Zakat Purifies Wealth
What is Zakat?
One of Islam's five pillars, zakat is a compulsory charity that Muslims must provide for people in need. It is a means of purifying one's money and supporting the neighbourhood. The Arabic origin of the word "zakaa," means to purify, cleanse, or grow.
A percentage of a person's wealth that has been retained for at least a year is used to calculate zakat. 2.5% of an individual's wealth is the Zakat rate. It is paid yearly and given to the needy and underprivileged in addition to other deserving beneficiaries, including those who are in debt or are struggling financially.
“Establish prayer, and pay alms-tax. Whatever good you send forth for yourselves, you will ˹certainly˺ find ˹its reward˺ with Allah. Surely Allah is All-Seeing of what you do” [2:110] .
The above verse emphasizes the importance of Zakat as a means of gaining Allah's favor and reward.
Importance of Zakat
Zakat is not only a financial responsibility; it is also a spiritual act of devotion that shows one's dedication to providing for the underprivileged and upholding one's social obligations. It is regarded as a technique to achieve social fairness and equality as well as a way to purify one's spirit and obtain Allah's blessings.
The Qur'an makes it clear that, like Salat, the act of Zakat has always remained in accordance with the law of the earlier prophets. In the majority of nations, zakat is a requirement for all Muslims and is viewed as a form of prayer.
Purpose of Zakat
Following are the purposes of Zakat which also reflect the significance of Zakat:
- Purification of wealth
Zakat purifies the wealth of the individual who gives it by removing greed and selfishness. It reminds Muslims that all wealth ultimately belongs to Allah, and they are only temporary custodians of it.
- Redistribution of wealth
Zakat is a means of redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor. It helps to bridge the economic gap between the rich and the poor and ensures that basic needs of the poor are met.
- Social welfare
Zakat is an important source of funding for various social welfare projects such as building hospitals, schools, and providing aid to the poor and needy.
- Spiritual growth
Zakat is a form of worship in Islam. Giving Zakat is considered an act of obedience to Allah, and it helps to develop the spiritual aspect of an individual by reminding them of the blessings they have and the responsibility to share those blessings with others.
An essential component of Islam, zakat promotes societal welfare and economic fairness in addition to aiding in personal spiritual development.
Obligation of Zakat and its Conditions
A person who does not have the nisab or whose money has not been in their possession for a full lunar year is not required to pay zakat on that wealth. Moreover, children, the insane, and people who are unable to handle their money are exempt from paying zakat.
Moreover, Zakat is also not obligatory on the following types of wealth:
- Personal items, that are not used for business purposes, such as a person's house, clothes, furniture, and personal car
- Basic necessities of life, such as food, water, and clothing that are intended for immediate use and not for investment purposes.
- Debts owed to a person, as the person is not considered the owner of that wealth until it is repaid.
- Wealth that is invested in a business that is not profitable or is in debt.
It is crucial to remember that zakat is not only a religious responsibility but also a financial one. It is a way to serve those in need, purify one's money, and fulfill a religious obligation to Allah.
Quranic Verses which speak about the Zakat and its Importance
Allah says in Surah At-Tawbah, verse 103:
“Take from their wealth ˹O Prophet˺ charity to purify and bless them and pray for them—surely your prayer is a source of comfort for them. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing [9: 103] ”.
In another verse of Surah At-Tawbah, Allah says that:
O believers! Indeed, many rabbis and monks consume people’s wealth wrongfully and hinder ˹others˺ from the Way of Allah. Give good news of a painful torment to those who hoard gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s cause [9: 34] ”.
Furthermore, Allah has stated in Surah Al-Muzzammil that spend your wealth in the way of God:
“And ˹continue to˺ perform ˹regular˺ prayers, pay alms-tax, and lend to Allah a good loan. Whatever good you send forth for yourselves, you will find it with Allah far better and more rewarding [73: 20] ”.
Allah has guided Muslims to give the rightful share to the needy people because all our wealth belongs to Allah. Allah says in this regard:
“and who give the rightful share of their wealth, to the beggar and the poor [70: 24-25] ”
These verses stress the significance of paying Zakat in order to purify one's possessions, seek Allah's favour, and assist those in need. They also caution against hoarding money and failing to use it for the benefit of Allah, which is viewed in Islam as a serious sin.