In the year before the farewell Hajj, Rasul Allah -
sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam - sent a group of Muslims on the Hajj with Abu Bakr as their Ameer. At the Ka’bah, there
were still some Mushrikeen performing Hajj and some performing Tawaf naked. Abu Bakr’s mission - radi Allaahu ‘anhu
- was to prepare Makkah for the Hajj of Rasul Allah, sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam.
Allah’s Messenger - sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam
- sent Surah Bara’ah (disassociation), the 9th Surah in the Qur’an, 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 Talib’s position amongst
the Quraysh, he was given the task to announce the Surah.
Surah Bara’ah, 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 Qur’an was the Islamic state’s
declaration of legislation! Ali ibn Abee Talib, radi Allaahu ‘anhu, continued to recite until he reached the words of
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 Allaahu
‘anhu, said, “I pledged allegiance to the Prophet – sal Allaahu 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 believer’s 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 ta’ala 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 Jumu’ah 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 let’s 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 Allaahu alayhi wa sallam.
In Saheeh Bukhari, Uqbah - radi Allaahu ‘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 Arabic, the word Zakah carries the connotation of
cleanliness, to purify. In Shari’ah, Zakah deals with Allah’s wealth that He gave to His servants. It is the Fard
percentage one must impart to whom it is due.
Allah ta’ala teaches us the virtue of Zakah:
[Take, (O Muhammad - sal Allaahu 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?
1. It bathes their heart from the disease of hypocrisy
2. It bathes the heart from the disease of stinginess.
3. 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 Allaahu 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 Allaahu 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 Allaahu
‘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 Allaahu ‘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 I’ll give half
to the Masjid!” Ever heard that dua before? Allah ta’ala 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 Mu’adh, 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 Allaahu 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 Allaahu 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 Allaahu ‘anhu,
narrates that Rasul Allah, sal Allaahu 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
ˇ Capital Goods
ˇ Fruits and other crops
ˇ Extracted treasures
In a world where most of us do not live a farmer’s
life, we should pay special attention to paying Zakah on the following.
ˇ Monetary savings.
ˇ Gold. According to some scholars,
Zakah should be paid on gold, including collections of bridal gold.
ˇ 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.
ˇ Additional homes one may own with the intention to await for it to increase in value and then
Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood, radi Allahu ‘anhu,
said, “Store your wealth where no worms will eat, where it cannot be reached by thieves. Store it in Sadaqah.”
Umm AlMu’mineen Aisha, radi Allaahu ‘anha,
once found a poor woman coming to her along with her two dughters. Aisha, radi Allaahu ‘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 Allaahu ‘anha, and she related the whole incident to Rasul Allah, sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam. After listening
to the whole story, Rasul Allah, sal Allaahu 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 dad’s wallet.”
The son wrote the following poem.
We stared at the wallet for a minute.
All the life had gone out of that wallet.
It was old and rent and soiled.
But it was my dad’s wallet.
And she opened
It and looked inside. Drew out
A handful of money that would go
Toward this last, most astounding,
When Zakah time comes around each year, Imams all across
our country are often asked, “We don’t 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 Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, instructed
Mu’adh 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 (doesn’t happen too often), interest groups fight tooth
and nail arguing who gets the money. But with Zakah, Allah ta’ala 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
First, al-Mu’allafat Quloobuhum (those who hearts
are very near to accepting Islam). Idea: If we become serious and strong in our da’wah efforts, we could use the Zakah
money to bring people’s 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! That’s the power of Sadaqah when it is distributed
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.
ˇ The average credit card balance is about $7,000.
The average interest rate is nearly 19%.
ˇ Late fees are now $25 or higher.
ˇ The average household has 10 credit cards.
ˇ Almost half the households in America report having difficulty paying their minimum monthly payments, thus making bankruptcy
ˇ Last year over 1.3 million Americans filed for Bankruptcy, the highest in our nations’ history.
ˇ Credit card companies solicit the average American 7 times a year through the mail.
ˇ 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 one’s 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. I’m going to give you a tip, but not a stock tip. I call it the JannahStock
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.