Zakaah and Its Status In Islam

  By Imam Murtada Gusau


In the name of Allah, the Extremely Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
All praise is for Allah. We praise Allah (SWT) in the way He deserves to be praised and thanked. May the peace and prayer of Allah (SWT) be upon the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) after whom there will come no other prophets, and upon his family, his Companions and every one that follows in their footsteps until the Day of Resurrection.

 

O servants of Allah!
Fear Allah (SWT) and know that one cannot be a true believer until he submits to the commandments of Allah (SWT). Allah has prescribed for you certain duties and made them mandatory; the implementation thereof is your source of peace and happiness. One of these duties is Zakaah (alms giving) or charity. Every Muslim possessing the liable amount of money or property must pay an annual percentage of that amount as charity.

This charity has great and obvious advantages in the Islamic society. It makes the rich reconcile and live peacefully with the poor. It fulfills some of the poor people’s needs and alleviates some of their suffering. It protects the needy from going astray in terms of criminal behaviour such as: robbery, kidnapping, violating other people’s property, and even committing suicide that is today rampant in our society.

Zakaah is purification. It purifies both the wealth and the wealthy. It also purifies the needy that receive it, and the whole society in which the wealthy look after the needy by giving them the dues of their money.

How does it purify the wealth, the wealthy and the needy? Zakaah makes the money increase both in purity and blessing. It purifies the wealthy and those who give their dues to the needy from stinginess. It further prevents them from adoring and worshipping their money which is a form of Shirk (taking partners with Allah). Zakaah purifies the soul of the needy from envy, hatred and animosity. Moreover, it cleanses them from coveting other people’s money and property and prevents them from falling prey to the plots of Satan (Shaytaan) who will attempt to corrupt them and incite them to commit crimes. At the end, it is the purification for the whole society.

To those who have money, we say:

“Do not be stingy, for He who granted you this money, if He wills, is able to take it away from you. Allah, who is the Rich, free of all needs, and worthy of all praise has bestowed His blessings upon you and made your hand the upper one and another hand the lower one. Be grateful to Him and appreciate His favours upon you, so that this wealth of yours may last and your hand may remain higher! Spend your money for the sake of Allah (SWT)! Do not be afraid that the Lord of the Throne will make you lose; Allah (SWT) has promised the charity giver to increase his wealth. And Allah’s promises shall never be reneged on. Besides, wealth is Allah’s favour upon you. If you appreciate it gratefully, it will increase and if you are ungrateful, it will perish and vanish, Wal iyaazu bil-lah. Allah’s mercy is near to those who are benevolent, so safeguard your wealth and property by giving the needy their right to some of it. The needy, if deprived from his rights, Will rush to do evil. The society that is corrupted, crime infested, and insecure shall have no opportunity for the wealth to grow, provision to increase, or a decent life to be established. This same society will be moving from one misery to another. May Allah guide and protect us, ameen.”

Allah has established a methodology in dealing with people regarding this very issue. That is when they give to the poor, He gives them more. But when they abstain and refuse to give their dues, He punishes them by withholding the rain and provision and increasing the prices of their life’s needs. You, who are wealthy, ask Allah (SWT) to bestow His mercy upon His servants and to give them rain and provision by your being generous and giving charity. Allah is indeed the All-Generous and loves those who are generous.

The Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) warns those who do not pay their Zakaah from Allah’s excruciating punishment and chastisement. For instance, the Prophet (SAW) said:

“Wealth shall not be destroyed whether on land or sea except by withholding the Zakaah dues.”

Those who do not give their Zakaah dues shall be in the Fire of Hell in the Hereafter. They will be tortured with the very money whose dues they withheld. Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) had said:

“By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! No one dies and leaves sheep, camels and cattle behind without paying their Zakaah dues, but that they will come on the Day of Resurrection in the best state of health they had ever been in before, and would tread him with their feet, and butt him with their horns until Allah (SWT) judges among the people. [They would continue doing that taking turns on him]. When the last of them gets tired, the first will take the turn again.”

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