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Monday, April 25, 2022

The Barakah of paying Zakat - the Mandatory Charitable Contribution

No two men are born equal, whether in position, possession of wealth and health. The have nots always look upon those who are blessed to live their lives in some level of comfort. And are thus dependent on charity of the rich for which they have to really beg for alms and charity. This may be for some, but many due to their inborn dignity may not extend their hand in front of others. 

Islam however has established the concept of Zakat, a mandatory charitable contribution from those who have more than enough of their needs to give out to those in needs. In an Islamic state, such contributions are collected under the arrangements of state and then given out to the needy regularly so that they live comfortably.  

At many places in Qur'an, believers have been instructed to pay Zakat so that a true welfare Islamic state could be established.  Zakat is found in the early Medinan surahs and described as obligatory for Muslims. For example, the 177th verse of Surah 2. Al Baqarah comprehensively explains the giving of Zakat by those who have enough for their Muslim brethren:

لَيۡسَ الۡبِرَّ اَنۡ تُوَلُّوۡا وُجُوۡهَكُمۡ قِبَلَ الۡمَشۡرِقِ وَ الۡمَغۡرِبِ وَلٰـكِنَّ الۡبِرَّ مَنۡ اٰمَنَ بِاللّٰهِ وَالۡيَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ وَالۡمَلٰٓـئِکَةِ وَالۡكِتٰبِ وَالنَّبِيّٖنَ​ۚ وَاٰتَى الۡمَالَ عَلٰى حُبِّهٖ ذَوِى الۡقُرۡبٰى وَالۡيَتٰمٰى وَالۡمَسٰكِيۡنَ وَابۡنَ السَّبِيۡلِۙ وَالسَّآئِلِيۡنَ وَفِى الرِّقَابِ​ۚ وَاَقَامَ الصَّلٰوةَ وَاٰتَى الزَّکٰوةَ ​ ۚ وَالۡمُوۡفُوۡنَ بِعَهۡدِهِمۡ اِذَا عٰهَدُوۡا ۚ وَالصّٰبِرِيۡنَ فِى الۡبَاۡسَآءِ وَالضَّرَّآءِ وَحِيۡنَ الۡبَاۡسِؕ اُولٰٓـئِكَ الَّذِيۡنَ صَدَقُوۡا ؕ وَاُولٰٓـئِكَ هُمُ الۡمُتَّقُوۡنَ‏ 
(2:177) Righteousness does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or towards the west;175 true righteousness consists in believing in Allah and the Last Day, the angels, the Book and the Prophets, and in giving away one’s property in love of Him to one’s kinsmen, the orphans, the poor and the wayfarer, and to those who ask for help, and in freeing the necks of slaves, and in establishing Prayer and dispensing the Zakah. True righteousness is attained by those who are faithful to their promise once they have made it and by those who remain steadfast in adversity and affliction and at the time of battle (between Truth and falsehood). Such are the truthful ones; such are the God-fearing.

The mention of Zakat is also found at other places such as mentioned below:
And We made them leaders guiding by Our command. And We inspired to them the doing of good deeds, establishment of prayer, and giving of zakat; and they were worshippers of Us. (Surah 21 Al Anbiya:73)

“Zakat is for the poor and the needy; and those employed to administer the funds; for those whose hearts have been recently reconciled to Truth; for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer. It is ordained by Allah and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. "(Surah 9. Tawba, verse 60

Zakat means increase and barakah: That is to say that whoever pays Zakat will have his wealth multiplied not only in this world, but his rewards will be multiplied in the life in the hereafter. In fact Zakat is given for the sake of salvation. Muslims believe those who give zakat can expect reward from God in the afterlife, while neglecting to give zakat can result in damnation. Zakat is considered part of the covenant between God and a Muslim. 

Zakat is a means of compulsory redistribution of wealth in a way that reduces differences between classes and groups, thus preventing the many social disorders from which Communist and Western societies alike suffer, no less than contemporary Muslim societies that have neglected zakat. Moreover, zakat is a means of establishing justice indirectly. It rectifies whatever wrongs, injustices or means of exploitation in trading and industrial relations that have arisen. This may explain the fact that it is called a "right" rather than "charity", or an act of beneficence. Zakah also facilitates the proper direction of purchasing power in society. It transfers part of the power of consumption, which may be used extravagantly to fulfill a proper function in the lives of those who need it. [3]

Generally it is observed that we are prone to extravagance (Israf), that is spending more than needed. If we analyze, the extra money spent which could have been curtailed could mean a whole day meal for a poor family. Instead this money should be paid as Zakat for it not will not only fulfill needs of needy but will also add to our Barakah.

Many Muslim philanthropists and even ordinary men make the Zakat contribution individually, due  to which equal distribution of Zakat cannot be ensured nor it reaches all needy believers. Islamic states must ensure central collection of Zakat so that equal and just distribution can be ensured'

Please watch the video below on the issue by Wahiduddin Khan, who explains how Zakat will bring Barakah to us and how it will be instrumental in adding rewards for us in the life in the hereafter: 
Maulana Waheeduddin Ahmed an Islamic scholar and peace activist known for having written a commentary on the Quran and having translated it into contemporary English and talking on issues related to Islam:

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the video above are that of the concerned scholar . We have shared these view as added information in better understanding of Islam. The reader may or may not agree with the view owing to their own perception. If any one differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

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For more Scholarly views and videos, please read our reference page: Scholars' Viewpoint on Important Issues Related to Islam.

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