Why should I give Zakat?

Zhara Hussain (Kent, UK)

Today, the abundance of wealth is everywhere, especially in the western societies where the race is on for the biggest house, the best cars, the latest clothes...but STOP!

What about our duty to Allah? What of the poor and needy? The arrogant will simply turn around and state that Allah could feed the poor if he is so wills. But what the arrogant do not realise is that spending in the way of Allah is actually doubling up their own reward in the hereafter. The prophet (SAW) explained that the greatest test for his followers will be the test of wealth.

The Prophet (SAW) said "Do not withhold your money, (for if you did so) Allah would with-hold His blessings from you." From this we can understand that Allah loves those who spend in the way of Islam and give generously to the needy. After all if your heart is so tight when it comes to helping others, then why would Allah want to help you?

The Islamic principal of Zakat upholds the third pillar of Islam. It is the alms-tax on wealth and this wealth is specified by Islamic law. The word Zakat actually means purification and growth.

It is an act of purification through sharing what one has with others, because to Allah belongs everything and so wealth is only held by human beings in trust. Each Muslim calculates his or her own Zakat individually.

For most purposes this involves the payment each year of 2.5% of one's capital, provided that this capital reaches a certain minimum amount that which is not consumed by its owner. A person can pay more than this amount, though it is treated and rewarded as voluntary charity (Sadaqah).

The Quran openly declares: "O you who believe! Spend a part of what We have given before that day arrives when there shall be neither trading, friendship nor intercession. Truly, it is the disbelievers who are the wrongdoers." (The Holy Quran Surah Al-Baqara, Chapter 2 and Verse 254)

Zakat is mentioned more than thirty times in the Quran. So important is this pillar that one is not considered a part of the Islamic brotherhood if this obligation is ignored. In one very powerful hadeeth, our prophet (SAW) stated:

"Whoever is made wealthy by Allah and does not pay the Zakat of his wealth, then on the Day of Resurrection his wealth will be made like a bald-headed poisonous male snake with two black spots over the eyes. The snake will encircle his neck and bite his cheeks and say, 'I am your wealth, I am your treasure."

The Prophet (SAW) also said, "Every day two angels come down from Heaven and one of them says, 'O Allah! Compensate every person who spends in Your Cause,' and the other (angel) says, 'O Allah! Destroy every miser.' "Islam is the truly complete religion.

The principal of Zakat is the perfect solution to bridging the modern day gap between the rich and the poor. Praise be to Allah, The Honourable, The Majestic.