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Ahaadith on the Virtues of Zakaah

Aug 17, 2011

Ibne Abbas Radhiallaho anho says: "When the Ayat:

??????????? ????????? ????????? ???????????? ???? ?????????????? ??? ??????? ??????? ????????????? ????????? ???????

And those who hoard gold and silver…was revealed, the Sahabah Radhiallaho anhum felt greatly concerned; so Umar Radhiallaho anho said that he would solve their difficulty. He, therefore, went and told Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam that the Sahabah were upset by the Ayat. Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said, "Allah Ta’ala has made Zakaah obligatory in order to purify the property that remains with you after payment of Zakaah; and the procedure for inheritance exists in order that property should remain with those who inherit it after you.

Upon this, Umar Radhiallaho anho said, "Allaho-Akbar (Allah is great)" with joy. Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe 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".

Note: the ayah seems to mean that all manner of hoarding, however indispensable, shall be severely punished in the Hereafter; so the Sahabah Radhiallaho anhum were seriously upset because, sometimes, hoarding of money become indispensable; they feared lest they should find it difficult to fulfill this commandment, whereas obedience to Allah Ta’ala and to His Rasul Sallallaho alaihe wasallam was a matter of life and death for them. So, Umar Radhiallaho anho approached Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam to dispel their anxiety by explaining the Ayat.

Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam thereupon assured that Zakaah has been made obligatory in order to purify the property that remains with a person after paying what is due on it. This proves the admissibility of withholding money, because Zakaah falls due on the property that remains with a person for one complete year. If hoarding were disallowed in all circumstances, there would be no need to enjoin Zakaah.

The Hadith thus indicates the virtues of Zakaah. Apart from the reward one gets for performing it, Zakaah also purifies the remaining property. In the Holy Quraan, there is a clear reference to the purifying effect of Zakaah in the following Ayat:

???? ???? ????????????? ???????? ????????????? ?????????????? ????? ??????? ?????????? ????? ???????? ?????? ??????

"Take Sadaqah of their wealth, wherewith you may purify them (of the effect of sins)" (at-Taubah: 103)

A Hadith reports Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam as saying, "Pay Zakaah out of your wealth; it is a means of purification for you". (Kanz).

According to another Hadith, Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said, "Pay Zakaah; it is a great purifier and, through paying it, Allah Ta’ala will purify you (of sins)"

Still another Hadith has: Protect your wealth from the uncleanliness of sins, or from going to waste, by paying Zakaah and treat your sick with giving away money as Sadaqah, and make supplications (Dua’a) to guard yourself against calamities. (Kanz)

Another Hadith puts it as follows:” Protect your property by means of Zakaah, treat your sick with spending in Sadaqah and seek help from Allah against calamities by beseeching Him through humility". (Kanz)

Then, in the main Hadith quoted above, Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam gives another proof of the admissibility of withholding money through the requirements of inheritance. If withholding money were not permissible, there would be nothing to inherit.

Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam then warned the Sahabah that, though hoarding of money is admissible as the last resort, it is not a thing to be kept stored in coffers; it is better to spend it. The best thing for safe custody is a virtuous wife.

Some versions of the Hadith say that the Sahabah asked as to what was the best thing to be treasured? Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam replied that it was a virtuous woman.

Thauban Radhiallaho anho relates that they were on a journey with Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam when the Ayat was revealed:

?? ????? ??? : ??? ???? { ?????? ??????????? ????? ?????? } [ ?????? : 34 ]

"And those who hoard gold and silver…."

??? ??? ????? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ???? : ?? ????? ?? ????? ??? ??????? ???? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ???? : " ????? ???? ???? ???? ???? ????? ????? ???? ?????? ??? ??????

Some of the Sahabah Radhiallaho anhum said, O Rasulullah, we wish we knew what are the best things to be treasured and taken care of. Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam replied, "A tongue that remains occupied with the remembrance (Zikr) of Allah Ta’ala, a heart filled with gratitude (to Allah Ta’ala) and a virtuous wife who aids her husband in the performance of religious practices. (Durre Manthur).

It has been related in another Hadith that when the Ayat (mentioned above) was revealed, Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said, repeating his words thrice, "Woe to gold and silver, How cursed are they!" The Sahabah Radhiallaho anhum asked, "What is the best thing to be protected and prized as treasure?" Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam replied, "A tongue that remains occupied with the remembrance (Zikr) of Allah, a heart filled with fear of Allah and a virtuous wife who helps her husband in the observance of religious obligations and devotions". (Tafseer-e-Kabir)

How fine are the sayings of Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam and how aptly stated! In a few words, he has indicated the admissibility of withholding money, together with the commendability of keeping nothing back with oneself, and also defined a mode of living which ensures peace in this life and success in the Akhirah. This life-pattern consists in keeping one’s tongue occupied with Zikr, having a heart filled with gratitude to Allah and living with a devout, virtuous, sensible and submissive wife who guards her own virtue as well as the possessions of her husband, thus making his life full of comforts and all manner of joys, without exposing him to trials and temptations which wealth brings.


Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam has said, "Zakaah is a (great and strong) bridge of Islam".

Note: Just as a strong bridge is a convenient means of going across to a place, so paying Zakaah is a short and easy way to attain to the reality of Islam or the easiest and surest means of attaining nearness to Allah Ta’ala.

Abdul Aziz Ibne Umair Rahmatullah alaihe who was a grandson of Khalifah Umar Ibne Abdul Aziz Rahmatullah alaihe has said, "Salaah will take you half way to the presence of Allah Ta’ala, fasting will take you to the entrance of His court and Sadaqah will enable you to gain audience with Him". (Ithaaf).

There is a subtle affinity between Zakaah and a bridge, which becomes evident from the following remark by the great Sufi Sheikh Shaqiq Balkhi Rahmatullah alaihe-

"We have searched for five things and discovered them in five places;

1. abundance of livelihood through forenoon Nafl (Salaat-udh-Dhuhaa)

2. and illumination of the grave through Tahajjud Salaat;

3. satisfactory answers to Munkar and Nakeer (the two angels who visit the grave for Reckoning) through recitation of the Holy Qur’an;

4. easy crossing of the ‘Siraat’ (the bridge over Jahannam) through fasting and Sadaqah;

5. And a place in the shade of the Arsh (throne) of Allah on the Day of Resurrection through meditation in solitude". (Fazaile-e-Salaat)


Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said,

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"If a man pays the Zakaah due on his property, it causes its evil influence to vanish".

Note: Some traditions have it thus: "When you have paid the Zakaah due on your wealth, you have caused the evil influences attached to it to disappear". (Kanz).

That is to say, wealth can cause many evils to happen but, if one pays Zakaah regularly, he remains safe from its evil influence. Obviously, one shall be saved from punishment, in the Akhirah, for possessing a property, if he has paid the Zakaah due on it.

In this world also, Zakaah ensures protection of his property. This fact forms the content of the Hadith that follows immediately. And, if Zakaah is not paid, the property gets destroyed.


Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said,

????? ??????? ??????? ? ?????? ?????? ??????? ? ????????? ????? ?????? ???????

"Protect your possessions by payment of Zakaah, treat your patients by giving Sadaqah and face the waves of affliction with supplications and crying unto Allah in humility".

Note: The Arabic word ‘Hassinoo’ is derived from ‘Tahseen’ which means building fortifications all around. The Hadith means that, as a man living in a fort is safe against attacks from all sides, similarly, the property becomes safe after Zakaah has been paid on it, like a treasure kept in a fortress.

A Hadith says, "Once Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam was sitting at al Hateem in the Holy Masjid of Ka’bah when a man mentioned some people who had suffered a great loss because the sea waves had washed away their property.

Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said, "Whenever any property is destroyed in a Jungle or on the sea, it is because of the non-payment of Zakaah; so protect your property by payment of Zakaah, treat your patients with Sadaqah and check the calamities by making Dua’a unto Allah, because Dua’a removes a calamity that has befallen and checks it, if it is about to descend.

When Allah Ta’ala wills the survival of a people or wills that they thrive, He grants them chastity and adorns them with the manly qualities of liberality and large-heartedness. And when He wills the annihilation of a community, they indulge in breach of trust". (Kanz)


Alqamah Radhiallaho anho says that when our group of people visited Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam he said to them,

???? ??????? ???????????? ???? ????????? ??????? ?????????????".

"Verily you can make your Islam perfect by your payment of the Zakaah due on your property".

Note: Obviously, a complete adherence to Islam is not possible without payment of Zakaah, which is one of the five essential obligations enjoined by Islam; the other four being: belief in ‘La-ilaha-illallaho, Muhammad-ur-Rasulullah’, Salaah, Fasting and Hajj.

And if a person omits any one of these five fundamentals, he cannot be a perfect Muslim.

Abu Ayyub Radhiallaho anho reported that a person came to Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam and said, "Tell me what I should do to enter Jannah". Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam replied, "Worship Allah and associate no partners with Him, observe Salaah, pay Zakaah regularly and strengthen bonds of kinship".

Another Hadith says, "An Arabian nomad came and said to Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam, "Tell me what I should do to enter Jannah". Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said, "Worship Allah and associate no partners with Him, observe Fardh Salaah regularly, pay Zakaah and fast during Ramadan". The man said, "By Him in whose hand my soul is, I shall not add anything to this, nor fall short of it". Then when he turned away, Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said, "If anyone wishes to look at a man of Jannah, let him look at this man". (Targheeb)


Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said, "he who observes three things will taste the sweetness of Imaan (faith): One who worships Allah alone and believes (from his heart) that there is no one to be worshipped but Allah and one who pays the Zakaat on his property, willingly, every year. In Zakaah on the animals, one should not give an aged animal or one suffering from itch or any other ailment, or an inferior one, but should give animals of average quality. Allah Ta’ala does not demand from you the best of your animals, nor does He command you to give animals of the worst quality".

Note: Though the Hadith is about the Zakaah of animals, the rule applies to all things given as Zakaah. It is not necessary to give away things of the best quality, nor is it permissible to give things of the worst quality; the true spirit of Zakaah lies in giving away things of average quality (of ones possessions). However, if someone gives away things of good quality, of his own sweet will, in order to win the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala and to earn His blessings, it would be a sign of his being a blessed soul, specially favoured by Allah Ta’ala. In this regard, one should keep in view the lives of the Sahabah Radhiallaho anhum and consider their examples carefully.

At this point, we shall relate two incidents from the lives of the Sahabah by way of illustration.

1. Muslim Ibne Shu’bah Rahmatullah alaihe says: "Nafey Ibne Alqamah had appointed my father as head man of his tribe, and ordered him once to collect Zakaah from the entire tribe. My father sent me to collect Zakaah from them, so I came to an old man, called Si’r Radhiallaho anho and told him that my father had sent me to collect Zakaah from him. Si’r Radhiallaho anho said, "What kind of animal will you take, my nephew?" I replied, "I shall select the best animals and I shall also examine whether the udders of the goats are long enough". He said, "Let me first relate a Hadith to you (so that you may know the general rule and then you may do as you like).

I lived in this land during the time of Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam when two persons came to me and they said, "We are messengers of Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam to you and he has sent us to collect Zakaah from you". I showed them all my goats and asked them what was due on me for them. They counted the goats and said, "One goat". I selected a goat which I knew was full of milk and fat and brought it to them. They saw it and said, "This is a pregnant goat and we have been prohibited by Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam to accept such goats". I asked, "What kind of goat will you take, then?" They said, "A kid that is six months old or a goat in its first year".

I then went and brought a kid that was six months old. They took it and went away.

Evidently, Si’r Radhiallaho anho wanted to give the best goat of the entire lot. But he related the Hadith to the collector of Zakaah, so that he might know the general rule about collecting Zakaah on animals".

2. Ubbaiyy bin Ka’b Radhiallaho anho relates:

"I was once commissioned by Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam as a collector of Zakaah and I went to a person who gathered his camels before me and I found, on calculation, that a one year old she camel was due from him. I said, "Give a she camel in her second year as Zakaah", but he said, "What use will be a one year old she camel to you? It is not worthy of milking or riding". He then selected a very good, fat, healthy and well built she camel and said, "Here is another; so, take it". I said to him, "I cannot take it.

Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam is on a journey and he is going to stay at a place quite near to you. If you like, go to him and present it to him directly. If he accepts it, I shall accept it from you". The man accompanied me to Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam and took with him the she camel which he had presented to me. We came to Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam and the man submitted thus, "O Rasulullah, your messenger came to me to collect Zakaah. By Allah, I never had the privilege of being commanded to pay Zakaah by you or your messengers. I presented all my camels to the collector.

He examined them and said that a one year old she camel would be due on them. But a one year old she camel has neither milk nor is it worth riding. I, therefore, presented one of my best she camels to be accepted as Zakaah, but he refused to accept it, So, I have brought it with me to present it to you. Kindly do accept it, O Rasulullah!" At this, Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said, "Only that is, what was due from you, but if you want to give a better she camel, to serve you partly as Nafl Sadaqah and partly as Fardh Zakaah, Allah Ta’ala will reward you for that". The man said, "O Rasulullah, I have brought the she camel with me so that you may accept it". Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam then advised that it should be taken from him". (Abu Dawood)

How ambitious were the Sahabah Radhiallaho anhum to give away their best property as Zakaah! They felt proud and deemed it an honour to welcome the messenger for collection of Zakaah sent by Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam. They never regarded Zakaah as a tax levied upon them, but believed that payment of Zakaah was a sacred duty, which they had to perform in their own interest. Today, we keep back the best of our possessions for our future needs, but they believed that the property given away for the cause of Allah was the one well-disposed of.


Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam has said, "When you have paid Zakaah on your property, you have paid what was due from you (if you spend more, it will count as Nafl Sadaqah). But he who gives Sadaqah out of the property earned by unlawful means (usury, bribery, etc.), will get no reward for that and he will also suffer from the evil of his unlawful earnings".

Note: This Hadith contains two subjects:

· Firstly, only Zakaah is due on one’s property as incumbent (Wajib) levy. Apart from Zakaah, there are degrees of virtues in Nafl Sadaqah and voluntary spending for the sake of Allah Ta’ala.

A Hadith says: "He who has paid Zakaah has paid what was due from him on his property; and he who gives more than what is due, is more virtuous". (Kanz)

The Hadith narrated by Dhimam Ibne Tha’labah Radhiallaho anho is quite famous, and has been mentioned in different channels in Bukhari, Muslim and many other authentic collections of Ahadith. It relates that Dhimam Radhiallaho anho asked Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam about the fundamental obligatory requirements of Islam, which the latter explained to him in detail. Among these, Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam mentioned Zakaah, whereupon Dhimam asked, "Is there anything else due from me, apart from Zakaah?" Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam replied, "No, but you can spend more as Nafl Sadaqah if you like".

A man sold a house during the time of Khalifah Umar Radhiallaho anho who advised him to dig a hole in his residence and bury the sale money to keep it safe. The man asked, "Will it not be treated as Kanz Treasure (Hoarded money) for which the possessor shall be punished on the Day of Judgment?" Umar Radhiallaho anho said, "A property on which Zakaah has been paid shall not be treated as ‘Kanz’.

" Ibne Umar Radhiallaho anho has said, "I wouldn’t mind keeping in my possession an amount of gold weighing as much as Mount Uhad, if I kept on paying Zakaah due on it and observing other commands of Allah Ta’ala with regard to it". (Durre Manthur).

There are many more Ahadith to that effect in the compilations of Ahadith. Therefore, the four great Imaams of ‘Fiqh’ (Islamic jurisprudence) and the generality of Ulama have agreed that, apart from Zakaah, nothing is due on property as such. However, there are other obligations of a Muslim which involve spending of money; for example, the maintenance of one’s minor children.

There are other similar cases in which spending of money becomes incumbent upon a Muslim. Another such case is helping a man who is facing death, if food or water is not given to him immediately. It is the collective responsibility (faradh-e-Kifayah) of a community to save him from such a death.

It is an incumbent (Wajib) act, in itself, to supply the need of a person who has been driven to dire necessity and may be facing death through hunger or thirst. But nothing is due from a wealthy person on his wealth, apart from Zakaah.

After a man passes away, there are few to remember him, and, in course of time, even the parents, wife and children forget about him. They shed tears of sorrow, real or false, for a few days and thereafter engage themselves in their worldly pursuits. Then, for months together, and even for long years, nobody thinks of the dead relatives.

Besides, regarding the above mentioned Hadith, one point is worthy of special notice and is of general importance. Nowadays most people say absurd and meaningless things about religion. For example, people are often heard saying, "We are men of the world; it is more than enough that we fulfill our Fardh (obligatory) duties and it is for the great saints to observe optional (Nafl) devotions".

Now this sort of reasoning is a guile of Shaitan and a sheer absurdity. The fact is that voluntary and supererogatory (Nafl) devotions are meant to make up for the deficiencies in the observance of obligatory (Faradh) religious practices. For, who can claim to have fulfilled all his Faraidh rites perfectly and strictly according to the Commandment of Allah Ta’ala. And, since lapses do occur, the supererogatory (Nafl) devotions are meant to make up for the deficiencies.

Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam has said, "A person finishes performing his Salaah but a tenth part of his Salaah, or a ninth part, or an eighth part or a seventh part or a sixth part or a fifth part or a fourth part or a third part or half of it is recorded as acceptable (according to the quality of his Salaah). (Abu Dawood).

The Hadith indicates, by illustration, that everyone receives a reward according to the requirements fulfilled by him in his Salaah. We are fully aware how deficient in quality our Salaahs are…..and we should deem it a special favour of Allah Ta’ala if He granted us a thousandth, or even a millionth part of the reward meant for a perfect Salaah. As a matter of fact, our Salaah is not worthy of acceptance by Allah Ta’ala because of our evil deeds and deficiency in sincerity! Indeed, as described in a Hadith, our Salaah is such as deserves to be rejected and thrown back on our faces, like a wrapped up rag of shabby cloth. When such is the quality of our Salaah, we never can tell what fraction of the reward has been recorded for us!

A Hadith says: "The first thing about which people will be called to account on the Day of Judgment is Salaah. Allah Ta’ala will say to the angels, "Look into the Salaah of My servant and see whether he has performed it perfectly or not". If perfect, it will be recorded as such; if defective, the defect will be recorded. Then Allah Ta’ala will say, "See if there are some optional (Nafl) Salaahs observed by My servant". If there are Nafl Salaahs to his credit, Allah Ta’ala will say, "Compensate the short-comings of Fardh Salaahs by the Nawafil.

Then Zakaah will be taken up in a similar way (that is, the Fardh Sadaqah will be reckoned first and then the Nafl Sadaqah to make up for the deficiency in the payment of Fardh Sadaqah). Then all the other A’maal will be considered similarly". (Abu Dawood).

It follows that a person who pays Fardh Zakaah should not vainly think that he has been paying what is due from him. For, nobody knows how deficient he has been in the fulfillment of Faradh (obligatory duties). And in order to make up the deficiency, one must have a generous amount of Nafl Sadaqaat at one’s credit. It is common practice that when a man goes to a court, for the pursuance of a law suit, he carries with him a sufficient amount of money, in excess of the calculated expenses, allowing for unforeseen emergencies.

And the Court of Allah Ta’ala is Supreme, where nobody can hide facts, nor can force of arguments or intercession avail anyone. It is true that the infinite Mercy of Allah Ta’ala takes precedence over everything else and all Fardh (obligatory duties) are due rights that men owe to Allah Ta’ala, Who may forego His rights if He wills and nobody would question Him if He did so. But forgiveness is not a matter of right and no one should commit a crime in the hope of mercy of the Sovereign.

Therefore, a man should regularly perform the obligatory requirements, fulfilling all the necessary conditions and observing the proper etiquettes, but he should not rest content with having fulfilled what is due from him. He must rather have in store for himself a vast collection of ‘Nafl’ (supererogatory) devotions, lest he should have to compensate for the defective observance of ‘Fardh’ on the Day of Judgment.

Allama Suyuti Rahmatullah alaihe writes in his book, ‘Mirqaat-us-Su’ood’: Seventy Nafl acts of virtue are equal in merit to one corresponding obligatory (Fardh) act of virtue. (For example, seventy Raka’at of Nafl Salaat are equal in merit to one Raka’at of Fardh Salaat). Therefore one should be very particular about the proper performance of the ‘Faradh’ religious practices; for, in case of a defective performance of the ‘Fardh’ one shall have to compensate for the deficiency by a whole lot of Nawafil. Further more, we should also have a considerable amount of Nawafil recorded in our Book of Deeds as a precautionary measure.

The other subject contained in the main Hadith is that, if anyone procures wealth by unlawful means and then gives Sadaqah out of it, he will get no reward for that. There are a number of Ahadith to the effect that Allah Ta’ala accepts only Sadaqah from lawfully earned property.

Another Hadith says, "Allah Ta’ala does not accept the Sadaqah given out of property acquired by ???? ‘Ghulool’ (dishonesty regarding the spoils of war)"


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