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The Blessings behind Zakah

The Blessings behind Zakah

Paying your zakah means that what is left of your money will be more blessed and more productive for you.

Deep down, you may think of zakah (obligatory alms) as a tiresome once-a-year event that simply involves a quick online payment of 2.5% of your cash and a bunch of gold weighed on scales in your kitchen! But there is a lot more to it. Fully understanding and practicing this beautiful Pillar of Islam can lead to a more productive and successful existence at both an individual and community level. How?

Paying your zakah correctly triggers some marvelous productivity boosters that you probably have never thought of! Here’s what actually happens to you and your life when you pay your zakat:

1- Purifying the Soul

Nothing prevents us more from reaching the heights of productivity than our sins. Day and night, we disobey Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) in all sorts of ways, knowingly and unknowingly, blotting our hearts and blocking the light of Allah from entering them. One critical way of clearing out the junk from our hearts is to pay zakah.

Linguistically, zakah carries meanings of cleansing and purification, originating from the same root as the word tazkiyah. In fact, when Allah commanded the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to collect zakah, He specifically mentioned its purifying power:

Take from their wealth a charity to cleanse and purify them through it and pray for them. Indeed your prayer gives them tranquility. And indeed Allah is All Hearing, All Knowing. (At-Tawbah 9:103)

2- Blessing the Wealth

Apart from purification, zakah also carries meanings of growth and enhancement. Paying your zakah means that what is left of your money will be more blessed and more productive for you. Our Prophet emphasized this by warning against delaying the payment of zakah or not paying it at all:

“Zakah is never intermingled with any amount of wealth without destroying and rotting it.” (Al-Bukhari)

It is said that zakah represents the ‘filth’ within our wealth, i.e. an amount that we may have incurred through some form of sin or dishonesty, however small or great. For our money to remain blessed, it is vital to get rid of the ‘filth’ as soon as possible. This is akin to the dross that is filtered from a blast furnace, leaving a pure, pristine metal behind.

3- Opportunities for the Poor and Needy

One doubtless benefit of zakah is to help the poor and needy become more productive. By freeing them of the immediate stress of meeting their very basic needs, distributing zakat effectively allows those in need to pursue opportunities to help them turn their lives around.

4- Incurring the Mercy of Allah

In a powerful verse in the Qur’an, Allah says:

…I afflict with My punishment whomsoever I choose, but My mercy encompasses everything. So I will prescribe it (i.e. My mercy) for those who are God conscious, pay Zakah and believe in Our signs. (Al-Anfal 7:156)

This verse is one of just two in Qur’an where zakah is not mentioned in conjunction with the obligatory prayer. Notice how Allah mentions the fulfillment of zakah in such an amazing position: between the qualities of taqwa (God-consciousness) and iman (belief) in His signs. At the same time, He (Exalted be He) makes paying zakah a direct cause for incurring His mercy, without which being productive would be utterly impossible.

5- Endless Rewards

Just after one of the most famous verses in the Qur’an, the Verse of Light, Allah mentions a special group of people:

Men who are not diverted by business or trade from the remembrance of Allah, establishing the prayer and paying zakat, fearing the day (of judgment) in which hearts and sights are turned upside down. (An-Nur 24:37)

Here Allah extols the virtues of those who are busy, productive and successful in a worldly sense, but at the same time do not allow themselves to forget the most important aspects of their faith: remembering their Lord, establishing the prayer and paying zakah.

Allah then promises them an amazing outcome:

Allah will recompense them according to the best of what they have done and He will grant them increase out of His bounty. Allah provides for whomsoever He wills without measure. (An-Nur 24:38)

May Allah (Exalted be He) make us among those mentioned in the above verse! May He enable Muslims everywhere to understand and fulfill their obligation of zakah, thereby incurring His mercy and pleasure. Ameen.

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Source: productivemuslim.com.

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Zakah and Social Justice

hands together

Zakah awakens the individual’s social spirit.

 

One of the Qur’an’s major themes is social justice for those whom society disadvantages and compassion for the vulnerable. Allah says in the Qur’an:

As for the believing men and the believing women—all [of them] are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. Moreover, they [duly] establish the Prayer, and give the Zakah, and they obey Allah and His Messenger. It is these upon whom Allah shall have mercy. Indeed, Allah is overpowering, all-wise. (At-Tawbah 9:71)

Mention of Zakah here is significant. It points to the characteristics of a fully functional (and fully human) community, promoting care and love between each other by (a) guaranteeing justice unto the least of them, while (b) shielding the weak from injury. This two-part functionality is then directly pinned to raising one’s spiritual consciousness through the Prayer and raising one’s social consciousness by paying the Zakah. These special items—among all the commands of Allah and His Messenger—Allah has highlighted for scrupulous maintenance.

This is no utopian call. On the contrary, it is a minimum acceptable moral standard for a working human community. Zakah plays a key role in bringing about such a model society. It not only enshrines the right of help for the community’s needy, facilitating ongoing support from the rich to the poor, but, in so doing, it builds a relationship of consideration and appreciation between society’s members.

Zakah is the substance that binds Muslims to each other by way of their obligation to one another in Allah. Islam builds its community out of human obligation toward each other, making each Muslim accountable for the wellbeing of every other Muslim. This concept of reciprocal social obligation is called takaful, meaning “mutual responsibility,” and it is strongly bolstered by the fact that the Zakah is an act of mandatory worship. The tenet of mutual responsibility helps Muslims envision their society like an extended family.

Throughout our history, whenever Muslims sincerely systematized the Zakah obligation, as Almighty Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), have ordained it, Muslims worked something on the order of social miracles. Societies flourished. Communities flowered. Individuals thrived.

Zakah awakens the individual’s social spirit with the truest practical expression of brotherhood. When Muslims pay Zakah, the society behaves exactly like a family, the able helping the incapable, one upholding all. Said the Prophet:

“The believers—in their kindness, compassion, and empathy for one another—are as a single body. When one limb is afflicted, the whole body responds to it with sleeplessness and fever.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Zakah spreads tranquility and peace in society because it secures the weak and their dependents with the guarantee of certain provision, shelter, and access to essential communal facilities. The magic of Zakah is not only that it links one to others by a sense of personal responsibility, but that it binds everyone to the individual through an obligation of sufficiency. There is no greater bulwark against social disintegration.

Zakah as a Kind of Welfare System

Zakah is the first known system of community-wide welfare regulated as a social support network for those in need. It is a meaningful institution with a clearly defined religious-social-economic mandate. Its rules, regulations, structures, standards, and specific functions are well-established. It does not depend on voluntary charity, and its collection is enforceable by society.

The Zakah system revealed by Allah and instituted by the Prophet was complete and functional among Muslims in the seventh century. Within a few years of the Prophet’s migration to Madinah, the Zakah system had become so effective that very few people even needed it. For one of the virtues of Zakah is that in providing for the poor and linking each to all and all to each, it enables people to separate themselves from those social practices that guarantee the impoverishment of some.

It took more than 13 centuries after the Prophet for Europe (and by that time America) to even address poverty systematically with some effectiveness. Not until 1941 did England and the United States initiate a worldwide agreement for governments to respect and warrant the social welfare of their nationals. Yet even then beliefs imbedded in capitalist and communistic economic theory made it a certainty that global poverty would increase to the civilization- and ecology-threatening proportions we live with today.

Equitable Distribution of Zakah

Resources are not only gifts from Allah to all human beings but also a trust. Accordingly, Islam emphasizes an equitable distribution of income and wealth for the fulfillment of the needs of everyone. As a consequence of the application of one’s skills and efforts, one’s birth, location, and timing, and other factors extreme inequalities emerge between people.

In the absence of adequate social restraints and mechanisms for re-distribution, wealth invariably concentrates in the hands of a few. To counter this, in part, Allah has enjoined the believing society with strict laws of inheritance and public disbursement of windfalls, establishing the institution of Zakah to redress extreme or highly skewed inequalities of income and wealth. As Allah states it in the Qur’an:

So that [wealth] does not merely circulate between the wealthy among you.” (Al-Hashr 59:7)

In every society, there are those who may find it hard to earn a living through their own labor, whether owing to disability, lack of opportunity, or depressed production or wages. Islam addresses this by making helping the needy an individual and collective responsibility, first within Muslim families and society, and then through the global Muslim community at large. Moreover, it forbids, in the strongest and broadest terms, stigmatizing the destitute or blaming them for their condition. (Quraishi, 9-13)

If a Muslim society does not apply the comprehensive economic injunctions of the Qur’an and the Prophet, the Zakah alone will not be enough to recreate poverty-free societies, as we have just described. We have plenty of examples of this insufficiency in the Muslim societies of our times—(societies that, for the most part, do not even structure the Zakah institution properly!) Yet were Muslims to prudently apply the principles of Zakah in a current Muslim country, it would not, in isolation of all other factors, cure poverty. Zakah is part of a Godly economic outlook on, and practice in, the world.

For example, Islam forbids extravagance, whether or not one is rich or poor. Thus owning utensils made of gold and silver, or residing in ostentatious homes, is considered excessive, even forbidden.

In addition, Islam also forbids earning interest. Rather, it inspires human beings to work for their money, not to live off the incurable debt and financial misery of others. Moreover, Islam calls upon the rich to employ the poor. So the narratives of Zakah’s amazing historical success that we have just recounted demonstrate the great efficacy of the Zakah system at work within the spiritual-moral context of Islam’s other economic injunctions; among people who have internalized its concepts of selflessness, self-restraint, conservation, sufficiency, contentment, modesty, extended family and familial responsibility, and love of the poor; and, above all, amid societies whose members are resolutely committed to upholding the divine covenant of all Muslims to implement and secure the individual believer’s unfettered right of total worship.

 Works Cited:

Marghoob Ahmed Quraishi, Annual Zakat Computation Guide (Al-Manar Press, 2007)

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 Source: www.suhaibwebb.com.

 

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Zakah in Islam: Concepts and Rules

Zakah, one of the five pillars of Islam, is meant to purify one’s wealth and create harmony and compassion between members of society.

In this lecture by Sheikh Shady Sulaiman learn in details about Zakah;  its meaning and concept. He also tackles the rules related to this Islamic obligation.

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Rights of the Poor and Needy in Islam

poor and needy

Muslims willingly offer the due amount in obedience to Allah’s commands. They pay it to the poor and the needy.

Allah (Exalted be He) praises those who spend for His cause in order to help the poor and the needy in the Islamic society. This is based on the instructions of the verse in the  Qur’an:

And in their wealth is a recognized right. For the (needy) who asks and the one who is deprived. (Al-Ma`arij 70:24,25)

As a matter of fact Islam regards the charity given to the poor and the needy as one of the most virtuous deeds. Moreover, Islam warns those who conceal and save up their wealth and do not spend for the cause of Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an:

It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West. But the righteousness is to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Prophets, and to give of your wealth out of love for Him, to your kin and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves… (Al-Baqarah 2:177)

The ones who accumulate the wealth without giving the due right of the poor and needy as commanded by Allah, are promised by Allah that they will receive a severe punishment on the Day of Requital. Allah says in the Qur’an:

And those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend in the Path of Allah then warn them of the painful torment. (At-Tawbah 9:34)

For this reason Zakah was prescribed as one of the basic tenets of Islam. Zakah is a set percentage (2.5%) of the accumulated wealth over a period of one year.

On Whom & To Whom?

Muslims willingly offer the due amount in obedience to Allah’s commands. They pay it to  the poor and the needy. Zakah is obligatory upon those who possess the appropriate amount on which Zakah is due. Allah states in the Qur’an:

And they were commanded not except to worship Allah, offering Him alone sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular Prayer; and to give calculated Charity; and that is the right Religion. ( Al-Bayyinah 98:5)

Zakah is prescribed with the following principles and conditions:

1- The person to pay Zakah must possess “nisab” (the appropriate amount as stipulated in the Islamic Shari`ah).

2- A period of one-year must pass while the owner maintains this amount in his possession. If less than a year passes, Zakah will not be required.

Islam defines the types of people who are entitled to receive Zakah. This is based on the verse in the Qur’an:

Verily alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer (the funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to the truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allah, and Allah is All- Knower and All-Wise. (At-Tawbah 9:60)

Why We Pay It!

Islam imposes Zakah in order to uproot poverty from the Islamic society, treat the resulting problems stemming from poverty such as: theft, murder, attacking people and taking their property unjustly. In addition, it revives the mutual social welfare and support among members of the Islamic society.

Furthermore, Zakah is used to fulfill the needs of the needy, the destitute, and to pay the debts of those who have debts and are not able to pay their debts due to a sound and legitimate reason.

Moreover, the payment of Zakah purifies one’s heart, soul and  wealth as well. An owner of a wealth will become less selfish and greedy when he/she pays this charity with a pure heart. The Almighty Allah states in the Qur’an:

And those saved from the covetousness of their own souls; they are the ones that achieve prosperity. (At-Taghabun 64:16)

Zakah purifies the hearts of those who are less affluent since they will have less hatred, jealousy and bitterness against the rich and wealthy class of people of the society because they see that they are paying their just dues and the rights to their poorer brethren.

The Almighty Allah warns those who refuse to pay their due Zakah against a severe punishment:

And let not those who covetously withhold of that which Allah has bestowed on them of His Bounty (wealth) think that it is good for them. Nay, it will be worse for them; soon shall the things which they covetously withheld be tied to their necks like a twisted collar on the Day of Resurrection. To Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do. (Aal `Imran 3:180)

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Source: The article is an excerpt from the author’s Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions.

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Sadaqah: Its Virtues and Benefits in Qur’an and Sunnah

By: Sayyid Saabiq

The legitimacy of giving sadaqah other than that of zakah is not restricted by a time limit or definite nisab. The amount designated for expenditure need not be a certain percentage (for example, a tithe, a one-quarter tithe, or a one-tenth tithe). It is an open-ended matter that is left to the beneficence, generosity, and condition of the one who gives. The protection of a revered man from destruction and harm is an obligation upon whoever can help him, but more than that, it is left unquantified.

People overlook most of the public rights which the Qur’an supports, for these rights seek to establish an honorable and just social life. People spend only a small amount on the needy and even less for beggars because they are considered the least deserving nowadays. This is due to the fact that beggars have made begging a profession, even though most of them are well-to-do.

Ibn Hazm says: “It is enjoined upon the rich of every country to support their poor, and the ruler has the authority to force them to do so. This is called for when the prescribed zakah or the holdings of other Muslims are not enough to meet the needs of the poor. In that case, their food and their clothing to protect them from the elements and the eyes of the passer-by would be provided by the rich.”

The proof for this is in the saying of Allah:

Give the kinsman his due, and the needy, and the wayfarer. (Al-Israa’ 17:26)

Allah also says:

Show kindness to parents, to near kin and orphans, to the needy, to relatives, to neighbors who are not related to you, to fellow travelers and wayfarers, and (to the slaves) whom your right hand possesses. (An-Nisaa’ 4:36)

Generosity urges support for the above-mentioned people and forbids harming them.

Referring to the guilty in the life to come, the Qur’an says that they would ask each other: “What brought you to this hellfire?” They will answer: “We were not of those who prayed, nor did we feed the needy”. (Al-Muddaththir 74:42-44)

Thus, Allah links feeding the needy with performing prayers.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “He who does not have mercy upon people, Allah’s mercy will be kept from him.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Thus, anyone upon whom Allah bestowed His grace and who sees his Muslim brother hungry, in need of clothes, and miserable, and still does not help him, he will, indeed, deprive himself of Allah’s mercy.

`Uthman An-Nahdi reported that `Abdur-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr informed him that the Companions of As-Suffah were poor and that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: “He who has enough food for two, let him invite a third, and he who has food for four, let him invite a fifth or a sixth.”

It is related from Ibn `Umar that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “A Muslim is a brother of another, and he should neither do injustice to him nor betray him.”

Thus, anyone who lets a needy Muslim go without food or clothes while, in fact, he is able to feed and clothe him would have betrayed him.

It is related from Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah said: “He whose holdings exceed his needs, let him support the one whose holdings do not, and he whose food exceeds his needs, let him share it with him who does not have food.” Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri says: ”Then he mentioned so many kinds of property that we thought no one of us had the right to have anything surplus with us.” This is the consensus of the companions, as it was reported by Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri.

Concerning this tradition, it is reported on the authority of Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and ransom the prisoner.”

There are many verses in the Qur’an and numerous sound hadiths on this subject. `Umar says: “If I were to live again the past which I have already lived, I would take the surplus from the rich and distribute it among the poor immigrants (muhajirun).” This is considered to be the most authentic report.

`Ali said: “Allah (the Exalted be He) has placed a due upon the properties of the rich to meet the needs of the poor. Thus, if the poor go hungry or naked or struggle because of the neglect of the rich, then Allah will hold them (the rich) accountable on the Day of Judgment and will punish them.”

Ibn `Umar is reported to have said: “There is a due on your property other than zakah.” It is related from `A’ishah (the mother of the believers), Al-Hasan ibn `Ali, Ibn `Umar that all of them replied to those who had asked them: “If you are asked for help in cases of blood money, heavy debt, or desperate poverty, then it is a must for you to give them from your holdings.”

It was accurately reported by Abu `Ubaydah ibn Al-Jarrah and 300 Companions that (once) when their provisions had run very low, Abu `Ubaydah ordered them to collect what was left and place it into two bags and then allot it to each one equally. Then he said: “It is not permissible for a hard-pressed Muslim to eat the meat of a dead animal or a pig when he can find surplus food from either a Muslim or a dhimmi (non-Muslims living under the protection of the Islamic State). It is an obligation of the one who has food to feed the hungry.”

Allah says:

And if one party of them does wrong to the other, fight those who do wrong until they return to the ordinance of Allah. (Al-Hujurat 49:9)

Thus, one who withholds a right is an oppressor of his brother. The latter is the possessor of that right.

On this basis, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq waged war against those who refused to pay their zakah.

From the preceding, one can see the degree of compassion and commiseration that Islam has for the deprived. Islam, in fact, excels over all other faiths and systems. They are like weak, sputtering candles when placed next to the bright and steady light of the sun of Islam.

Voluntary Sadaqah

Islam calls upon the individual to spend freely in ways that please the heart of the donor, and evoke generosity, goodness, reverence, and obedience to Allah.

Voluntary Sadaqah in the Qur’an

Allah says:

The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases; Allah cares for all and knows all things. (Al-Baqarah 2:261)

By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give freely of that which you love, and whatever you give, Allah knows it well. (Aal `Imran 92)

And spend from what We have made you heir. For those of you who believe and spend, for them is a great reward. (Al-Hadid 57:7)

Voluntary Sadaqah in the Hadith

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Sadaqah appeases the anger of the Lord and wards off the agony of death.” (At-Tirmidhi)

It is similarly related that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The sadaqah of the Muslim increases during his lifetime. It also softens the agony of death, and through it, Allah takes away arrogance and vanity.”

The Messenger of Allah said: “’There is not a day in which the obedient servants rise in the morning or two angels descend, and one of them says: ‘O Allah! Compensate the one who spends freely.’ The other angel says: ‘O Allah! Let an annihilation come upon the one who is niggardly.’” (Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah said:

“Acts of kindness protect one from ruin wrought by evil. Sadaqah given secretly appeases the anger of the Lord, and a gift to strengthen the ties of relationship increases one’s life span. All good deeds are sadaqah, and those who do acts of kindness in this world are also the same people in the other world. Those who do misdeeds in this world are the same people in the other world. The first of those who shall enter Paradise are the people who do acts of kindness.” (At-Tabarani)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s translated book “Fiqh Us Sunnah”.

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All About Zakat Al-Fitr

The Purpose of Zakat al-Fitr

Every Muslim is required to pay Zakat Al-Fitr at the conclusion of the month of Ramadan as a token of thankfulness to God for having enabled him to observe fasts. Its purpose is to purify those who fast from any indecent act or speech and to help the poor and needy.

This view is based upon the hadith which reads, “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) enjoined Zakat al-Fitr on those who fast to shield them from any indecent act or speech, and for the purpose of providing food for the needy. It is accepted as Zakah for the one who pays it before the `Eid prayer, and it is sadaqah for the one who pays it after the prayer.”

Al-Qaradawi comments on this hadith by saying that there are two purposes: one is related to the individual; for completion of his fast and compensation for any shortcomings in his acts or speech.

The other is related to society; for the spreading of love and happiness among its members, particularly the poor and needy, during the day of `Eid. It also purifies one’s soul from such shortcomings as the adoration of property, and from miserliness. Furthermore, it purifies one’s property from the stain of unlawful earnings. It is also a cure for ailments. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “It would be better that you treat your patients with charity.”

In addition, it provides for the needs of the poor and the indigent and relieves them from having to ask others for charity on the day of `Eid. The Prophet (said, “Fulfil their need on this day (i.e., the day of `Eid)”

Who Must Pay Zakat al-Fitr?

Zakat al-Fitr is incumbent on every free Muslim who possesses one Sa` of dates or barley which is not needed as basic food for himself or his family for the duration of one day and night. Every free Muslim must pay Zakat al-Fitr for himself, his wife, children, and servants. This is the opinion of Imam Malik, Al-Shafi`i, and Ahmad. Imam Abu Hanifah, however, said that it is only obligatory for one who possesses a nisab (a minimum amount of property) after fulfilling the costs of his house, servant, horse, and weapon.

Al-Khattabi explained that Zakat al-Fitr was obligatory for all Muslims, not only those who possess the nisab stating that this is the view of the majority of scholars. He said, “In essence, the rationale behind it was stated to be the purification of one who fasts from any indecent act or speech.

And since every Muslim needs this, it is therefore obligatory upon every fasting Muslim, whether rich or poor, who possesses one Sa` in excess of his main staple food for the duration of one day and night. This is because so long as the essential rationale is shared by all Muslims, then they also share the same obligation.”

Al-Qaradawi also asserts the majority view when he says, “It is a virtuous wisdom of Islam that it makes this Zakah obligatory not only on the rich, but also upon nearly every Muslim, for you can hardly find a person who does not possess one Sa` of food above his main staple food for the duration of one day and night.

The wisdom behind this obligation, therefore, is to prepare the poor to practice benevolence and feel the dignity and honour of giving in charity. Allah described the believers with these words, “Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity…” (Aal `Imran 3:134)

Thus if we contemplate on this wisdom, we will not find it strange that the needy pay this Zakah, because it does not cause them to suffer any loss. He will pay only his Zakah and then receive the Zakah of various people.”

Moreover, we have to bear in mind that Zakat al-Fitr is obligatory for everyone who lives until the sun sets on the last day of Ramadan. This is the point of view of the Shafi`is, Hanbalis, and Malikis. Accordingly, whoever dies before the sun sets on the last day of Ramadan is exempted.

Likewise, a person who has a baby on the last day of Ramadan should pay Zakat al-Fitr for the baby. The majority of jurists argue that we should not pay Zakat al-Fitr for an embryo. But Imam Ahmad holds that Zakat al-Fitr is also obligatory for an embryo, because it is permissible to assign property to an embryo by means of a will.

When Zakat al-Fitr Is Due

The jurists agree that Zakat al-Fitrr is due at the end of Ramadan. They differ, however, about the exact time. Al-Thawri, Ishaq, Malik (in one of two reports), and Al-Shafi`i (in one of his two opinions), are of the opinion that it is due at the sunset of the night of breaking the fast, for this is when the fast of Ramadan ends.

However, Al-Layth, the Hanafi school, Al-Shafi`i (in his other opinion), and the second report of Malik say that Zakat al-Fitr is due at the start of Fajr (dawn) on the day of `Eid because it is an act of worship connected with `Eid, so the time of its payment should not be before `Eid just as sacrifice on the `Eid of Adha.

These two different views acquire relevance if a baby is born after sunset but before dawn on the day of `Eid; the question then is whether Zakat al-Fitr is obligatory for the baby or not. In accordance with the first view, it is not, since the birth took place after the prescribed time, while according to the second view, it is obligatory because the birth took place within the prescribed space of time.

Time of Payment

It is not permissible to delay giving Zakat Al-Fitr after the day of `Eid (i.e. one may give it up to the time of the `Eid prayer). However, there are some jurists who think that it is permissible to delay giving it even after the `Eid prayer.(14)

The founders of the four schools of Fiqh hold the first opinion, but Ibn Sirin and al-Nakha`i say that its payment can be delayed. Ahmad says: “I hope that there is no harm (in delaying the payment).” Ibn Raslan says that there is a consensus that payment cannot be delayed merely for the reason that it is a type of Zakah. Thus, any delay is a sin and is analogous to delaying one’s prayers without an acceptable excuse.

Anyway, the founders of the four accepted Islamic legal schools agree that Zakat al-Fitr is not nullified simply by failure to pay it on its due time. If it is not paid before `Eid prayer, one is not exempt from it. It becomes a debt payable even after death. The heirs must not distribute the deceased’s legacy before payment of the deceased’s unpaid Zakat al-Fitr.

Most scholars believe that it is permissible to pay Zakat al-Fitr a day or two before `Eid. Ibn `Umar reported that the Messenger (peace be upon him) ordered them to pay Zakat al-Fitr before the people went out to perform the `Eid prayer. Nafi` reported that `Umar used to pay it a day or two before the end of Ramadan.

However, scholars hold different opinions when a longer time period is involved. According to Abu Hanifah, it is permissible to pay it even before Ramadan so long as you make the intention of Zakah. Al-Shaf`i holds that it is permissible to do so at the beginning of Ramadan. Malik and Ahmad (in his well-known view) maintain that it is permissible to pay it only one or two days in advance.

Al-Qaradawi explains the reasons for these differences in opinion by saying that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to pay Zakat Al-Fitr after Fajr prayer on the day of `Eid but before the `Eid prayer for the reason that the Muslim community was still small and limited in number.

During the time of the Companions the payment was made one or two days before the `Eid. After the spread of Islam the jurists permitted its payment from the beginning and middle of Ramadan so as to ensure that the Zakat Al-Fitr reached its beneficiaries on the day of `Eid, thereby avoiding the possibility that the process of distribution would delay reception of the payment after the day of `Eid.

After explaining the different views regarding the time of payment, Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr stated that these differences of opinion among the jurists justify some leniency for Muslims in regard to the time of payment, and therefore a Muslim can pay at any of these times. He also took the view that paying it at different times gives the poor and needy the opportunity to benefit from Zakat al-Fitr and fulfil their needs for longer periods.

These differences are due to taking into consideration both the needs of the poor and the opportunity of attaining the wisdom behind the obligation of Zakat Al-Fitr. Therefore, the most acceptable and practical approach is to apply whichever practice fulfils the purpose and wisdom behind Zakat Al-Fitr, that is bringing happiness to the poor on the day of `Eid and giving their children a chance to enjoy this day as others do.

What type of food can be given and permissible substitutes?

The jurists hold different views as to the types of food which must be given as Zakat al-Fitr. The Hanbali view is that the kinds of food which can be given are five: dates, raisins, wheat, barley, and dry cottage cheese. Imam Ahmad is reported to have said that any kind of staple grain or dates are also permissible, even if the above five types are available. The Malikis and Shafi`is are of the view that it is permissible to give any kind of food as long as it is the main staple in that particular region or the main food of the person. As for the Hanafis, they permit paying the value of Zakat al-Fitr in money.

Ibn Al-Qayyim highlighted these different viewpoints and concluded that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) prescribed Zakat al-Fitr as one Sa` of dates, barley, raisins or dry cottage cheese. These were the main staple kinds of food in Madinah.

As for people of other territories, what they should pay is one Sa` of their staple grain, such as corn, rice, etc. But if their main staple food is other than grain, such as milk, meat, fish, etc., then they should pay one Sa` of that particular food. This is the opinion of the majority of scholars and is the preferred point of view, since it achieves the purpose of fulfilling the needs of the poor on the day of `Eid with the staple food of their region.

How Is Zakat Al-Fitr Calculated?

The amount of Zakat al-Fitr, as we referred earlier, is one Sa` of food. There is consensus on this amount among the scholars with regard to all types of food except wheat and raisins. As for these two types the Shafi`is, Malikis and Hanbalis agree that the prescribed amount is one Sa`, however the Hanafis say it is sufficient to pay half Sa` from wheat and they differed with regard to raisins.

After discussing the arguments of these two opinions al-Qaradawi reached the following conclusion: wheat was not a common food amongst them during the time of the Prophet so he did not prescribe one Sa` of it as he did with the other types of food.

As for those of the Companions of the Prophet who prescribed half Sa` of wheat instead of one Sa` of barely or dates like Mu`awiyah and other Companions, he views that they did so by analogy, since the value of wheat was more than those of other types of food which were equal.

But according to their opinion, he says, the value should be considered and taken as the criterion and this will cause instability and confusion for it changes from place to another and from time to time. He mentioned that in Pakistan the value of wheat is less than that of dates, then how should we pay of it half the amount (i.e. Sa`) that we should pay of dates? He also mentioned that nowadays raisins are more expensive than wheat and dates. The only solution for these problems, he says, is to regard Sa` as the criterion and basis.

Al-Qaradawi explains why the Prophet appointed Sa` as the measure and did not prescribe it in money saying that in his opinion there are two reasons for this: First, money was still rare among the Arabs particularly the Bedouins. They did not have their own currency. So if the Prophet had prescribed it in money, he would have caused hardship to them.

Second, the purchasing power of money changes from time to time. For instance, the purchasing power of a certain currency sometimes becomes low and other times high, so paying Zakat al-Fitr in money makes its value unstable. That is why the Prophet prescribed it with a stable measure, that is an amount of food which fulfils the needs of one family. For one Sa` provides a family with food for a whole day.

The Amount of Sa`

Sa` is a certain measure which equals 4 mudds (a mudd equals a handful of an average man). The contemporary equivalent weights of Sa` differs according to the stuff which is weighted. For example a Sa` of wheat equals 2176 grams, a Sa` of rice is 2520 grams, a Sa` of beans equals 2250 grams etc.

Therefore some scholars are of the view that the criterion should be the measure not the weight for there are kinds of food which are heavier than others. But I think this is the case if the equivalent weight of a certain kind of food is not known. If there is no available measure or weight with the person, then he should pay 4 mudds.

Nowadays, it is not that problem because ministries of religious affairs in Muslim countries and mosques and Islamic centres in Western countries announce the value of Zakat al-Fitr every year. Anyhow, this is the obligatory amount which every Muslim should pay. It is better and recommended that one pays an extra amount, particularly for those who are wealthy, for they will be rewarded for it.

Its Payment in Money

As mentioned earlier, the Hanafis permitted the payment of Zakat al-Fitr in money. This is the view of Al-Thawri, Al-Hasan al-Basri, and `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz. However, the other three schools did not permit this. Their argument is that the Prophet did not do so and hence its payment in money contradicts the Sunnah of the Prophet.

But some contemporary scholars support the Hanafi view since this is easier nowadays for the payer particularly in cities where people use only money for dealings. Among them are Sheikh Shaltut, Al-Ghazali, and Al-Qaradawi who mentioned earlier the two reasons for which the Prophet did not prescribe it in money. He also stated that the purpose of Zakat Al-Fitr is to fulfill the needs of the poor and this is achieved also by payment in money and that in most cases and most countries the payment in money is more useful to the poor. He also mentioned that when the Prophet prescribed it from food, it was easy for the payer and useful for the recipient during that time. But nowadays to pay it in food is not useful for the poor because he cannot make use, for instance, of wheat or dates unless he sells them with any price, generally low, to buy his needs with the money.

Al-Qaradawi excluded the times of famines where the payment of food is more useful for the recipients and said that the criterion is the benefit of the poor so if food proves to be more useful as in times of famines and catastrophes, then its payment in kind is better. But if money is more useful, then its payment in money is better.

Nowadays, if we consider the condition in the Muslim world in general and that of Muslims in the West in particular we will discover that the second view is more convenient with the spirit of Islamic legislation and the present condition of Muslims. As we will see later when Muslims living in the West decide to transfer their Zakah funds or some of them to needy Muslims in Muslim countries, then the payment in money is more convenient.

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Source. Onislam.net.

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Zakah: Great Wisdom and Many Reasons

Upon becoming Muslim, one must pay the zakah (obligatory alms) to those who deserve it. The zakah is a right from the rights of Allah (Exalted be He) which

zakah

Zakah brings the spirit of the mutual dependence and the brotherhood of the Muslim society to life.

href=”http://www.new-muslims.info/abcs-of-islam/articles-of-faith/muslims/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>a Muslim must pay to his brothers from the poor and needy to cover their requirements and save them from the humility of asking others. Allah says:

And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him), and establish the salah and give the zakah: and that is the upright religion. (Al-Bayyinah 98:5)

There is a great wisdom and many reasons why zakah has been prescribed. From them may be the following:

1- It purifies the souls of the rich Muslims and cleanses them from greed, selfishness, base covetousness, and the love of this temporal world and drowning in its desires.

2- It purifies the soul of the poor from hate and jealousy which they might feel for the rich. They see them giving from their wealth that which Allah ordered, continuously caring for them, by giving them money and treating them well.

3- It causes a Muslim to grow fond of good manners, such as giving charity, expending efforts, and preferring others to one’s self.

4- It uproots poverty in the Muslim society and alleviates the dangers which result from it, like theft, murder, and acts of transgression against people’s honor. It brings the spirit of the mutual dependence and the brotherhood of the Muslim society to life, by fulfilling the needs of Islam and the Muslims.

5- It plays a role in spreading the call to Islam in the world. Through it, the non-Muslims are shown the religion of Islam and its beauty, and it is hoped that they accept it.

The Conditions of Zakah

1- Possession in the nisab, which is that amount of wealth that upon which Islam has legislated zakah. This amount is equal to 85 grams of gold.

2- The elapse of one year, if one possesses the nisab for a period of a complete year.

Who Is Eligible for Zakah?

Allah has specified those people who are eligible to receive zakah. Allah says:

As-sadaqat (here zakat) are only for the poor and the needy and those employed to collect (the funds); and for to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s cause (i.e. those fighting in Jihad), and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise. (At-Tawbah 9:60)

Properties Exempted from Zakah

– There is no zakah due on those items which one possesses for personal use, such as houses, furniture, cars, and animals used specifically for riding (horses, donkeys, etc.).

– There is no zakah due on those assets one holds for rental purposes, like cars, shops, houses. zakah though must be paid on the rental payment if it, combined with his other wealth, reaches the nisab and remains in his possession for a period of one year.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “How to Become a Muslim”. 

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Give Sadaqah Even If You Have Nothing

By: Sayyid Saabiq

Sadaqah is not restricted to any special deed of righteousness. The general rule is that all good deeds are sadaqah. Some of them are as follows:

Give Sadaqah Even If You Have Nothing

All good deeds are sadaqah.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Every Muslim has to give sadaqah.” The people asked: “O Prophet of Allah, what about the one who has nothing?” He said: “He should work with his hands to give sadaqah.” They asked: “If he cannot find (work)?” He replied: “He should help the needy who asks for help.” They asked: “If he cannot do that?” He replied: “He should then do good deeds and shun evil, for this will be taken as sadaqah.” (Al-Bukhari and others)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Sadaqah is prescribed for every person every day the sun rises. To administer justice between two people is sadaqah. To assist a man upon his mount so that he may ride it is sadaqah. To place his luggage on the animal is sadaqah. To remove harm from the road is sadaqah. A good word is sadaqah. Each step taken toward prayer is sadaqah.” (Ahmad and others)

Doors of Sadaqah

Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: ‘Sadaqah is for every person every day the sun rises.’ I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah from what do we give sadaqah if we do not possess property?’ He said: ‘The doors of sadaqah are takbir (i.e., to say: Allahu-Akbar, Allah is Great); Subhan-Allah (Allah is free from imperfection); Alhamdulillah (all praise is for Allah); La -ilaha-illa-Allah (there is no god other than Allah); Astaghfirul-lah (I seek forgiveness from Allah); enjoining good; forbidding evil; removing thorns, bones, and stones from the paths of people; guiding the blind; listening to the deaf and dumb until you understand them; guiding a person to his object of need if you know where it is; hurrying with the strength of your legs to one in sorrow who is appealing for help; and supporting the weak with the strength of your arms. These are all the doors of sadaqah. (The sadaqah) from you is prescribed for you, and there is a reward for you (even) in sex with your wife.’” This is related by Ahmad, and the wording is his. According to Muslim, they said: “O Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, is there a reward if one satisfies his passion?” He said: “Do you know that if he satisfies it unlawfully he has taken a sin upon himself? Likewise, if he satisfies it lawfully, he is rewarded.”

It is related following Abu Zhar that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Sadaqah is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises.” It was asked: “O Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) from what do we give sadaqah every day?” He said: “The doors of goodness are many; the tasbeeh (to say ‘Subhan-Allah’), the tamheed (to say ‘Alhamdu lillah’), the taheel (to say ‘La ilaha-illa-Allah), enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms- all of these are sadaqah prescribed for you.” This is related by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih. Al-Bukhari related it in a shortened form and added in his report: “Your smile for your brother is sadaqah. Your removal of stones, thorns, or bones from the paths of people is sadaqah. Your guidance of a person who is lost is sadaqah.”

Goodness

The Messenger of Allah also said: “He from among you who is able to protect himself from the Fire should give sadaqah, even if but with half a date. If he does not find it, then with a good word.”

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Allah, the Majestic and Mighty, shall say on the Day of Judgment: ‘O son of man! I was ill and you did not visit me.’ He will reply: ‘O my Lord! How could I visit You and You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ Allah shall say: ‘Did you not know that My slave, so-and-so, was ill and you did not visit him? If you had visited him, you would have found Me with him.

O son of man! I asked you for food and you did not give it to me.’ He will reply: ‘O my Lord! How could I give You food–You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ Allah shall say: ‘Did you not know that My slave, so and so, asked you for food and you did not give it to him? Did you not know that if you had given the food, you would have found that with Me? O son of man! I asked you to quench My thirst and you did not.’ He will say: ‘O my Lord! How could I quench Your thirst–You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ Allah shall say: ‘My slave, so-and-so, asked you to quench his thirst and you did not. If you had given him to drink, you would have found that with Me.’” (Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “A Muslim does not plant or sow anything from which a person, an animal, or anything eats but it is considered as sadaqah from him.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Messenger of Allah said: “Every good deed is sadaqah. To meet your brother with a smiling face and to pour out from your bucket into his container are sadaqah.”

Those Who Have Precedence for Receiving Sadaqah

One’s children, family, and relatives have precedence over others. It is not permissible to give sadaqah to a stranger when you and your dependents are in need of it.

It is related from Jabir that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “When one of you is poor, he starts with himself. If anything is left, he spends it on his dependents. If anything is (still left) then on his relatives, and then, if more is left, he spends it here and there.”

The Messenger of Allah(peace be upon him) said: “Give sadaqah.” A man said: “I have a dinar.” He replied: “Give it to yourself as sadaqah.” He said: “I have another dinar.” He replied: “Give it to your wife as sadaqah.” He said: “I have another dinar.” He replied: “Give it to your child as sadaqah.” He said: “I have another dinar.” He replied: “Give it to your servant as sadaqah.” He said: “I have another dinar.” He replied: “You would be able to assess better (to whom to give it).” (Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i, and Hakim)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “A man has sinned enough if he neglects to feed those in need.” (Muslim and Abu Dawud)

Also: “The most excellent sadaqah is that given to a relative who does not like you.” (At-Tabarani and Hakim)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s translated book “Fiqh Us Sunnah”.

 

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Things That Invalidate Your Sadaqah

By: Sayyid Saabiq

It is unlawful for the one giving sadaqah to remind the recipient of his generosity, to reproach him, or to make a show with his sadaqah. Allah warns:

Things That Invalidate Your Sadaqah

Allah does not accept sadaqah if it is from what is unlawful.

O you who believe! Do not invalidate your sadaqah by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like those who spend their property to be seen by men. (Al-Baqarah 2:264)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “There are three (types of people). Allah shall not speak to them, notice them, or sanctify them; and for them is a grievous penalty.” Abu Dhar inquired: “O Messenger of Allah, who are the ones gone wrong and astray?” He replied: “Those who through conceit lengthen their garments to make them hang on the ground, who give nothing without reproach, and who sell their merchandise swearing untruthfully (to its quality).”

Giving What is Unlawful as Sadaqah

Allah does not accept sadaqah if it is from what is unlawful. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “O people! Allah is good and accepts only good, and He has instructed the believers through the Messengers. Allah, the Mighty and the Majestic, says: “O Messengers! Consume what is good and work righteously. I am well-acquainted with what you do”. (Al-Mu’minun 23:51) He also calls upon (you): “O you who believe! Consume of the good that We have provided for you” (Al-Baqarah 2:172). Then (the Messenger) mentioned a man who had traveled for a long time. Unkempt and covered in dust, he raised his hands to the heavens (and cried): “O my Lord! O my Lord!’ His food was unlawful, his drink was unlawful, his clothing was unlawful, and what he had provided to sustain himself with was also unlawful. How could his invocation be accepted?” (Muslim)

Also: “If one gives a date bought from honestly earned money (and Allah accepts only good), Allah accepts it in His right hand and enlarges (its rewards) for its owner (as one rears his foal) until it becomes as big as a mountain.” (Al-Bukhari)

Sadaqah of the wife from the property of her husband

It is permissible for the wife to give sadaqah from her husband’s holdings if she knows that he would not mind. However, it is unlawful if she is not sure of this: It is related from `A’ishah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “When a wife gives something as sadaqah from the food of her home without causing any waste, she will get the reward for what she has given. Her husband will be rewarded for what he has earned, and the keeper (if any) will be similarly rewarded. The one does not reduce the reward of the other in any way.” (Al-Bukhari)

Abu Umamah reports that he had heard the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, saying in a sermon during the year of the Farewell Pilgrimage: “The wife should not spend anything from the household of her husband without his permission.” He asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Not food either?” He said: “That is the most excellent of our holdings.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Of small things which she is in the habit of giving, no permission from her husband is called for: It is related from Asmaa’, daughter of Abu Bakr, that she said to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace: “Zubayr is a well-off man. A man in need approached me and I gave him sadaqah from my husband’s household without his permission.” The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: “Give what you are in the habit of giving of what is small, and do not store property away, for Allah shall withhold his blessings from you.” (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, and Muslim)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s translated book “Fiqh Us Sunnah”.

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