Zakat is a form of sadaqah or alms giving

Zakat is a form of sadaqah or alms giving

Its name means “to purify,” and it must be given to specific recipients to complete the act of worship. It is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be paid on all surplus wealth that has been kept for a complete lunar year (Arabic: “Hijra”) after having first deducted any outstanding debts someone may owe. One may give Zakat privately or publicly without any humiliating rituals connected with it. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no divinity but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger; performing the prayers; paying the sadaqah (zakat); making a pilgrimage to the House if you have the means to do so, and fasting in Ramadan .” (Bukhari)

There are several kinds of people who deserve one’s Zakat, such as Muslims who are poor or ill, those whose hearts need “softening” through reminding them that there is a Creator to whom they will have to answer, slaves who wish to buy their freedom from slavery, those engaged in jihad, travelers needing money for sustenance along their journey, debtors and others.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no divinity but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger; performing the prayers; paying the zakat; making a pilgrimage to the House if you have the means to do so, and fasting in Ramadan .” (Bukhari)

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The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also said: “On this day [the annual Festival of Sacrifice], all good things are permissible.” (Muslim) As a result, it is a divinely ordained duty for Muslims everywhere to distribute a percentage of their wealth as Zakat to those who deserve it from those eligible recipients mentioned above. It should also be pointed out that Allah has placed no hardship on anyone regarding either giving or receiving Zakat. Zakat purifies both the giver and the recipient. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Zakat is a purifier for the one who gives it, just as salt purifies what is put into it.” (Muslim)

On this subject, Imam al-Ghazali wrote in his book Ihya Ulum-id-Din that “To give away Zakat when it is due is binding upon every Muslim man or woman according to their means. This applies only to the Zakat of wealth, not to Zakat ul Fitr, nor to Zakat ul Adhhan [the expenses incurred by announcing the Islamic call to prayer], nor to any other kind of Zakat.” So, whether one can give more or not, it is still incumbent upon every Muslim to give the obligatory amount of Zakat each year.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no divinity but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger; performing the prayers; paying the zakat; making a pilgrimage to the House if you have the means to do so, and fasting in Ramadan .” (Bukhari)

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A hadith narrated by Abu Dhar al-Ghifari tells us about an encounter between himself and some “People of The Book” before his conversion to Islam. They asked him what he would like for himself when he became a Muslim. He replied that he would like them to teach him something which might benefit him in this world and the next. They said, “Yes, well, let us tell you something which you must believe in and do.” He asked what it was they wished to instruct him about. They said: “You must believe in Allah alone, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, that you should offer prayers perfectly five times every day; pay the Zakat of your wealth; fast during Ramadan; go on pilgrimage if you are able to do so.”

This demonstrates canas one of the first things taught to newly-converted Muslims by their non-Muslim neighbors who were People of The Book before the coming of Islam. People were familiar with the concept, but not necessarily that it was instituted as a compulsory act upon all believers capable of giving it.

One should know that Allah has made the payment of Zakat obligatory both for one’s benefit and for the sake of others. Imam al-Ghazali said in his Ihya Ulum-id-Din: “It is necessary to pay Zakat because poverty is an ugly thing which disfigures man’s true image. Zakat purifies wealth and increases it manifold, while poverty leads to many evil consequences.”

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Donate your Zakat here: https://www.sktwelfare.org/ramadan/pay-your-zakat/

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