(Class notes from the sisters Halaqa, with Sheikh Adel)
Zakat means growing and increasing blessing, as though the wealth is growing in size and multiplying in blessings. Allah SWT says in Surah Ar Rum Ayah 38-39: “So give to the kinsmen his due, and to the needy, and to the wayfarer. That is best for those who seek Allah’s Countenance. And such are they who are successful. That which ye give in usury in order that it may increase on (other) people’s property hath no increase with Allah; but that which ye give in Zakat, seeking Allah’s Countenance hath increase manifold.”
Zakat is obligatory (fard) towards the poor. Zakat is the right of the poor on your wealth. The word Haq is used as right of the poor and not just obligation (fard) for the rich to give. In surah Taubah ayah 103 Allah says to the Prophet (SAW), “Take 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, and Allah is All Hearer, All Knower.”
Zakat became mandatory in the second year of Prophet SAW’s migration to Medina.
Benefits of Zakat
- It pleases Allah SWT
- It is the third pillar of Islam. The deen will collapse if any pillar is missing.
- Allah will bless your money and you will find an increase in it. It may not be literally, but Allah may prevent some unfortunate event that you would otherwise have to spend on.
- It cleanses your soul and your wealth.
- Giving Zakat is an attribute of the muttaqun (pious believers). Allah says about the muttaqun in Surah Ad Dhariyat Ayah 15-19; “Verily, the Muttaqun will be in the midst of Gardens and Springs in 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 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 of the beggar, and the Mahrum (poor who does not ask the others).
- Zakat pleases the one receiving it and in turn pleases Allah.
- It is a protection of your wealth from jealousy (Hasad) and envy.
- The poor make Dua for you.
- It is a means of keeping order in society, when the needs of people are met; they may not have to do resort to robbery, selling their honor, etc.
Rules regarding Zakat
Zakat is obligatory on money worth 80 grams of gold. That money should be in your possession for a full Islamic year and 2.5% of it must be given out as Zakat. The intention for giving Zakat must be made at the time it is given. One cannot just give sadaqa and think after sometime that they can count it as Zakat.
Who is eligible for Zakat?
There are eight types of people who are eligible for Zakat. In Surah Taubah Ayah 60 Allah SWT says “The sadaqat are only for the poor (Fuqarah), the needy (miskeen), and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives, and the debtors (gharimeen), and for the cause of Allah, and for the wayfarer; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is all knowing, wise.” According to most scholars ‘sadaqat’ refers to zakat.
- Among poor relatives all are eligible to receive zakat except for the roots: father, grandfather, great grandfather and so on, and the branches: children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and so on. The roots and branches being your responsibility are not allowed to receive zakat. You are rewarded twice for giving Zakat to your relatives, once for giving zakat and the other for keeping up the ties of kinship.
When you see a poor without clothes, it is the rich who are responsible for that. If everyone gave out his or her portion of Zakat fairly, no one would remain poor.
Prophet (SAW) said I am going to tell you 3 things, memorize them for I swear they are true: – Never will money or wealth decrease if you give Sadaqa. – Never a Servant of Allah who is wronged and is patient but Allah will increase with it his dignity and honor. – Never a Servant of Allah opens a door for asking not needing but Allah opens the door of poverty for him.
One must be careful about whom you give Zakat to, because giving to the wrong person will prevent the deserving from getting his share.
About those who do not give Zakat:
Allah (swt) says in Surah Ale Imran Ayah 180 “And let not those who covetously withhold of that which Allah has bestowed on them of His Bounty (wealth) think that it is good for them (and so they do not pay the obligatory Zakat). Nay, it will be worse for them; the things, which they covetously withheld, shall be tied to their necks like a collar on the Day of Resurrection. And to Allah belongs the heritage of the Heavens and the Earth; and Allah is well acquainted with all that you do.”
An authentic Hadith states: The money on which zakat is not paid will come on the Day of Judgment in the form of a snake and grab the owners by the sides of their lips and say “I am your wealth”.
If Zakat is not paid on the farm animals (cattle, camels etc.) These animals will walk on the owners from side to side repeatedly for 50,000 years.
If someone insists on not giving Zakat, he would be considered to be out of the folds of religion and given 3 days to repent. Abu Bakr (RA) used to say that, “I cannot distinguish between Salat and Zakat.”