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The Importance of Zakat
Where Does our Earning Come from?Why is there such a stark warning for not paying Zakat? We need to think about where does our earning come from, whether we earn it through business, through employment, or through farming, Did we have the power by ourselves to earn that income? If we did, why do so many people who work equally as hard are unable to earn the same amount? It is the system set up by Allah Ta’alah that provides sustenance to everyone through it
The Distribution of Jobs is from Allah Ta’alahIt is the system set up by Allah Ta’alah which sends customers to a shop. Was there ever a conference organized in which it was decided that so many people will sell rice, so many will sell clothes, and so many will sell shoes? No such conference has ever been organized, rather it is Allah Ta’alah who put it in someone’s mind to sell shoes, someone’s mind to sell meat, and someone’s mind to sell clothes, so that everyone’s needs can be met. Then Allah Ta’alah put the thought in buyers’ minds to go and buy these items from these people, to provide them with their sustenance. Such is the system set up by Allah Ta’alah which is providing income to everyone.
Who Grows the Crops from EarthAll a farmer can do is to plant the seeds and water them. But that seed grows into a sapling, which is extremely delicate but pierces hard soil to come out. It then braves the hot or cold weather, braves the wind, and then grows into a plant. That plant then grows fruits or vegetables which in some cases travel to the four comers of the world, Is there a human being who can guarantee when he puts the seeds in that this whole process will happen successfully? It is only Allah Ta’alah who can make that delicate seed into a fully grown plant, tree or a crop
Everything Belongs to Allah Ta’alahHuman beings can make limited effort only. They cannot create anything. For example, they can put the seeds in but have no control whether the crop will grow or not, It is Allah Ta’alah who creates things and then grants them to human beings. Whatever we have actually belongs to Allah Ta’alah. In the Holy Quran Allah Ta’alah says;
لِّلَّهِ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ
To Allah ˹alone˺ belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. (2:284)
Everything We Have is a Blessing from Allah Ta’alahAnd after granting all these material possessions to us Allah Ta’alah declared that we were the owners of these things too, In Surah al-Yaseen Allah Ta’alah says;
أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا۟ أَنَّا خَلَقْنَا لَهُم مِّمَّا عَمِلَتْ أَيْدِينَآ أَنْعَـٰمًا فَهُمْ لَهَا مَـٰلِكُونَ
Did they not see that We have created for them cattle, among things made (directly) by Our hands, and then they become their owners? (36:71)
Only Two and a Half PercentIf we truly believe that whatever wealth we have has been granted to us by Allah Ta’alah, then if Allah Ta’alah had ordered us to keep two and a half percent of it, and give 97.% percent of it away in Allah Ta’alah’s way, it would have not been unfair since it all belongs to Allah Ta’alah anyway. However, Allah Ta’alah has shown kindness to His subjects because of our natural attraction towards wealth and told us that as long as we spend 2.5% of it in Allah Ta’alah’s way, the rest of the 97.5 % is Halal and pure for us and will be a source of blessing for us.
Quranic Commandment about ZakatIn the Holy Quran Allah Ta’alah has said multiple times;
وَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُوا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ
And be steadfast in Salāh (prayer), and pay Zakāh
Zakat Should Be Calculated CarefullyIn a Hadith, we learn that if Zakat gets mixed with a person’s wealth (meaning that they didn’t calculate their Zakat properly, and therefore didn’t pay all that was due) then that wealth becomes a source of great harm for them. That is why Zakat should be calculated and given very carefully Alhamdulillah most Muslims take out Zakat but some are not diligent in calculating it and pay an approximate amount. If they pay more than what was due, then InshaAllah they will be fine, but if they pay less, then that unpaid Zakat will contaminate their entire wealth
The Worldly Benefits of ZakatZakat should be paid primarily because it is one of the commandments of Allah Ta’alah, and is an act of worship (Ibadah), Whether we get any material benefit because of extracting Zakat or not, is not the point. The primary purpose is to obey Allah Ta’alah, and to try to please Him. However, it is Allah Ta’alah’s kindness when a person takes out Zakat from their wealth, Allah Ta’alah showers them with material blessings as well. In the Holy Quran Allah Tatalah says;
يَمْحَقُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلرِّبَوٰا۟ وَيُرْبِى ٱلصَّدَقَـٰتِ
Allah destroys interest and gives increase for charities.
مَا مِنْ يَوْمٍ يُصْبِحُ الْعِبَادُ فِيهِ إِلاَّ مَلَكَانِ يَنْزِلاَنِ فَيَقُولُ أَحَدُهُمَا اللَّهُمَّ أَعْطِ مُنْفِقًا خَلَفًا، وَيَقُولُ الآخَرُ اللَّهُمَّ أَعْطِ مُمْسِكًا تَلَفًا
“Every day two angels come down from Heaven and one of them says, ‘O Allah! Compensate every person who spends in Your Cause,’ and the other (angel) says, ‘O Allah! Destroy every miser.’ “
مَا نَقَصَتْ صَدَقَةٌ مِنْ مَالٍ
“Charity does not diminish wealth”
The Meaning of Barakah (Blessing)These days our worldly success or failure is measured in numbers. The person who earns more in numbers is presumed to be more successful than the person who earns less. People do not understand the meaning of Barakah (blessing). Barakah means that a little amount suffices for a lot of benefit. For example, a person earned a lot of income. However, his son fell ill. He then had to take his son to the hospital for expensive treatment and he ended up spending more than they had earned. It means that there was no Barakah in his income.
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