Table of Contents
Zakat: Introduction and Literal Meaning:
Zakaah literally means to purify and develop. In the terminology of Shari’ah it is the giving of specified wealth with specified conditions to the rightful ones.
Zakat is the name given in Islam to that portion of money or wealth which, as per Allah’s command is given to the poor and the needy.
The principle of this obligation is based on the premise that everything belongs to Allah; and we human beings are only trustees even of our own wealth.
Zakaah is one of the five main pillars of Islam. It is compulsory upon EVERYONE who fulfills its conditions, for Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) states;
“Then establish prayer and pay Zakaah and obey Allah and His Most Beloved Messenger (Salla Allahu Ta’ala alayhi wa Sallam) and Allah ta’ala is aware of what you do. ” Al-Qur’an : 58:13
“O believers! give something of your pure earnings and of what WE produce from the earth for you. ” Al-Qur’an : 2:267
The Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allahu Ta’ala alayhi wa Sallam) has stated :
Islam is based on five things
1. To testify that none is worthy of worship but Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) and Muhammad (Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam) is the Messenger of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala).
2. To establish Salaah.
3. To pay Zakaah.
4. To perform Hajj (pilgrimage).
5. To fast in the month of Ramadan.
Zakaah became compulsory in the second year of the migration. It is Wajib (compulsory) to pay it immediately. To delay its payment without reason is sinful and the testimony of such a person will not be accepted. Zakaah is not Wajib upon the Prophets (alaihis salaam) because all that they own is Wakf (religious endowment) on their behalf.
It is permissible to pay Zakaah before a year has passed on the wealth, even several years before, as long as he possesses the Nisaab (minimum amount of property liable to payment of the Zakaah) for which he is going to pay the Zakaah in advance.
Significance of Zakat:
Allah says in the Holy Quran: “And whatsoever you spend of anything (in the cause of Allah), He will replace it. He is the best of those who grant sustenance”. He further exhorts: Establish worship, pay the poor‑due (Zakat), and bow your heads with those who bow (in worship).”
Its importance can be realized from the fact that in 82 verses of the Holy Quran, Zakat is associated with prayer (Salah); such as, “Establish regular prayer and give Zakat; and obey Allah and His Messenger.” (Holy Quran, 33:33).
– Almighty Allah says :
1. ” And those in whose wealth there is a known right; for the one who asks help and for those who are deprived. “
2. ” Those, if We give them control on the land, they would establish prayer and pay the Zakaah and command good and forbid evil. And the consequence of all things is in the hands of Allah. “
The Blessed Prophet (Salla Allahi ‘alayhi wa ‘aalihi wa Sallam) stated, ” Whosoever gives alms equal to one date from his Halaal wealth, and Allah only accepts pure and Halaal items, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) takes it in His Hand and develops (cultivates) it, just like one of you brings up his colt (young-horse), until it is equal to a mountain. ” ( Bukhari )
In another Hadith it is stated that ” (Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) cultivates that morsal of Sadaqah) to such an extent that it develops into the equal of the Uhud mountain. ”
Warning for those who do not pay Zakat:
” And those who are miser in what has been
given to them by Allah, by His grace, should not think that it is good for
them; on the contrary it is bad for them. The riches they have piled up shall
become their necklace on the Day of Judgement. ” Al-Qur’an : 3:180
Those entitled to Zakaah:
It should be clarified that there are eight types of people who have the right to Zakaah, this is because Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) says :
“Zakaah is only for those who are poor and needy and those who are employed to administer it, and for those attracted to Islam, and for the freeing of slaves, and for debtors and for the cause of Allah and for the traveller. That is the duty enjoined by Allah, He is knowing, Wise. (Al-Quran 9 : 60)
1. Faqeer (poor) :
He who has some wealth but which is less than the Nisaab. It is better to give Sadaqah to a learned Faqeer than an ignorant. (al-Fatawa Aalamgiria)
2. Miskeen (needy) :
He who has nothing and must beg for food and clothes. For such a person asking for these items is halaal. (Kitaab al-Fiqh)
3. The workers of the Zakaah organisation :
Workers of Zakaah refers to those people whom the government appoints to adminster Zakaah. This includes people such as those who collect it, manage the organisation and the clerks in the Zakaah offices. Their wages can be taken out of the Zakaah even if they are wealth-owners. This is because they have given their time and thus must be compensated.
4. Those whose hearts are to be won over:
There are three types of this ;
i. Those people whom the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) wanted to come towards Islam.
ii. Those people who had accepted Islam but their faith was weak – the Noble Prophet (Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) used to give them Zakaah to strengthen their faith.
iii. Those who were given Zakaah so as to prevent Muslims becoming the subject of their evil.
Since the victory of Islam this entitlement has become nullified. This is proven by the Ijmaa of the Sahaaba (Ridwanallahi ta’ala alaih majmain) during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr (Radi Allahu ta’ala anhu). This is stated on ‘Hidaaya’.
Some Ulama (scholars) state that this item is still valid, for a Caliph of Islam may require to win over the hearts of the people. Hadrat Umar (Radi Allahu ta’ala anhu) seeing the strength of Islam, dismissed this item. Qadhi Ibn al-Arabi (rehmatullahi alaih) states that as Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has given Islam strength this item is redundant but when its need arises in the future it becomes valid and these people can be given Zakaah, a Hadith of the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) states, “Islam started of as poor and will return to the state it began.” (Qurtubi)
5. Slave :
Slave refers to a Muskatab slave, and Muskatab is that slave whose master has entered into a written contract that if the slave pays a certain amount (even if in installments) the slave will be freed. Such a slave will be given Zakaah so that he can meet his contractual installments.
Such a person who has debts but does not have enough wealth that after paying his debts he will have (wealth equal to) Nisaab.
7. Fi Sabeelillah (in the path of Allah)
This refers to the left behind Ghuzaat (singular Al-Ghazi: one who carries out a military expedition) and those doing Hajj (i.e. that person on whom Hajj became Fard but did not do it when he had the means to. But now he no longer has the means, he can be given enough in Zakaah so as he can fulfil his Fard of Hajj). Fatawa Zaheeriya states that only students of religion come into this category. Ruh al-Ma’aani also has this view.
8. Ibn as-Sabeel (the traveller) :
This means that a traveller who is travelling within Shari’ah (purpose of his journey is not contrary to Shari’ah). Such a traveller can be given Zakaah if during his journey he becomes needy, even if in his own domicile (home) he is wealthy.
Benefits of Zakat/How Zakat can solve Muslim world problems:
The beloved Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said about Zakat: Zakat is a (great and strong) bridge of Islam; If a man pays the Zakat due on his property, it causes its evil influence to vanish; Gains the pleasure of Allah; Increases wealth and protects from losses; Causes Allah’s forgiveness and blessings; Protection from the wrath of Allah and from a bad death; A shelter on the Day of Judgment; and Security from seventy misfortunes.
Zakat purifies wealth and soul:
It purifies the person from evil emotions such as selfishness and greed over wealth.
Any money given because Zakat becomes pure as it goes under the oath of Allah.
It also brings you closer to Allah and strengthens your faith in Islam.
Zakat ensures full social security in a society, giving is a demonstration of love and caring.
Zakat for improving society: (Zakat reduces class struggles)
Zakat improves relations between rich and poor.
When Muslims pay Zakat, the flow of money in the society stabilizes and become balanced.
Zakat to fight starvation
The Zakat due on agricultural products ranges from 5% to 10% of the produce. There is also Zakat due on various types of animals such as sheep, cows and camels.
Distribution of these agricultural products to hungry and starving people would resolve this problem.
In the system we have today, some nations intentionally spoil a part of their agricultural production in order to maintain high prices for their produce.
Zakat to fight poverty:
The foremost and primary is to distribute the wealth of the community amongst the poor, as mentioned in the famous Hadith of Mu’adh (Allah be pleased with him): “If they obey you to do so, then inform them that Allah has made it Fard upon them to pay Zakat from their wealth. It is to be taken from the wealthy amongst them and given to the poor amongst them.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no.1331)
Zakat is due at 2.5% on money that has been in one’s possession for over a year.
Now consider this simple fact: Forbes Magazine reported that in 2004 there were 587 billionaires worldwide, with a combined net worth of $1.9 trillion dollars. If in 2004 these 587 richest people in the world paid zakat, we would have had $47.5 billion dollars distributed among the poor.
Zakat as means to eliminate corruption:
Corruption is caused by greed of money. Zakat purifies soul from this lust.