Zakaat is a monetary devotion and an ibaadat that has been ordained in the Shariats of all the Ambiya (Peace be upon them). Zakaat is one of the five pillars of Islam.
Zakaat literally means to increase. Technically it means to purify one’s portion of wealth by distributing a prescribed amount which has to be given to the poor as a fundamental Ibaadat. Zakaat is not a governmental tax, but its main purpose is to keep those who are wealthy clean monetarily from sins.
Zakaat was made compulsory at Makkah at the same time as Salaat. This can be seen in the Surahs of the Qur’an where the laws of Zakaat are mentioned. The amount, distributed, etc., was defined at Madinah in the second year Hijri.
The Virtues of Zakaat:
Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an: “Allah destroys wealth obtained from interest and will give increase for deed for charity.” ( Surah Baqarah: 276)
Prophet Mohammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) has said:
The nation that does not give Zakaat, Allah will bring about a drought on them (i.e. necessities of life will become scarce).
The person on whom Allah has bestowed wealth, and he does not give Zakaat, on the day of Qiyaamah, his wealth will be turned into a venomous bald serpent which will wind around his neck and bite his jaws and say: “I am your wealth, I am you treasure.” (Bukhari)
It is stated in the Hadith that by giving Zakaat the following benefits are derived:
- Gaining of the pleasure of Allah.
- Increase in Wealth.
- Protection from losses.
- A cause thus established for Allah’s forgiveness and blessings are obtained.
- Safety from calamities.
- Protection from the wrath of Allah and from a bad death.
- The Zakaat will provide a shelter on the Day of Judgment.
- Security from seventy misfortunes.
- It will serve as a shield from the fires of Jahannam.
- It contributes to Barkat in wealth.
- It saves from fear and grief.
There are two major benefits of giving Zakaat:
- It keeps one away from sin and saves the giver from moral ill arising from the love and greed for wealth.
- Through Zakaat the poorer class, (those who are not capable of providing for themselves) are being cared for, such as widows, orphans, the disabled, the poor and the destitute.
The Punishment for not giving Zakaat:
Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an: “And there are those who hoard gold and silver and do not spend in the way of Allah, announce to them a most grievous penalty (when) on the Day of Qiyaamah heat will be produced out of that wealth in the fire of Jahanna, then with it they will be branded on their foreheads and their flanks and backs. (It will be said to them) This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves, taste then the treasure that you had been hoarding.” (Surah Taubah :34)
On Whom Zakaat is Fardh:
Zakaat is Fardh upon a person if:
- He is a Muslim;
- He is an adult;
- He is a sane person;
- He is a free person – not a slave,
- He owns wealth intended for trading to the value of Nisaab;
Furthermore the wealth should be:
- Fully owned by him;
- In excess of his personal needs (clothing, household furniture, utensils and cars etc. are termed as articles of personal use);
- It should be poessed by him for a complete lunar year.
- Of a productive nature from which he can derive profit or benefit such as merchandise for business, gold silver, livestock, etc.,
There is no Zakaat on effects that are not of productive nature even if these are in excess of one’s needs, such as car, utensils, furniture etc., If such items are not intended for trade.
Note: Zakaat is Fardh. Any person who denies it being Fardh (compulsory) loses his Imaan. However if he recognizes Zakaat being Fardh but neglects this duty he will be termed a Faasiq (Transgressor).
source : islameasy.org