ALMS GIVING (Zakath & Sadaqa) - IMPORTANT WORSHIP OF ISLAM
-MJ Mohammed Iqbal
Self discipline and self control are key notes to all who are observing the days of Ramadhan. Continued hunger for a defined period of hours pulverizes the carnal passion in man, and when he feels that he is refraining from the prohibitions at the behest of Almighty, he is less and less inclined towards the appetites of the flesh and in ordinate passion and becomes caster for him to control the beast in him and brings his desire under the governance of reason. Also he is spiritually enlightened understand the poverty, sufferings of poor, distressed and needy fellowmen and his mind is induced to help towards them. This divine is activated in him in such a way that he can much understand about the relation between human beings.
One of the important forms of worship in Islam is Zakaath, and Almighty placed Zakaat next to prayer. Allah says in many places repeatedly in Holy Quran: “Keep up prayer and pay Zakaat.” Zakaat means purification. It was made compulsory on the first Ramadhan month in second year of Hijra.
Zakaat is the purification of impurities. The great Islamic scholar who contributed more on Islamic thoughts and Prophet’s (PBUH) sunnah, Imam Ghazzali said: “There are three reasons for its being a pillar of Islam. The first reason is to appreciate the oneness of God. The next is to be pure from miserliness. And the third is to express gratefulness for the gifts of God, as God’s gifts on His servants are unbounded.
The Qur'an continuously brings men's attention to the fact that wealth is only God's, and that man is no more than a proxy of God in supervising it; consequently, man had better not disobey God regarding the trust put under his charge.
People are requested to spend of the wealth that God has bestowed upon them, and for the management of which they have to succeed one another as God has planned. The fact is that wealth is not theirs, for they act only as proxies who have been assigned by God to manage it: "Spend (in charity) out of the (wealth) whereof He hath made you heirs" (Al-Qur'an 57: 7). "And spend something (in charity) out of the wealth which We have bestowed on you, before Death should come to any of you and he should say, 'O my Lord! Why didst thou not give me respite for a little while? I should then have given (largely) in charity, and I should have been one of the righteous' " (Al-Qur'an 62: 10). "Yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which God hath given to you" (Al-Qur'an 24: 33).
Zazarath Abu Zarr, one of the companions of Holy Prophet (PBUH), said: “I came to Holy Prophet (PBUH) who was seated in the shade of Ka’ba. He said to me, by the lord of the Ka’ba, they are undone. I asked, Who are they?” Prophet (PBUH) replied: Those who increase their wealth and not those who spend in the path of Almighty, . Those who have got camels, cattle, sheep and goats and who don’t pay their Zakaat will meet these animals inhuge forms on the resurrection day. These animal will attack them with their horns and will tread upon them by their hoofs. If one party finishes and other party will come. This will continue till the people are brought for judgement." [Hadees – Buhari & Muslim]
“Oh! Rich human the money you earned, the money which gives you title as rich, philanthropist are not yours”, the Imam, Jamaliya Seyed Khaleel Awn Moulana El Hasaniyul Hashimiy, advised, “Never think that it belongs to you. The money you have stocked in rows are all come out from the sweat and blood of poor and destitute; if you crush and twist the money you had, you would find the flow of blood of poor and destitute. This is not your money, it belong to Almighty only; you never take pride in your possession, be careful; please take care of the poor; be afraid of Almighty Allah,and He is capable of retrieving what He bestowed as He desires.So refrain from pride of wealth and excesive desire of it,and utilise it in an orderly way".
The Qur'an urges people towards the acts of charity and creates their interest in such acts in an attractive way. For instance, Allah says: "Who is he that will lend God a goodly loan, which God will double unto his credit and multiply many times? It is God that giveth (you) Want or Plenty, and to Him shall be your return" (Al-Qur'an 2: 245).
Abu Musa (rali) Narrated: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Every Muslim has to give in charity, The people asked, “O Allah’s Prophet! If someone has nothing to give, what will he do?” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked, “If he cannot do even that?” Prophet replied, “He should help the needy who appeal for help.” Then the people asked, “If he cannot do that?” Prophet replied, “Then he should perform all that is good [i.e enjoin Al-Maruf (Islamic monotheism, and all that Islam has ordained)] and keep away from all that is evil [i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and all that Islam has forbidden] and this will be regarded as charitable deeds.
Holy Prophet (PBUH) said even courtesy is a charity and in this kind of charity poor and needy can also participate and in simple words it is nothing but sympathy and fellow feeling,removing a stone,or thorn,or bone etc also coming under charity. On the authority of Abu Huraira that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said : Seven are (the persons) whom Allah would give protection with his shade on the Day, when there would be no shade but that of him (ie. On the Day of Judgement, and they are): The just leader, a youth who grew up with the worship of Allah, a man whose heart is attached to the mosques, two persons who love and meet each other and depart from each other for the sake of Almighty, a man whom a beautiful woman of high rank seduces him (for illicit relation), but he (rejects this often by saying): “I fear Allah”, a man who gives charity and conceals it that the right hand does not now what the left has given, and man who remembered Allah in privacy and his eyes shed tears.
Abu Huraira (rali) narrated: A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and asked, “ O Allah’s Messenger which charity is the most superior in reward?” Prophet Replied “The charity which you practise while you are healthy, niggardly and afraid of poverty and wish to become wealthy. Do not delay in to the time of approaching death and then say, ‘Give so much to such and such, and so much to such and such (And it has already belonged to such and such (his heirs)
All the scholars especially western people wonder the emphasizes of Zakath to the great extent of significance by Islam. By the laws of Islam, every individual who is wealthy is bound to contribute a certain part of his wealth towards the help and assistance of this poorer, neighbourers and needy. The amount is one part of forty i.e 21/2 % (Two and Half percentage) on the value of all goods, chattels, emblements on profits of trade, mercantile business, etc. Also one should note that alms are due only when the property amounts to a certain value and has been in the possession of a person for one whole year nor are any due from cattle employed in agriculture or in the carrying of burdens. The second name for Zakaat is ‘Sadaqah’ which means free will offering which Generally applied all kinds of bodily and monetary assistance and acts of piety. A person who helps others in need is one of the most useful kinds of people,and Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) declares”.The people most loved by Almighty are those who are most useful.The deeds most loved by ALMIGHTY are happiness brpought to people,helping to relieve hardship from him,paying dept for him,or driving away his hunger. Helping a brother (deserved one)in the religion of Peace (ISLAM) is dearer to me than doing iktikaf(spending time to worship) for one month in a masjid”.
Hence,Zakath is one of the foundations for establishing social justice ordered by Almighty, taught and practiced by Holy Prophet (PBUH) towards achieving generosity and magnanimity and the ultimate goal is nothing but to achieve peace and love. Economic Experts say that the zakaat, if properly exercised, and implemented, it would eliminate poverty and enhance prosperousness in the modern world
Courtesy: Gulf Today