In the year before the farewell Hajj, Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – sent a group of Muslims on the Hajj with Abu Bakr as their Ameer. At the Kabah, there were still some Mushrikeen performing Hajj and some performing Tawaf naked. Abu Bakrs mission – radi Allahu anhu – was to prepare Makkah for the Hajj of Rasul Allah, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
Allahs Messenger – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – sent Surah Baraah (disassociation), the 9th Surah in the Quran, along with the Ameer of that Hajj group Abu Bakr. His instructions were to recite to all present at Hajj that year. Because of Ali ibn Abee Talibs position amongst the Quraysh, he was given the task to announce the Surah.
Surah Baraah, which begins without Bismillaah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem reads:
|(This is a declaration of) Disassociation, from Allah and His Messenger, to those with whom you had made a treaty among the Mushrikeen (the polytheists). Surah 9/1
Remember, the Quran was the Islamic states declaration of legislation! Ali ibn Abee Talib, radi Allahu anhu, continued to recite until he reached the words of Allah:
|But if they repent, establish prayer, and give Zakah, then they are your brothers in religion. Surah 9/11
This was the pronouncement! It was not enough for them to repent. They MUST establish the Salah and they MUST give Zakah in order to be considered within the brotherhood of Islam.
In Bukhari and Muslim, Jaabir ibn Abdillaah, radi Allahu anhu, said,
| I pledged allegiance to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in that I would establish the Salah, undertake the giving of Zakah, and that I would give Naseeha (advice) to every Muslim.
Allah made Zakah compulsory on the wealth of a believer as a test of their sincerity. The believer has full conviction that it is Fard and they know Zakah is the third pillar of Islam. It is a pillar of Islam- not a virtuous option without which a believers Deen will collapse.
The believer delivers his Zakah with an open heart, thanking and praising Allah for His bounty. And, the believer continues to thank Allah taala for the very Tawfeeq of being able to perform his duty.
While others bathe their bodies daily, it is possible for a human to bathe their heart with money! How? Zakah.
Have you ever seen someone run out of the Masjid immediately after Salah. In fact, the Imam may just barely have said salam, and they are already in the incline to take off (you may have seen it at Jumuah prayers). When we see someone in such haste, we know that there is some affair that pre-occupied the brother or sister and that it is indeed a weighty matter.
But now lets ask the question, who amongst us would jump like that because they delayed the paying of a voluntary Sadaqah? Who? It is the most God-fearing person who would do so, Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
In Saheeh Bukhari, Uqbah – radi Allahu anhu – narrates,
| I offered the ‘Asr prayer behind the Prophet at Medina. When he had finished the prayer with Taslim, he got up hurriedly and went out by crossing the rows of the people to one of the dwellings of his wives. The people got scared at his speed. The Prophet came back and found the people surprised at his haste and said to them, I remembered a piece of gold lying in my house and I disliked for it to divert my attention from Allah’s worship, so I have ordered it to be distributed (in charity).
In Arabic, the word Zakah carries the connotation of cleanliness, to purify. In Shariah, Zakah deals with Allahs wealth that He gave to His servants. It is the Fard percentage one must impart to whom it is due.
Allah taala teaches us the virtue of Zakah:
|[Take, (O Muhammad – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) from their wealth a charity by which it purifies them and causes them increase.] Surah At-Tawbah 9/103
How does Zakah and charity cleanse someone?
- It bathes their heart from the disease of hypocrisy and doubt.
- It bathes the heart from the disease of stinginess.
- It bathes the remaining wealth with barakah.
- It bathes the good character of the one giving and increases his or her wealth.
As Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – said, Charity never decreases wealth.
When one carefully studies the leadership of the Khulafaa, one will arrive at some amazing pieces of information. After the death of Rasul Allah, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, the Ummah was faced with some who claimed prophethood, men with huge tribes awaiting to fight the Muslims. Then, to a lesser degree, there were tribes who still professed to be Muslim, but they just had a problem with giving Zakah.
The Ummah needed to take action. The seemingly unanimous opinion of the Sahabah was to just leave the we-are-Muslim-minus-Zakah people, and focus on the armies. Abu Bakr, radi Allahu anhu, however, disagreed. I swear by Allah,said Abu Bakr, I shall go to war and fight anyone who attempts to separate Salah from Zakah!Upon hearing this, Umar, radi Allahu anhu, commented, By Allah, at the moment when I saw that Allah had opened the heart of Abu Bakr to this war, I knew that it was the truth.
If I win a million dollars Ill give half to the Masjid!Ever heard that dua before? Allah taala teaches us that the nature of humans is to attach themselves to coins of gold and silver. In fact, they pray day and night for it. In their prayers, they promise that, if they are indeed blessed with the wealth, they will be unselfish with that gift. When the test befalls them, they turn their backs.
And among them are those who made a covenant with Allah, (saying),
| If He should give us from His bounty, we will surely spend in charity, and we will surely be among the righteous.
But when He gave them from His bounty, they were stingy with it and turned away while they refused. So He penalized them with hypocrisy in their hearts until the Day they will meet Him – because they failed Allah in what they promised Him and because they (habitually) used to lie. Surah Tawbah 9/75 78
Yayha ibn Muadh, rahimahullaah, commented
|I have always been amazed at someone who has wealth yet is stingy. His Lord, who gave the wealth to him, requests that he loan part of it to Him and the stingy man says, no.
Zakah is an obligation connected to wealth. When someone delays the paying of Zakah, that obligation directly chains to the individuals neck. In order for them to repent, they must give what Allah made obligatory upon them.
Rasul Allah, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, taught us that when a people hoard wealth and do not give the Zakah, they will be afflicted with a famine.
| There was never a people that refused to give Zakah except that Allah afflicted them with famine. – Bayhaqi
He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, warned us of stinginess because of the destruction it brings.
| Beware of stinginess for verily those who came before you were destroyed because of it. Abu Dawood
And on the Day of Resurrection, the Zakah that was not paid will be a means of punishment for the individual.
|And let not those who (greedily) withhold what Allah has given them of His bounty ever think that it is better for them. Rather, it is worse for them. Their necks will be encircled by what they withheld on the Day of Resurrection. Surah Ali-Imran 3/180
In Sahih Muslim, Abu Hurayrah, radi Allahu anhu, narrates that Rasul Allah, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said,
| If any owner of gold or silver does not pay what is due on him, on the Day of Resurrection, plates of fire shall be molded out for him and heated in the fire of Hell. With it, his sides, his forehead and his back would be cauterized and branded. When the plates cool, (the process is) repeated for a day whose extent is fifty thousand years. Then judgment is pronounced amongst the servants, and he shall see whether his path is to take him to Paradise or to Hell.
The following is a list of items on which one has to pay Zakat:
- Capital Goods
- Fruits and other crops
- Extracted treasures
In a world where most of us do not live a farmers life, we should pay special attention to paying Zakah on the following.
- Monetary savings.
- Gold. According to some scholars, Zakah should be paid on gold, including collections of bridal gold.
- Business inventory. If someone owns a store (as many families do) and they have items in storage awaiting to be sold, they need to pay Zakah on those items. Additionally, it is very common for some families to purchase something in bulk and store it in their homes to be sold at a later date. One must pay Zakah on this also.
- Additional homes one may own with the intention to await for it to increase in value and then sell it.
Abdullaah ibn Masood, radi Allahu anhu, said,
|Store your wealth where no worms will eat, where it cannot be reached by thieves. Store it in Sadaqah.
Umm AlMumineen Aisha, radi Allahu anha, once found a poor woman coming to her along with her two dughters. Aisha, radi Allahu anha, gave her three dates. The woman gave each of the daughters one date and took one for herself. She was about to eat the date when one of her daughters expressed the desire to eat her date. She immediately shared the date among the daughters. This kind treatment impressed Aisha, radi Allahu anha, and she related the whole incident to Rasul Allah, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. After listening to the whole story, Rasul Allah, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said: “Verily, Allah has assured Paradise for her because of this act or has rescued her from the fire of Hell.”
Indeed, not only are we giving Zakah to cleanse ourselves, we give it in order to protect ourselves from Hellfire.
I came across the story of an elderly man who lived most of his life away from his parents and home country. At the time of his death, he wrote in his will his wish that his body be transported back to his parents and back to his home. Before I continue, it must be noted that the Sunnah is that a person should be buried where they die.
As the son narrates,
|At the funeral home, the mortician just finished washing the body. Just the mortician, mom, and I. The mortician said he could transport the body. It was quiet. He calculated the expenses and then looked up, blushing, to tell us the cost. Mom did not understand what he was saying, she just knew it would cost money. Quiet. From her coat pocket she took out dads wallet.
The son wrote the following poem.
| We stared at the wallet for a minute.
Nobody said anything.
All the life had gone out of that wallet.
It was old and rent and soiled.
But it was my dads wallet. And she opened
It and looked inside. Drew out
A handful of money that would go
Toward this last, most astounding, trip.
When Zakah time comes around each year, Imams all across our country are often asked, We dont know of any poor people in our area, can we send the Zakah money overseas? Contemplate this for a moment. Are there no needy people in our communities? Of course there are. And if year after year the Zakah is sent overseas, who will ever take care of the local needy people?
The general principle of Zakah is that it is to be given to the needy of the locality in which it was paid in the first place. As Rasul Allah, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, instructed Muadh when he sent him to Yemen, If they obey you in that (in the Shahadah and then the Salah), then let them know Allah has made obligatory upon them Zakah in their wealth to be taken from their rich and to be given to their needy. Keyword: their needy; the needy of the community in which the wealth was earned.
What it takes from us is to get out there and find out how we can make a difference in our communities. As our communities grow stronger, we will have the strength to assist communities all around the world. When governments have a budget surplus (doesnt happen too often), interest groups fight tooth and nail arguing who gets the money. But with Zakah, Allah taala divided it Himself. No human has a say in giving Zakah money to other then those to whom Allah included.
Now, the commonly known recipients of Zakah are the poor and needy. However, I want to bring your attention to some interesting avenues where we could be investing the Zakah money.
First, al-Muallafat Quloobuhum (those who hearts are very near to accepting Islam). Idea: If we become serious and strong in our dawah efforts, we could use the Zakah money to bring peoples hearts closer to the message of Laa illaha illa Allah, Muhammad ur Rasul Allah.
There is a University in Canada that has a daily Ramadan Iftar of over 700 people! Is everyone Muslim? Who can tell. But, subhan Allah, with all the goodness of feeding the people, the Dean of the University himself sponsored the first Iftar night! Thats the power of Sadaqah when it is distributed properly.
Second, Al-Riqaab (in freeing slaves). Zakah money can be used to free slaves. Here in the USA, as our Ulumaa have mentioned, the patriot act detainees who have been imprisoned for no crime other then a racial profile are also eligible for Zakah from this angle. This is especially necessary because a sufficient legal defense costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. Subhan Allah. Idea: The Zakah money can be used in a legal fund to defend the rights of our brothers imprisoned unjustly.
Third, Ghaarimeen (those in debts). The Zakah money can go towards freeing people from the shackles of debt. Consider the following facts about debt in America.
The average credit card balance is about $7,000.
The average interest rate is nearly 19%.
Late fees are now $25 or higher.
The average household has 10 credit cards.
Almost half the households in America report having difficulty paying their minimum monthly payments, thus making bankruptcy seem unavoidable.
Last year over 1.3 million Americans filed for Bankruptcy, the highest in our nations history.
Credit card companies solicit the average American 7 times a year through the mail.
The average credit card balance would take 25 years to repay if paying the minimum monthly payment.
A word of caution: Zakah money is not to go towards paying off vain debts. Indeed, it is an amazingly powerful thing for ones community members to be out of debt. When they are out of debt, they become active contributors in the community and everyone benefits. To Allah belongs all praise.
In conclusion, stock traders often listen with attentive ears to stock tips: where should they invest. Im going to give you a tip, but not a stock tip. I call it the JannahStock tip© (Khutbah.com).
JannahStock Tip: Our communities, alhamdulillah, are blessed communities that give unselfishly. The reason Zakah is hindered, and Allah knows best, is because of a lack of education and a proper Zakah distribution system. All it takes is for one dedicated leader to establish the Zakah distribution network in your area. Just one leader and all the Zakah will reach those who need it.
If someone does this, all the reward will be theirs! Imagine all the people who will benefit from this distribution network. The pioneer who starts this Zakah distribution will continue to reap the rewards of it even after he or she passes away.
I pray, Allah willing, the blessed leader who creates this local Zakah foundation is YOU! Say Ameen, and go do it!
|Certainly will the believers have succeeded: Those who during their prayer are humbly submissive / And those who turn away from ill speech / And those who are observant of Zakah. Surah 23/1-4