Zakaat

“Take from their wealth ‘sadaqah’ (Zakaat) in order to purify them and sanctify them with it.” [Quran 9: 103]

Zakaat is one of the five fundamentalists of Islam. It’s the third pillar of Islam. Zakaat or alms-giving is Arabic word which means “to purify”. It is a practice and obligation followed by the Muslims to pay a prescribed amount of their accumulated wealth as zakaat to the poor and needy. This is an easy way to ease economic hardships and eliminate inequality in the society. One of the benefits of zakaat is that it purifies the wealth and keeps who are wealthy clean monetarily from sins. Zakaat was made compulsory at Makah at the same time as salaat but the prescribed amount was fixed in the second year of migration.

Salaat and zakaat are mentioned together many times in the Quran:

“Then establish prayer and pay Zakaah and obey Allah and His Most Beloved Messenger (Salla Allahu Ta’ala alayhi wa Sallam) and Allah ta’ala is aware of what you do.” (58:13)

“Only he shall attend the Mosques of Allah who believes in Allah and the Last Day, establishes Salaat and pays Zakaat.” (9:18)

This clearly shows that zakaat is the most fundamental after namaaz. It is compulsory (wajib) to pay zakaat immediately. To delay its payment or evade its payment entirely have been sternly warned in the Holy Quran and Hadeeth and have very terrible consequences. Our beloved Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) has said, 

“The nation that does not give Zakaat, Allah will bring about a drought on them (i.e. necessities of life, will become scarce.)”

“The persons on whom Allah has bestowed wealth, and he does not give Zakaat, on the Day of Qiyaamah, his wealth will be turned into a venomous bald serpent which will wind around his neck and bite his jaws and say, “I am your wealth, I am your treasure.” (Bukhari)

Following benefits are obtained by paying Zakaat:

Gaining of the pleasure of Allah
Increase in wealth
Protection from losses
A cause thus established for Allah’s forgiveness and blessings are obtained
Safety from calamities
Protection from the wrath of Allah and from a bad death

The Zakaat will provide a shelter on the Day of Judgement
Security from seventy misfortunes
It will serve as a shield from the fires of Jahannam
It contributes to Barkat in wealth
It saves from fear and grief

Zakaat is obligatory on an adult, sane and free Muslim who owns wealth in excess and of a productive nature from which he can derive profit or benefit such as merchandise for business, gold, silver, livestock, etc. The wealth should be possessed by him for a complete year.  Zakaat is Fardh at the rate of 2.5%. The recipients of zakaat according to the Quran are as follows:
“Zakaat (contributions of cash money, merchandise, animals etc.) are for the poor and the needy; and those who collect them; for those whose hearts are to be reconciled; and to free the captives and the debtors; and for the cause of Allah Ta’aala; and for the wayfarer; A duty ordained by Allah Ta’aala. Allah Ta’aala is Knowing, Wise.” (Surah Taubah: 60)

One should pay zakaat according to the shari’at and who does not abide by it is a sinner and will be punished very severely on the day of jugdement.

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