[By Mufti Mohammad Nadeem uddin Qasmi]
Islam is the perfect and complete religion. And the religion of Peace and love, it emphasizes that Muslims should live in peace, love and harmony with each other. Therefore, the importance of the charity was mentioned many times in Qur’an and Hadith, and it was obliged on every Muslim those who are wealthy enough in the form of Zakat. We all should know about its importance, benefits and misconceptions about it.
THE MEANING OF ZAKAT
The Literal meaning of Zakat is: to grow and purify.
Zakat in the context of the Shariah means: A fixed amount of to be paid at a specified period to certain groups of people.
The Importance of Zakat
It is mentioned alongside Salah in 82 verses of the Qur’an. Allah the Almighty said: “those who collect and withhold the Zakat and don’t give the right of poor. O Prophet! Inform them of a bad agony (Tawbah 34)
It is third pillar of Islam, as the Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Islam is built on five pillars:
1. Bearing witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and Mohammed (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is his servant and Messenger.
2 & 3. Performing Salah and Sawm
4. Paying Zakat
5. Performing Haj (Muslim)
Not only that but many times, the prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) emphasized on it:
• It is Narrated by Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu Anhu), the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “every day, the two angels come down from heaven, and one of them says: O Allah! Compensate every person who spends in your cause, and other says: Destroy every miser (Bukhari)
• Narrated by Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu Anhu): Allah’s apostle said: “who ever is made wealthy by Allah and does not pay the zakat of his wealth, then on the day of resurrection his wealth will be made like a bald headed poisonous male snake with two black spots over the eye, the snake will encircle his neck and bite his cheek and say “I am your wealth ,and I am your treasure. (Bukhari)
• Narrated by Abu Dhar (Radhiyallahu Anhu): Once I went to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and he said “By Allah in whose hands my life , whoever has camels or cows or sheeps and didn’t pay their zakat, those animals will be brought on the day of resurrection far bigger and fatter than before and they will trample him under their hooves and will poke him with their horns, when the last does its turn, the first will start again and this punishment will go on till Allah has finished the judgment among the people (Bukhari)
• Abu Bakr (Radhiyallahu Anhu) said “By Allah, if they pay me Zakat and withhold even which they used to pay during the life of Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) I will fight with them for it, ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) said “it was nothing but Allah who opened Abu Bakr’s chest towards the decision to fight, and I came to know that his decision was right.” (Bukhari)
There are many evidence to show that the Muslim must pay zakat to take care of needy people around the world.
HOW MUCH WE COLLECT THE WEALTH FOR ZAKAT?
The usual amount donated is 2.5% of total cumulative wealth in one lunar year.
What is Purpose of Zakat?
• The purpose of zakat is to create in society and never let a poor and needy to suffer or die.
• The basic purpose of zakat is to maintain economic balance in society so that circulation of wealth continues from rich to poor and never stay in one hand. In this way, we can overcome poverty and other evils from our society.
THE BENEFITS OF ZAKAT
The benefits of Zakat apart from obligation, it has many spiritual and worldly benefits, some are as follows:
1. It makes one reaches rank of perfect believer, The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself. he generally loves his wealth, he should also love to give it to his needy brothers. By doing so he will have perfect faith .
2. It is one of the cause of entering the Paradise, this is because, the prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Paradise is for those who use soft speech, spread the greeting of the Islam, feed the people and spend the night in voluntary prayer while the peoples are a sleep.” (TIRMIDHI)
3. It is a salvation from the intense heat of the day of resurrection. The prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Every man will be the in the shade of his Charity on the day of Resurrection.”(AHMAD)
4. It wards off an unpleasant death (TIRMIDHI)
5. It brings a servant close to his lord and increase his faith .
6. Allah removes the minor sins by giving Zakat as the prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallan) said giving charity wipes away sins just as water extinguishes the fire .
7. It helps in purification of the heart .
8. It helps Muslims to follow the honorable faith .
9. It helps in reducing the poverty from the society
10. Most important benefit of zakat is purification of halal money.
11. It cleans one’s character from being miser.
12. It makes Islamic society a single family in which rich helps the poor.
13. Sacrificing beloved thing (wealth and life etc) on the command of Allah and Prophet and obeying them.
Who is eligible to receive Zakat?
There are eight categories of people eligible to receive zakat they have been specified in the the Quran:
• Zakat is for the poor
• For miskin whose basic needs are met but their income does not take care of other important needs.
• For distributers and collectors of zakat .
• Muallaf: to come closer one who recently become Muslim.
• Riqab: one who wants to free himself from the bondage and shackles of slavery
• Gharimin: one who is in debt.
• Fi-Sabilillah: one who fights for cause of Allah.
• Ibnus sabil: one who is stranded in journey.
Misconceptions about Zakat
1. People often think that zakat is only to be paid in the month of Ramadan. it is not correct. Although, Ramadan is the month of blessings but after lapse of Islamic year zakat must be paid , whether it is month of Ramazan or any other month.
2. Another misconception is that it is only liable for gold or silver. it is wrong. The gold and silver are mentioned in the Qur’an and Hadith as a standard of a unit of measurement, therefore anything , whether it is cash, silver property or other assets worth the same amount as the gold mentioned by Islam is liable for Zakat.
Another misconception is that some people are making noise that the madaris are not liable to receive and be given zakat, it is only right of poor. This is incorrect, because many poor and needy students study in it. And Islamic teachings are published and studied day and night. Those who are against madaris, they should think and imagine about themselves, they are going against Islamic teachings.
We all Muslims must pay Zakat in every year and in this way we can eradicate poverty from our society. In the era of caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz (Rahmatullahi Alayh), it is said that the Zakat distributers travelled far and wide, but were unable to find anybody poor enough to receive the Zakat. This shows the true power of Zakat, therefore we must pay Zakat. May Allah give us tawfeeq. Aameen!