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Zakah: Some Reasons and Rulings

Jul 24, 2014

 

By Sh Abdur RAHMAN Al-Hudhayfi – 29 Shaban 1435

His Eminence Sheikh Ali ibn Abdur-Rahman Al-Hudhaifi, may Allah preserve him, delivered the Friday khutbah entitled, “Zakah: Some Reasons and Rulings”, in which he talked about Zakah (obligatory charity) and some of the reasons for which it has been prescribed. Then he briefly pointed out the most important rulings relating to Zakah and mentioned some of the virtues of the month of Ramadan, stressing that a Muslim must pay attention to this month and increase his good deeds in it.

Praise be to Allah. Praise be to Allah, the Free of all wants and needs, the Worthy of all praise; the Owner of the Throne, the All-Glorious. I praise my Lord and thank Him. I turn to Him in repentance and ask Him for forgiveness. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, Who has no partners, the Doer of whatsoever He wills; and I bear witness that our prophet and master, Muhammad, is His servant and messenger, who was granted victory and given the greatest support. O Allah! Bestow Your peace and blessings upon Your servant and messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions, who followed the rightly-guided commands.

Now then,
Fear Allah by doing good deeds and abandoning evil deeds.

O Muslims!
Know that the teachings of this true religion are all based on three foundations, namely, doing good to oneself, doing good to others, and refraining from causing harm and evil to them. One can do good to oneself by performing different acts of worship, while doing good to others is realized through good deeds of various kinds. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“… and do good. Truly, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers).” (Al-Baqarah: 195).

Allah, Exalted be He, also says:
“… but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors.” (Al-Baqarah: 190)

Allah, Might and Majesty be to Him, also says:
“Verily, Allah enjoins Al-‘Adl (i.e. justice and worshipping none but Allah Alone – Islamic Monotheism) and Al-Ihsan [i.e. to be patient in performing your duties to Allah, totally for Allah’s sake and in accordance with the Sunnah (legal ways) of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in a perfect manner], and giving (help) to kith and kin (i.e. all that Allah has ordered you to give them, e.g. wealth, visiting, looking after them, or any other kind of help), and forbids Al-Fahsha’ (i.e. all evil deeds, e.g. illegal sexual acts, disobedience of parents, polytheism, to tell lies, to give false witness, to kill a life without right), and Al-Munkar (i.e. all that is prohibited by Islamic law: polytheism of every kind, disbelief and every kind of evil deeds), and Al-Baghy (i.e. all kinds of oppression). He admonishes you, that you may take heed.” (An-Nahl: 90)

Allah also describes the believers as being good to themselves and as being kind to others by refraining from doing harm and causing evil to them. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“The believers, men and women, are Auliya’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another, they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma‘ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); they perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and give the Zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). Allah will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (At-Tawbah: 71)

Allah, Exalted be He, also says:
“… and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness.” (Al-Furqan: 63)

Servants of Allah!
Zakah is an act of worship which Allah has imposed on Muslims to be taken from their wealth and to be paid to the eight categories of people entitled to Zakah. The rich must pay the Zakah to the poor as a duty, not as a favour. Allah has imposed it in order to achieve social solidarity among Muslims. He has prescribed it to meet the needs of the poor and the needy, by way of doing good to others and in order that those who pay it may gain His reward. It has many benefits and serves great purposes. For instance, it cleanses hearts of miserliness, covetousness, and vice.

Allah, Exalted be He, says:
“Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it, and invoke Allah for them. Verily! Your invocations are a source of security for them …” (At-Tawbah: 103)

Paying Zakah eradicates the disease of envy from hearts. Envy is a serious disease which results from rivalry for worldly superiority and which causes oppression, aggression, injustice, and hatred among the members of society. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The disease of the nations who came before you has started to spread among you: envy and hatred. Beware of envy, for it consumes good deeds just as fire consumes firewood” (Reported by Abu-Dawud). Paying Zakah brings about empathy and compassion among Muslims and ensures social solidarity as well as love and affection between the rich and the poor.

Zakah is one of the pillars of Islam. It is often mentioned in combination with the prayer (salah) in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him. Thus the acts of Zakah and prayer are accepted together with one another.

The amount of Zakah imposed on people is very little compared with the wealth that Allah has given to them. Allah, Exalted be He, says:
“And that it is He (Allah) Who gives much or a little (or gives wealth and contentment).” (An-Najm: 48)

Allah, Exalted be He, also says:
“And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah …” (An-Nahl: 53)

Allah, Might and Majesty be to Him, also says:
““And keep your duty to Him, fear Him Who has aided you with all (good things) that you know. He has aided you with cattle and children. And gardens and springs.”” (Ash-Shu‘ara’: 132-134)

Allah, Exalted be He, also says:
“… And give them something (yourselves) out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you …” (An-Nur: 33)

Paying the Zakah due on one’s wealth testifies to one’s gratefulness to Allah for having such wealth. In fact, Zakah increases wealth and never decreases it and protects it against destruction and loss. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

““… and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers.”” (Saba’: 39)

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “No wealth is damaged in the land or in the sea but by withholding the Zakah due on it.” Abdullah ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “… No people withhold the Zakah of their wealth but they are denied rain, and were it not for the animals no rain would be sent down upon them” (Reported by Ibn Majah). The poor will establish evidence against the rich on the Day of Judgement if they refrained from paying the Zakah due to them in this world. They will say, “Our Lord! You granted wealth to these, but they denied us our rights.” Allah will then decide between them with His just judgement.

Allah has promised the greatest reward for those who pay the Zakah. Allah, Exalted be He, says:
“And those who pay the Zakah.” (Al-Mu’minun: 4)

He also mentions other good deeds along with Zakah, and then shows the great reward for doing them:
“These are indeed the inheritors. Who shall inherit the Firdaus (Paradise). They shall dwell therein forever.” (Al-Mu’minun: 10-11)

Allah, Exalted be He, also says:
“Verily, the Muttaqun (the pious) will be in the midst of Gardens and Springs (in the Paradise), Taking joy in the things which their Lord has given them. Verily, they were before this Muhsinun (good-doers). They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Lord (Allah) and praying, with fear and hope]. And in the hours before dawn, they were (found) asking (Allah) for forgiveness. And in their properties there was the right for the Sa’il (the beggar who asks) and the Mahrum (the poor who does not ask others).” (Adh-Dhariyat: 15-19)

Allah pledges to inflict a painful punishment on those who withhold the Zakah due on their wealth. Allah, Exalted be He, says:
“… And woe to Al-Mushrikun (the polytheists, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah). Those who give not the Zakat and they are disbelievers in the Hereafter.” (Fussilat: 6-7)

Allah, Exalted be He, also says:
“… And those who hoard up gold and silver [Al-Kanz: the money, the Zakat of which has not been paid] and spend them not in the Way of Allah, announce to them a painful torment. On the Day when that (Al-Kanz: money, gold and silver, the Zakat of which has not been paid) will 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.”” (At-Tawbah: 34-35)

Those who pay the Zakah due on their wealth will not suffer such punishment and are excluded from this warning.

Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “No one possesses money and abstains from giving its Zakah but his money will come to him on the Day of Judgement in the form of a bald rattle snake, which will take him by the cheeks, saying, ‘I am your treasure, I am your money’” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Similarly, the owners of camels, cows, and sheep who do not pay the Zakah due on them will be thrown on his face before them on the Day of Judgement and their animals will trample over him, as the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said in a Hadith reported in Sahih Muslim. Zakah must be paid for gold and silver, or what corresponds for them in banknotes, if the value of each of them, or both of them combined, reaches the nisab (the minimum amount on which Zakah is payable). Zakah is also due on camels, cows, and sheep when they reach the nisab, and it is equally due on what comes out of the earth. It is also due on commercial commodities, in which case they are estimated according to their value, and a quarter of a tenth (2.5%) of their value is given out as Zakah.

If someone is in debt, he must first pay off his debt and then pay Zakah on whatever is left of his wealth. If he has not paid off his debt, he pays Zakah on whatever is in his possession. The Nisab of gold is 20 Mithqals, which is equivalent to 85 grams of pure gold, and the Nisab of silver is 200 Dirhams, which weighs 595 grams of pure silver, or what corresponds to them in banknotes. The value of the nisab of gold and silver varies according to the currency used in a specific time.

The right course of action is to pay two and a half per cent (2.5%) of the amount on which Zakah is due. Thus, whoever pays 2,5 for each one hundred units, 25 for each one thousand units, and 25,000 for each one million units has discharged his duty. Zakah must be paid on whatever exceeds the Nisab according to its category and value. In the case of camels, cattle, and sheep, no Zakah is due on the animals below the first Nisab and between each of the subsequent Nisabs. As for gold and silver, or what corresponding to them in banknotes, Zakah must be paid on whatever exceeds the nisab according to its value.

A Muslim must seek to have enough knowledge about Zakah and must ask scholars about all its details in order to be able to discharge the duties that Allah has imposed upon him with regard to his wealth. Whoever pays the Zakah of the wealth that has been in his possession for a year or less at a certain time or in a specific month every year, such as the month of Ramadan, has discharged his duty.

O Son of Adam!
Your real wealth is that which you spend for Allah’s sake, whereas the wealth that actually belongs to others is that which you do not spend but leave for them. If the rich paid the Zakah due on their wealth, there would be no poor person or beggar left. Therefore, draw lessons from the lost generations whom Allah punished by their own wealth, and take admonition from the stories you heard of people whose wealth was of no avail to them. Remember that either you will leave your money behind or it will leave you.

Allah has prescribed other forms of mandatory or recommended spending besides Zakah. Our Lord urges us to spend in the various good causes. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“O You who Believe! Spend of that with which We have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. …” (Al-Baqarah: 254)

The reward of what we spend for Allah’s sake is multiplied especially during the month of Ramadan. In addition, charity given in secret has its merits. Abu Sa‘id Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Giving charity in secret extinguishes the wrath of the Lord, maintaining the ties of kinship increases one’s lifespan, and doing good deeds protects one from bad death” (An authenticated hadith, reported by Al-Baihaqi in Shu‘ab Al-’Iman).

The one who gives charity is in fact striving against the devil. Buraidah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “No man gives any charity but he dispels by it seventy devils [who have been trying to dissuade him from giving charity]” (An authenticated hadith, reported by Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak). Ramadan is the month of charity and good deeds. Therefore, blessed are those who hasten to do good and keep away from sins that lead to destruction. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for Al-Muttaqun (the pious). Those who spend (in Allah’s Cause) in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers).” (Al ‘Imran: 133-134)

May Allah bless you and me with the Great Qur’an and make us benefit from its verses and wise words and benefit from the guidance and right sayings of the Master of all Messengers. I have said what you have heard and I ask forgiveness of Allah for myself, for you, and for all Muslims for any sin we have committed. Ask Allah for forgiveness. He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.

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