Charity always holds an important place in Islam and it has made it an obligation on Muslims who are wealthy. The compulsory form of charity is known as ‘Zakat’ in Islam. Zakat is Farz to the Muslims who are economically capable of donate it. The Almighty Allah mentioned in Quran, “Take away from their wealth so that you might purify and sanctify them.” [The Quran 9.103]
Zakat is given on both of wealth and body (referred as Fitra). The amount of Zakat, known as Nisab is calculated in the total savings amount of wealth of a Muslim in one year. The 2.5% (1/40th) of the saved amount of a wealthy Muslim should be donated as Zakat. Fitra is a fixed amount, calculated every year on every person depending on economic state of world market. Zakat is distributed among 8 Asnaf (categories) of people who are mentioned by our messenger. Allah has mentioned that it is their right to get from the rich Muslims.
What is Zakat?
Zakat is the way of purifying our earnings and make them Halal (valid). Unless the recommended portion of our wealth is donated that doesn’t become Halal for Muslims. It shows our devotion to our God when we are ready to sacrifice our substances just in his order. Charity pleases Allah a lot and he declares great reward in return. Allah, the all-powerful said, “Those who spend their money in cause of God, then do not follow their charity with insult or harm, will receive their recompense from their Lord; they have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.” [The Quran 2.262]
Charity brings the servants closer to his creator and helps to strengthen beliefs. Taqwa or belief is the foremost condition of being a Muslim. This proves our acts of worship with the heartiest devotion. This gratifies Allah so much that he removes the minor sins of us. Our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Giving charity wipes away sins just as water extinguishes the fire.” [At Al-Bukhari]
Zakat helps to reach us at the top rank of believers. Allah has mentioned in Quran, “Who believe in the unseen, observe the contact prayers and form our provisions to them, they give to charity.” [The Quran 2.3]. He also added, “Who do not give the obligatory charity and with regard to the hereafter, they are disbelievers.” [The Quran 41.7]
Importance of Zakat
The importance of Zakat can easily be understood from recitation of Quran with meaning. More than 30 verses are stated about Zakat in Quran and every time with the mention of Salat. Allah stated on Quran, “You shall observe the contact prayers and give the obligatory charity (Zakat). Any good you send forth on behalf of your souls, you will find it at Allah. Allah is seer of everything you do.” [The Quran 2.177]
Our given charity will pay-off in the day of Resurrection. Allah and his messenger has always declared the reward of charity in different times. In Quran it is said, “Any charity you give, or a charitable pledge you fulfill, God is fully aware thereof. As for the wicked, they will have no helpers.” [The Quran 2.270]
Prophet (pbuh) said, “Every man will be in the shade of his charity on the day of Resurrection.” [At Ahmad]
Zakat purifies our heart and character. It helps to get rid of the habit of misery and we be able to follow the honorable path. Zakat also has many social benefits. Habit of charity helps to remove poverty from our society and country. It develops the brotherhood among Muslims and the practice of helping each other in need. Zakat dispels the feeling of being low and unaccepted in society from the hearts of poor and needy people.
Zakat is a mandatory practice and is the fourth pillar of Islam. It is the duty of every true Muslim to serve his family, society and country. In order to help the poor and needy people Muslims should develop the habit of generosity and charity. It helps to improve himself both as spiritually and socially.