As such, charitable giving is a duty, rather than just a voluntary act.

Zakat is the third pillar of Islam, after the testimony of the Oneness of Allah and the performance of Prayer. This is the first thing that those who question the role of these organizations have to understand. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions applied this by establishing endowments for the benefit of the needy and wayfarers. Malik (may Allah have mercy with him) said: “These are their endowments (indicating to their endowments in Medina.)”

d27df689b14623e710ab181b20b583dfee3ee6a0Muslims have followed their example throughout history. There have been a variety of endowments thereafter; and with their funds, great universities and hospitals were established to take care of orphans, widows and the destitute. This is well-documented in Islamic history and Europeans knew of endowments through their contact with Muslims in the Middle Ages. Such a provision for the needy in Islam has created a relationship of solidarity between the rich and poor classes of society. This has historically driven away from the ghost of revolution, which continues to plague other societies that fail to give due attention to charitable activities.

Charitable deeds have deep roots in Islamic history and have been an element of stability and equilibrium in Islamic society. As charitable organizations work in full transparency and deal with the public, they can never deviate from their course; just as good cannot turn to evil. Such trustworthy organizations add value to a stable society.

Charitable organizations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as in other countries, have undertaken promising services for the benefit of Muslims and non-Muslims. These services include curing the sick, teaching the ignorant, arranging workshops for the unemployed and cooperating with Western charitable organizations that attest to their success in the field of humanitarian work in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Africa.

It is worth mentioning here that such humanitarian services are still unfortunately subject to suspicion on the basis of racial prejudice. Arguably if an individual in society goes astray, it is that individual who should be held responsible for their actions. However, in the current climate, all Islamic organizations (charitable included), and indeed the whole Muslim nation or Islam itself, is being held responsible for the acts of the few. This ‘quick to generalize’ attitude cannot be anything but unjust, because it is not based on accurate information. It is just a form of conjecture and surmises that practices the habit of impugning Islam and Muslims, conducted by organizations that have unambiguous and identifiable goals and ends.

The Muslim response to such conjecture should not be to cut back in charitable activities or to shun goodness, but instead, we should form charitable institutions of obvious and constructive goals that benefit the society. Initiatives such as Prince Abdullah’s charitable institution for the provision of suitable housing and Prince Sultan’s city for humanitarian services give the practical response to the unjust campaign against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

We must ask, how can Islamic charitable activities be under such scrutiny and accusation from the West whose effective leader, the United States of America, itself brags about its pioneering role in charitable activity? In 1989 charitable institutions grew to over 32,000 institutions with assets of 137 billion dollars. Rockefeller 1902, Karnigy 1906, Ford 1936, and Johnson 1936 are just some of the ancient institutions that engage in different fields of humanitarian activities including education, health care, and preaching. The US federal government encourages these global institutions by exempting them from taxes, yet fails to place any basic trust in international Islamic charities.

imageIt cannot be denied that charitable activities and institutions are indispensable. Contrary to any rumors, they provide elements of stability and balance. Moreover, they are a kind of worship and a translation of the message of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that has come to worship the True God through the true religion and to establish mercy with people. Hence, these institutions should keep working actively in full transparency and unambiguous clarity so as to prove to the whole world the originality of charitable activities in these and other Muslim countries. We must remove ourselves from any doubts and false accusation of terrorism that sham propaganda perpetuates, not only against charitable institutions but also against Islam itself.

Taken with slight changes from

Zakat: Connecting Humanity..

The Muslim contribution to life is open, without limits: he gives of his effort, his mind, his knowledge, his status, and his money. The Prophet (peace be on him) said:

“Every Muslim must perform a charity.” They asked, “Messenger of God, what if a person cannot find anything to give?” He answered, “He should work with his hands to benefit himself and give in charity.” “And what if he could not find that?” they asked again. “He should assist an aggrieved person in need.” “And what if he could not do that?” “Then he should do good and refrain from evil – that would be his charity.” [Related by al-Bukhari]

Zakat regulates the wealth contribution in its minimum, making it a religious obligation from which the individual cannot free himself or take concessions since it is the right of society to be devoted to the benefit of the needy and disabled individuals and classes.

In its proper sense, zakat is a practical manifestation of the brotherhood between the faithful and establishes mutual solidarity between them by the firm bond it creates between rich and poor, in a way that strengthens the individual’s sense of relation to the community and the community’s awareness of the value of the individual, and that it is strengthened by his strength and weakened by his weakness.

An analysis of zakat in the Islamic system reveals its various functions in a Muslim society:

(a) a religious function: In this respect zakat is a manifestation of the faith that affirms that God is the sole owner of everything in the universe, and what men hold is a trust in their hand over which God made them trustees to discharge it as He has laid down: “Believe in Allah and His Messenger and spend of that over which He made you trustees” [Al-Quran, Surah al-Hadid, verse 7]. It is also an expression of gratitude towards the Bestower Who said: “If you give thanks, I will give you more.” [Al-Quran, Surah Ibrahim, verse 7) In this respect zakat is an act of devotion which, like prayer, brings the believer nearer to his Lord, and being one of the pillars of religion, avoidance of payment is a manifestation of shirk (serving other gods besides God).

(b) an economic function: Its economic function is revealed in many ways: firstly, zakat gives a strong incentive for investing wealth for the benefit of society and makes us refrain from hoarding it. When the amount reaches the taxable minimum and has been possessed for a whole year, zakat falls due on it whether it has been invested or not. Those who do not invest their wealth expose it to the continuous reduction of at least 2.5% annually. Gradually it will be removed from their possession to be used for the benefit of society.

Apart from this, zakat is a means of compulsory redistribution of wealth in a way that reduces differences between classes and groups, thus preventing the many social disorders from which Communist and Western societies alike suffer, no less than contemporary Muslim societies that have neglected zakat. Moreover, zakat is a means of establishing justice indirectly. It rectifies whatever wrongs, injustices or means of exploitation in trading and industrial relations that have arisen. This may explain the fact that it is called a “right” rather than “charity”, or an act of beneficence. Zakat also facilitates the proper direction of purchasing power in society. It transfers part of the power of consumption, which may be used extravagantly to fulfill a proper function in the lives of those who need it.

(c) a social function: Zakat makes a fair contribution to social stability. By purging the soul of the rich of selfishness and the soul of the poor of envy and resentment against society, it stops up the channels leading to class hatred and makes it possible for the springs of brotherhood and solidarity to gush forth. Such stability is not merely based on the personal feelings of the rich: it stands on a firmly established right, which, if the rich denied it, would be exacted by force if necessary.

Zakat Solutions
Zakat is not used merely to meet the present needs of the poor and needy but serves other functions that deeply affect social life. As the Quran laid down, it solves the following problems:

(i) The problem of freedom, by assisting slaves seeking their freedom to attain it (slavery was an established system in the world at the time the Quran was revealed).

(ii) The problem of indebtedness which threatens an individual with bankruptcy, hardship, stress, humiliation or loss of good name, whether caused by the necessities of life or fluctuation in the market resulting in hardship to a good producer or an honest merchant. The Quran allows a portion of the zakat fund to solve such problems of indebtedness – a better solution than any contemporary system of insurance, as it is more positive and more in line with true cooperation and social solidarity.

(iii) The problem of defense and security of Muslim land against external threat and such matters as may be related to struggle in the cause of God.

(iv) The need of those who are away from their home seeking knowledge or a lawful livelihood and have not attained a settled life yet – the Quran devotes a portion of the zakat fund to meet their need.

All this is contained in the Quranic verse that specifies the items upon which zakat should be expended, and recipients of the fund:

“The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those employed in collecting them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the slaves and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarer, a duty enjoined by Allah; Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” [Al-Quran, Surah At-Taubah, verse 60]

In its lexical definition zakat means “purity” and “growth”, in both of which we can perceive its religious connotations: it purges society of destructive afflictions and causes human and social virtues to grow, leading to sound social relations, peace, and stability.

In this light, we can understand the position taken by Abu Bakr, the first Khalifa (may God be pleased with him) in the face of the first attempt to suspend the payment of zakat by those who refused to pay it. He used the Muslim army to uphold this social right and compelled the recalcitrant faction to pay the community wealth tax, asserting a principle in which he was following the Prophet,

“I swear by God, if they refuse to pay to me even a small piece of robe which they used to pay to the Messenger of God, I would fight them for it.” [Related by al-Bukhari].

Taken with slight changes from

Zakat leads to Universal Growth and Development

وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلِ الْعَفْوَ

[Al-Baqarah: verse 19]
Meaning: And they ask you as to what they should spend [in God’s cause]. Say: “Whatever you can spare.”

Allama Iqbal explains the global context of this verse:

The meaning is hidden in the words قُلِ الْعَفْوَIts reality might get revealed in this age! Believers are those who act on the above divine command.

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِلزَّكَاةِ فَاعِلُونَ

[Al-Mu’minun: verse 4]
Meaning: And they who are observant of zakat

They follow a program which ensures that the means of development are continuously available for the humankind. Thus, they achieve true success:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

[Al-Mu’minun: verse 1]
Meaning: Truly, to a happy state shall attain the believers.

These people accept the truthfulness of divine commands and the implementation of which they make the ultimate aim and mission of their lives. A society built on the foundation of قُلِ الْعَفْوَ benefits all:

أَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَسَالَتْ أَوْدِيَةٌ بِقَدَرِهَا فَاحْتَمَلَ السَّيْلُ زَبَدًا رَّابِيًا ۚ وَمِمَّا يُوقِدُونَ عَلَيْهِ فِي النَّارِ ابْتِغَاءَ حِلْيَةٍ أَوْ مَتَاعٍ زَبَدٌ مِّثْلُهُ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَضْرِبُ اللَّـهُ الْحَقَّ وَالْبَاطِلَ ۚ فَأَمَّا الزَّبَدُ فَيَذْهَبُ جُفَاءً ۖ وَأَمَّا مَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَضْرِبُ اللَّـهُ الْأَمْثَالَ  

[Ar-Ra’d: verse 17]
Meaning: He sends down water from the sky, and [once-dry] river-beds are running high according to their measure, the stream carries scum on its surface; and, likewise, from that [metal] which they smelt in the fire in order to make ornaments or utensils, [there rises] scum. In this way does God set forth the parable of truth and falsehood: for, as far as the scum is concerned, it passes away as [does all] dross; but that which is of benefit to humanity abides on earth. In this way does God set forth the parables.

The system in which everyone works for the benefit of entire humankind will be stable and stay forever. It stays because of its own intrinsic strength and power.

On the contrary, that system in which everyone works for one’s own individual benefit does not have stability and the ability to stay—no matter how much tinkering or patch-up job is done to save it.

قُلْ هَلْ نُنَبِّئُكُم بِالْأَخْسَرِينَ أَعْمَالًا ; الَّذِينَ ضَلَّ سَعْيُهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ يُحْسِنُونَ صُنْعًا ; أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ وَلِقَائِهِ فَحَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ فَلَا نُقِيمُ لَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَزْنًا

[Al-Kahf: verses 103-105]
Meaning: Ask them: “Should Allah tell you about those who act in such a manner that all their actions go waste. They are those who waste their efforts in the pursuit of only the life of the present in the mistaken belief that what they do is absolutely right. These are the people who reject Allah’s law of accountability of their Sustainer and do not believe that they have to face it one day. All their efforts shall go waste so much so that no weight shall be attached to it on the Day of Reckoning. Hell shall be their recompense because they refuse to believe in Allah’s commands and treated Allah’s messengers with scorn.”

As Joad has said:

“A society whose members aim at wealth, power, fame and social position is a society whose values are inconsistent with stability and contentment, since where men value as ends in themselves goods which are limited and dividing, the possessors will be few and the deprived many, with the result that many will be restless and disappointed.” [C. E. M. Joad, Decadence, p.328]

The Quran further explains:

بَلْ تُؤْثِرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا ; وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ

[Surah Al-A’la: verse 16-17]
Meaning: But you prefer the worldly life, While the Hereafter is better and more enduring. Indeed, this is in the former scriptures,

You give preference to the worldly gains of this physical life, although future gains would be better and everlasting. In other words, when you have to choose between the materialistic way of life and a way life based on the universal development of all humankind, then the proper behavior would be the preservation of the latter. Material needs should be sacrificed for a higher purpose in life. This will nourish and develop the human soul, and future life in the Hereafter would be successful.

Thus, according to the Quran, an ideology based on the welfare of the individual is shortsighted and doomed to perish, while the one based on the welfare of the entire humankind is just and will stay forever.

The Quran does not advocate this ideology based on emotion or blind faith. The Quran provides objective proof for every claim it makes. So, why is an ideology based on the welfare of an individual or a family, or a race, or a nation wrong while the one based on universal welfare right? This is so because of the conflict between truth and falsehood, the negative forces pass away like scum but that which is beneficial for the humanity endures. This is how Allah explains His laws by means of analogies (Refer Al-Quran 13:39. 21:18, 42:24).

If human beings lived only at the animal level, then it would have been acceptable to look for one’s own self-interest. Eating, drinking, and the pursuit of happiness from material things in life would have been their goal. However, life at the human level is different from the animal level. Animals do not have a sense of tomorrow or future.  This distinguishes human beings from everything else in the universe. The human body in this world, which is a vehicle for the “soul,” is left behind while the soul journeys on to another dimension, which the Quran calls Ha-yaatul Aakhira.

The Quran is very clear on this point.

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُدْخِلُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يَتَمَتَّعُونَ وَيَأْكُلُونَ كَمَا تَأْكُلُ الْأَنْعَامُ وَالنَّارُ مَثْوًى لَّهُمْ

[Surah Muhammad: verse 12]
Meaning: Indeed, Allah will admit those who have believed and done righteous deeds to gardens beneath which rivers flow, but those who disbelieve enjoy themselves and eat as grazing livestock eat, and the Fire will be a residence for them.

The essential aspect of Allah’s association, help, and support is that as a result of their Iman and righteous deeds, He will bestow on them a blissful heavenly life the freshness of which will never fade. However, for people who deny the truth and think that life means only physical existence in this world, there is no difference between their lives and that of animals. Like the animals, they eat, drink and enjoy life (and then die). The result of this concept of life is nothing but death and destruction (of human dignity).

Taken with slight changes from

The Wisdom Of Giving

Wealth is something that is desired by humans. In attaining wealth, at times friends become foes. Because of wealth, siblings would turn against each other. Due to the greed for wealth, one forgets about halal and haram. While engrossed in attaining wealth, the ibadah (worship) unto Allah gets neglected. These are among the challenges pertaining to wealth…….

Wealth is something that is desired by humans. In attaining wealth, at times friends become foes. Because of wealth, siblings would turn against each other. Due to the greed for wealth, one forgets about halal and haram. While engrossed in attaining wealth, the ibadah (worship) unto Allah gets neglected. These are among the challenges pertaining to wealth.

Verily, our wealth or rizq (provision) solely belongs to Allah, which has been predetermined when the soul was blown into the fetus inside the womb. Allah has granted responsibility upon those bestowed with wealth, that a portion of it is to be taken out for zakat, nafaqah (financial support) for the household, sadaqah (charity), orphans, and the need of the community, without delaying it until one become heedless and breathe his last, only to be left with regret. In a hadeeth of Rasulullah that was narrated by ‘Abdullah bin Shikhkhir, he stated that in reality, all wealth belongs to Allah, not mankind. He said:

“The son of Adam claims: “My wealth, my wealth!” O son of Adam, is there anything as your belonging except that which you consumed, which you utilized, or which you wore and then it was worn out or you gave as charity and sent it forward?”

There are many advantages for the one that makes infaq (charity) from his wealth even though it is deemed that the wealth reduces, but in reality, it is well compensated by Allah. Among the advantages is the increase in one’s rizq. Allah mentions (which means):

“Say, “Indeed, my Lord extends provision for whom He wills of His servants and restricts [it] for him. But whatever thing you spend [in His cause] – He will compensate it; and He is the best of providers.”” [Al-Quran, surah Saba’, verse 39].

This verse explains that Allah is The Almighty who can restrict or extend the rizq of His slaves. Whatever spent that is according to the command of Allah, will definitely be recompensed. Abu Hurayrah narrated in a hadith Qudsi that Rasulullah said (which means):

“Allah (Mighty and Sublime be He) said: Spend (on charity), O son of Adam, and I shall spend on you.” [Narrated by al-Bukhari]

Similarly with the mentioning in the hadith of Abu Hurayrah, where one day Rasulullah entered upon Bilal bin Rabah and saw a container filled with tamr (dates) that is kept by Bilal. He said (which means):

“Spend on it, O Bilal! And do not be afraid that it will be reduced by the possessor of the Throne.” [Narrated by at-Tabaraani]

In the hadith of Abu Hurayrah, Rasulullah said (which means):

“Every day two angels come down from Heaven and one of them says, ‘O Allah! Compensate every person who spends in Your Cause,’ and the other (angel) says, ‘O Allah! Destroy every miser.’” [Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim]

This means that the one who spends from his wealth as ibadah or to attain nearness to Allah with full sincerity, he will not take it as a loss, deficiency, and poverty. Such is the advantage of those making infaq of their wealth that they have full certainty upon the guarantee by Allah of increased rizq from unexpected sources.

Therefore, waqf (endowment) has become a medium for the Companions of the Prophet. Their virtuous practice of competing in making waqf is the direct effect from the teachings of the Prophet. Jaabir stated, “There is no one from among the Companions of Rasulullah who had wealth that did not make waqf.”

History has shown that the practice of giving waqf had existed since Rasulullah made Hijrah to Madinah, and it continued throughout the reign of the Khulafa’ ar-Rashidin, the Umayyads, the Abbassids, until the Ottomans. Waqf has become one of the most effective approaches in empowering the Muslim ummah, building public facilities, financing the health and education sector, as well as infrastructures within the city, and many other benefits gained from waqf funds.

itulun2For example, the Sultan ibn Tulun Hospital in Cairo that was built in the year 872 was the first hospital ever built from waqf fund and also fully administered by the waqf fund.

Courtyard-Al-Qarawiyyin-University-Fes.-Morocco-823x420Similarly with the University of al-Qarawiyyin in Morocco that was founded through waqf fund in 859, which was the first university established in the world and had produced prominent graduates such as ibn Rushd who was scholarly in philosophy and medicine. With that, Imam Malik stated,

“The latter part of this Ummah will not be rectified except by that which rectified its earliest part.”

Alhamdulillah, we are truly grateful to Allah who had bestowed upon us multitudes of provisions. Therefore, after fulfilling our zakat obligation and completing the nafaqah for the household, let us spend a portion of our income as waqf in attaining nearness to Allah and increasing our righteous deeds as provision for the Hereafter. It is befitting for us to take heed from a hadith of the Prophet that was narrated by Abu Barzah al-Aslami, where the Prophet said (which means):

“The feet of a slave will not move on the Day of Judgment until he has been questioned about [four things:] his life – how he spent it, his knowledge – how he acted upon it, his wealth – where he earned it and how he spent it, and his body – how he used it.” [Narrated by at-Tirmidhi]

To end this point, let us altogether ponder upon the following recommendations, which hopefully has many benefits for us all:

  1. The Muslim Ummah must have certainty upon the promise of Allah in bestowing rewards that are manifold and continuous to those that made infaq, for as long as it remains beneficial.
  2. The Muslim Ummah must have certainty that giving infaq will not cause the wealth to diminish, but instead, it will further increase.
  3. Muslims that have made infaq from their best and most beloved possession will be honored with the greatest appreciation by Allah.

Allah said (which means):

“Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” [Al-Quran, surah Ali-‘Imran, verse 92]