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Zakaah: An Important pillar of Islam

Jumuah Earmark: 20 July 2012

“And take charity from their wealth, so that you (O Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) may purify and sanctify them.” (9:103)

“Truly those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and establish Salaah, And pay Zakaah, they will have their reward with their Rabb. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (2:277)

• Zakaah is one of the pillars of Islam, as Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) mentioned in the famous narration, ‘Islam is founded upon five pillars: Bearing testimony that there is none worthy of worship besides Allah and that Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is the messenger of Allah, establishment of Salaah, payment of Zakaah, performance of Hajj and fasting during Ramadhan.’ (Bukhari #8 & Muslim #16)

• In several places in the Noble Qur’an (approximately 82), Allah has made mention of the commandment to establish Salaah together with that of Zakaah. Its importance can thus be understood. It is for this very same reason that Hazrat Abu Bakr (Radhiyallahu Anhu) was prepared to wage war against those who were not willing to pay their Zakaah after the demise of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). He exclaimed, ‘By the oath of Allah! I will fight with those that make a distinction between Salaah and Zakaah.’ (Bukhari #6526). Ibnu Abbas (Radhiyallahu Anhu) said that these two orders of Allah are mentioned together and he who performs Salaah and but does pay Zakaah, his Salaah will not be accepted from him.

• Zakaah is form of worship rather than a tax levy. It is not a tax harshly removed from the pockets of people; rather it is a sign of the human instinct of helping those in need of the basic necessities of life. This beautiful pillar of Islam manifests its way in society in the most appropriate ways. A society can only flourish when the excess of those who have is used to assists those are in need, thus creating a balance in society.

• This injunction of Allah purifies one’s wealth as well as inner self. Allah says in the Noble Qur’an, “And take charity from their wealth, so that you (O Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) may purify and sanctify them.” (9:103). Giving of Zakaah removes miserliness from a person and creates generosity. Furthermore, it serves as means of purifying one’s income from any taint in the form of acquisition through trade or otherwise.

• Those who are unmindful of discharging their Zakaah are severely reprimanded by Allah in the Qur’an and are warned against a severe punishment. A verse is Surah Taubah reads, “And those who hoard gold and silver and do not spend them in the way of Allah, announce unto them a painful torment.” (9:34)

• Whoever leaves a treasure of wealth behind after passing away, on which the dues of Zakaah have not been paid; on the Day of Resurrection his wealth will take the form of a bald-headed poisonous male snake with two black spots over its eyes. The snake will follow him, and he will say, ‘Woe to you! Who are you?’ The snake will say, ‘I am your treasure that you left behind,’ and it will keep following him until the man gives it his hand; the snake will devour it and then devour his entire body. (Tafseer Ibn Kathir)
A narration of Bukhari states:
Hazrat Abu Hurairah (Radiyallahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “The person who Allah gives wealth but he does not pay the Zakaat due on it, on the Day of Resurrection his wealth will take the form of a bald-headed poisonous male snake with two black spots over its eyes which will be put around his neck. Then it will take hold of both his jaws and say to him, ‘I am your property; I am your treasure.’ He (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) then recited, ‘Let not those who hoard up what Allah has bestowed upon them think … to the end of the Ayah.” (Bukhari #1403)
•    Virtue of giving Zakaah
 “That which you give in usury, in order that it may increase on (other) people’s property has no increase with Allah, but that which you give as Sadaqah (Zakaat etc.), seeking Allah’s Countenance, has increase manifold. (Ar Rum V.39)
Hazrat Abdullah Ibnu Abbas (Radhiyallahu Anhuma) says: "When the Ayat meaning: ‘and those who hoard gold and silver…’was revealed, the Sahabah (Radhiyallahu Anhum) felt greatly concerned; so Hazrat Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) said that he would solve their difficulty. He, therefore, went and told Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) that the Sahabah were upset by the Ayat. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, "Allah Ta’ala has made Zakaat obligatory in order to purify the property that remains with you after payment of Zakaat; and the procedure for inheritance exists in order that property should remain with those who inherit it after you. Upon this, Hazrat Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) said, "Allahu-Akbar (Allah is great)" with joy. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) then added, "Shall I not inform you about the best thing a man can keep as a treasure?" It is a woman of virtue who pleases her husband when he looks at her, obeys him when he asks her to do a thing and guards his things (also her virtue) when he goes away from her". (Mishkaat from Sunan Abi Dawood)

• Zakaah is paid at 2.5% of the assets that a person owns. Allah has given us so much of wealth and we are asked to return merely 2.5% of that wealth in the path of Allah. Let us not focus on how much we are giving, rather let us consider how much we have.

• Whilst Zakaah is the pillar of Islam and compulsory, we should not forget the optional charity, commonly known as Lillah or Sadaqah. Allah loves those that give charity and rewards them accordingly. In Surah Al Baqarah, Allah says, ‘The parable of those who spend their substance in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whomsoever He pleases. And Allah cares for all and He knows all things.’ (2:261)

Darul Ihsan Centre

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