The third pillar of Islam- Zakah (The Islamic Charity)
Zakat is basically the donation obligated for every Muslim who has a smart amount of money or valuables saved till the end of Islamic fiscal year. The donation or zakat is 2.5% of the valuables or money, which can be given to relatives, the poor and the needy. This zakat is not something that started with the arrival of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) , it had started a long time ago, the Quran mentions the Prophet Ibrahim also gave Islamic charity or zakat
In the Holy Quran Surat Al-’Anbyā’, [21:73] Allah Says:
We made them (Abraham and his sons) imams who guided in accordance with our commandments, and we taught them how to work righteousness, and how to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and the obligatory charity (Zakat). To us, they were devoted worshipers.”
In Surat Al-Baqarah of The Holy Quran, Allah says:
We made a covenant with the Children of Israel: “You shall not worship except GOD. You shall honor your parents and regard the relatives, the orphans, and the poor. You shall treat the people amicably. You shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat).” But you turned away, except a few of you, and you became averse. [2:83]
In Surat-Al-Mai’dah [5:12] Allah says:
“Allah had taken a covenant from the Children of Israel, and we raised among them twelve patriarchs. And GOD said, “I am with you, so long as you observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and believe in My messengers and respect them, and continue to lend GOD a loan of righteousness. I will then remit your sins, and admit you into gardens with flowing streams. Anyone who disbelieves after this, has indeed strayed off the right path.”
There are many places in the Quran where the believers are called out, to give zakat .
[2:3] who believe in the unseen, observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and from our provisions to them, they give to charity.
[2:43] you shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and bow down with those who bow down.
[2:110] you shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat). Any good you send forth on behalf of your souls, you will find it at Allah. Allah is seer of everything you do.
[2:254] O you who believe, you shall give to charity from the provisions we have given to you, before a day comes where there is no trade, no nepotism, and no intercession. The disbelievers are the unjust.
[2:262] Those who spend their money in the cause of GOD, then do not follow their charity with insult or harm, will receive their recompense from their Lord; they have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
[2:267] O you who believe, you shall give to charity from the good things you earn, and from what we have produced for you from the earth. Do not pick out the bad therein to give away, when you yourselves do not accept it unless your eyes are closed. You should know that Allah is Rich, Praiseworthy.
[2:277] those who believe and lead a righteous life, and observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), they receive their recompense from their Lord; they will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
Then the question comes who can we give zakat to. The answer is also available in the Holy Quran:
[17:26-29] You shall give the due alms to the relatives, the needy, the poor, and the travelling alien, but do not be excessive, extravagant.
[9:60] Charities(Sadaqaat) shall go to the poor, the needy, the workers who collect them, the new converts, to free the slaves, to those burdened by sudden expenses, in the cause of Allah, and to the traveling alien. Such is GOD’s commandment. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.
[2:177] Righteousness is not turning your faces towards the east or the west. Righteous are those who believe in GOD, the Last Day, the angels, the scripture, and the prophets; and they give the money, cheerfully, to the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the traveling alien, the beggars, and to free the slaves; and they observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat); and they keep their word whenever they make a promise; and they steadfastly persevere in the face of persecution, hardship, and war. These are the truthful; these are the righteous.
Benefits of zakat:
- Zakat purifies money.
- Who doesn’t know the benefits of charity, the money is not stagnant in the society due to charity, the poor not always remain poor and the rich not always rich, this is an economically suitable way in Islam to keep the money circulating.
- He will never be short of rizq or money
- It reduces status difference
- It brings harmony among the rich and the poor.
- It gives the society the buying power, and so increases the flow of money.
- Eradicates begging
- Helps the society in being independent
- Increases the standard of living for the poor
- Helps the rich to understand the pains of the poor
- Strengthens the economy
- Keeps the people from taking criminal and moral degrading steps
- Becomes a bridge between rich and poor of the society.
The Benefits in Quran
[9:103] Take from their money a charity to purify them and sanctify them. And encourage them, for your encouragement reassures them. GOD is Hearer, Omniscient.
[64:16] Therefore, you shall reverence GOD as much as you can, and listen, and obey, and give (to charity) for your own good. Anyone who is protected from his own stinginess, these are the successful ones.
[30:39] The usury that is practiced to increase some people’s wealth, does not gain anything at GOD. But if you give to charity, seeking GOD’s pleasure, these are the ones who receive their reward manifold.
[22:35] They are the ones whose hearts tremble upon mentioning GOD, they steadfastly persevere during adversity, they observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and from our provisions to them, they give to charity.
[3:134] who give to charity during the good times, as well as the bad times. They are suppressors of anger, and pardoners of the people. GOD loves the charitable.
So Allah Loves the charitable.
The repercussion of not giving charity
[41:7] “Who do not give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and with regard to the Hereafter, they are disbelievers.”
[4:77] Have you noted those who were told, “You do not have to fight; all you need to do is observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat),” then, when fighting was decreed for them, they feared the people as much as they feared GOD, or even more? They said, “Our Lord, why did You force this fighting on us? If only You respite us for awhile!” Say, “The materials of this world are nil, while the Hereafter is far better for the righteous, and you never suffer the slightest injustice.”
Some rules and ratios of zakat:
1: zakat can’t be given to someone who already has 7.5 tola gold and 52.5 of silver or the equivalent wealth. A person who owns household items worth the gold and silver is also not a candidate for zakat.
2: zakat can’t be given to the non-muslims.
4: zakat can’t be given to sayeds, i.e. to the descendents of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
5: zakat can’t be given as a payment of services or a job.
6: zakat can’t be paid for the building, repairing or renovation of mosques/ Masajid.
7: a person cannot use zakat for burial expenses and things like that, they can only take zakat if his children or heirs are poor.
8: zakat money cannot be used to pay the debts of a person who has died.