FOURTH PILLAR: Zakat is no casual act of charity but an institution that maintains balance in the society
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” – Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith.
Come blessed month of Ramazan, and Zakat naturally comes to our mind. People like me often shell out some money in the name of charity, but without knowing how much was to be the almsgiving, to whom and how? Though a world acclaimed fact that ‘Ignorance to law is no excuse’, we tend to be ignorant about the divine laws, which in Islam are based on Quran and Hadith. So in the light of the two, let’s try to realize our role in almsgiving: Zakat.
Zakat and 2.5 % factor
Zakat comes next to Salat (Prayers). In Quran, Zakat alongside Salat (prayer) is mentioned in 30 verses. It was first revealed in Surah Al-Muzzammil 73:20:
“…. and establish regular prayers and give regular charity; and loan to God a beautiful loan. And whatever good ye send forth for your souls, ye shall find it in God’s presence, Yea, better and greater in reward and seek ye the grace of God: for God is oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”
The literal meaning of Zakat is to “Purify”: It refers to the purification of believer’s wealth and even soul. Zakat is financial spending in the way of Allah (SWT). Zakat has to be paid annually on the net balance of assets after spending on issues like basic necessities and even taxes (Tax cannot be clubbed with Zakat). Every Muslim who at the end of Hijri year possesses the equivalent of 85 grams of gold or more in cash or articles of trade, must pay Zakat at the minimum rate of 2.5 %.
2.5% is 2.5%: Anything less is bound to leave our earnings simply impure. And Allah has announced painful punishment for the offenders. In Surah Tauba, He says: “Those who lay up treasures of gold and silver and spend them not in the way of God; give them the news of a painful punishment, on the Day when that (wealth) will be heated in hellfire, and their foreheads and their sides and their backs branded therewith:
“This is the treasure which you laid up for yourselves! Taste, then, your hoarded treasure!” (9:34-35).
Zakat is payable only on the assets – acquired for creating or generating wealth when they exceed a minimum value. This minimum value –called Nisab – calculation –is based on the market price of 85 grams of gold or 595 grams of pure silver. Many Ulema recommend that gold be used as the standard for the Nisab calculation, to be done annually, as per the Islamic calendar.
Holy Quran in Surah Tauba (9:60) classifies the eligible recipients of Zakat under eight categories, saying:
“Zakat is for the poor, and the needy and those who are employed to administer and collect it, and the new converts, and for those who are in bondage, and in debt and service of the cause of God, and for the wayfarers, a duty ordained by God, and God is the All-Knowing, the Wise”.
Only from honest earningsZakat has to be only from honest earnings. And rewards are manifold. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “If someone gives as charity so much as the equivalent of a single date from honest earnings – and God accepts only what is honest – God takes it in the Right Hand, then makes it increase for the one responsible, just as one of you raises foal, until it becomes as big as a mountain.”
The bottom- line
Volumes and volumes of any books or web pages, as we have millions of them, authored by human, would be too little to throw light on any of the words of Allah or Prophet Muhammad (SAW). But the visible benefits of almsgiving, even at the face of it look so immense that if we all bearing Muslim names religiously give Zakat, the way we have been directed to, the day is not far when poverty will be eradicated from the globe. And this charity, which literally means purity, is bound to bring prosperity for the life and the hereafter!… continue reading at greaterkashmir.com