I begin in the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation. May Allah extol the mention of the Prophet in the highest company of Angels and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family, his Companions and all those who follow him exactly until the Day of Judgement.
Respected brothers and sisters! Know that Islam is a religion that gives the message of love and peace. It wants its followers to live in peace and harmony in the world along with people of other religions, and assist each other in making the world a better place. It is this moto of making the world a better place and helping others that Islam emphasises on charity.
In Islam, charity holds such a great place that it is an obligation on Muslims in the form of Zakah. In Islam, Zakah is one of the major pillars of Islam, and those who are wealthy enough, for them it is mandatory to give Zakah. However, when it comes to paying Zakah, there are different misconceptions that are prevalent among Muslims. In Shaa Allah, the lines below discuss the importance of Zakah in Islam and the general misconceptions people have regarding it:
My beloved people! In Islam, Zakah is the fourth pillar. Zakah refers to purification in general and purification of wealth in particular, therefore, those Muslims who have wealth over a certain ratio, they are liable to pay Zakah on it and give it to those who are less fortunate and don’t have sufficient means to live their life in a standard way.
Pertaining to the question of Zakah, the skeptic ones ask the question that why do they have to pay from their hard-earned money and wealth to the others? The answer to which is as follows:
Besides the fact that Zakah is an obligation and fulfillment of it leads to a Muslim getting reward from Allah Almighty and intentional swerving from it leads to a Muslim receiving punishment from Him, there are other reasons which one can find pertaining to the importance of Zakah as follows:
1. Helps in Building The Society – The first benefit of Zakah is that it helps those in the society who are less fortunate. If one class of society keeps on gathering all the money and does not provide anything to anyone else, then the rest would stay in the same plight and the society would be distributed in sections. Therefore, when the wealthy of the society give Zakah, it means that the ones, who are non-wealthy, get a chance to enjoy a better lifestyle.
2. Circulation of Money – The second thing that Zakah brings to table pertaining to its being an obligation is the fact that it leads to circulation of money. Zakah is a form of charity and any charitable deed means that the money gets out of the hands of the ones who are already filthy rich with it. Thus, this way the money gets out of the circle of a few people and circulates in the whole economy.
3. Develops a Sense of Sacrificing – Thirdly, Zakah also gives and teaches the message of sacrifice. Wealth is perhaps one of the major elements which people love the most. Therefore, when a person gives from his or her wealth, it actually means that he or she loves the order of Allah Almighty more than their personal liking and they are willing to sacrifice the thing they love for the order of Allah the Magnificent.
In Quran, Allah Almighty says:
“The alms are only for the Fuqara (the poor), and Al-Masakin (the needy) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s cause, and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.” [Qur’an, 9:60]
From this Qur’anic verse (Ayah), the following people who deserve Zakah can be extracted:
1. The Poor – These are the people who don’t have means to live their life properly and live below the line of poverty.
2. The Needy – These people are also poor, however, because of their pride and bashfulness they don’t expose their poverty.
3. The Collectors – These are the people who are given the duty of collection of Zakah from other people, however, they themselves can’t afford to live a normal life.
4. The New Converts – People who convert to Islam are also eligible as Zakah recipients as with their conversion to Islam they need assistance and help for a new start in life.
5. To Free Slaves – The money of Zakah can also be spent on freeing the slaves as well.
6. To Help Someone Pay Debt – Those who are in debt and can’t afford to pay it off on their own are also eligible for Zakah.
7. In Cause Of Allah – Zakah can also be given to people and scholars who strive in the way of Allah, especially in the form of fighting the usurpers.
8. For Travelers – Zakah can also be given to the travelers and wayfarers as they might need the money when it comes to travel arrangements.
Respected servants of Allah! Besides the major misconceptions of Zakah, Muslims often find it difficult to calculate the amount of Zakah liable upon their possessions. There are many ways one can adopt to calculate the charity amount, however, the one which nowadays seems much reliable is to use a Zakah calculator. Zakah calculators are often especially designed by taking all necessary measurements in control that help in knowing the amount accurately. If you are one looking to calculate the total amount of charity on your personal belongings, you can contact your scholars for more useful explanations.
Dear brothers and sisters! There are several misconceptions related to Zakah that have become prevalent among Muslims. In Shaa Allah the lines below address those misconceptions and give the true version of them:
The first misconception that people have pertaining to Zakah is that it is to be paid in the month of Ramadan only. Although Ramadan is a month of being charitable, however, it in no way means that a Muslim must pay Zakah in this month only. Rather, the time when a Muslim becomes liable for paying Zakah, a year from that time is the time frame within which Zakah is to be paid. Therefore, the duration of year is what needs to be kept in mind and not the month of Ramadan for giving Zakah.
The second misconception that Zakah is only and only liable on the Halal earnings of a person, therefore, there is no chance that Zakah can be relied upon as a means of purifying the wrongly earned wealth. Hence, it is only liable on Halal earned wealth and should be paid on it only.
The third misconception related to Zakah is that it is only liable on gold. It is wrong. The gold mentioned in Qur’an and Hadith is as a standard unit of measurement, therefore, anything whether its cash, silver, stocks, livestock, property or another asset that is worth the same amount as the gold mentioned by Islam, it is liable for Zakah.
The general misconception is that it is the husbands who are liable for paying Zakah for the jewelly of their wife. It is wrong, and as jewelry is the personal property of the wife, therefore, she must pay its Zakah and if she is unable to do so then she needs to sell the jewelry to pay Zakah or until the jewelry is below the level of being liable for Zakah. However, if the husband is willing to pay Zakah on behalf of the wife, he can do so, but it is not mandatory on the husband.
The other misconception among people is that they think that Zakah is liable only on the wealth that is in excess of the requisite amount of wealth. They believe that the requisite amount gets exempted once one reaches it and anything in excess is Zakah deductible. It is also wrong, and all of the wealth becomes Zakah deductible once one reaches its requisite figure.
Some Muslims think that they cannot give Zakah to their poor relatives as they are a part of their family. The relatives who are not in blood relation with you such as parents, spouse, children, and siblings, any relative other than that is eligible for Zakah and should be paid Zakah.
My people! In a nutshell, Zakah is a mandatory tenant of Islam and the objective of it is to help the society share the bounties of Allah and give a chance to the unfortunate ones at a better life. Therefore, every Muslim must gain knowledge about Zakah and ensure that it be paid to the deserving people.
And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.
I ask Allah the Most High to strengthen us in this blessed month of Ramadan, accept our fasts, and reward us with His forgiveness and the highest place in Paradise. Ameen.
Written by your brother, Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. The Imam can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.