By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation. May Allah extol the mention of the Prophet in the highest company of Angels and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family, his Companions and all those who follow him exactly until the Day of Judgement.
Dear brothers and sisters! The importance of Zakah in Islam is known to every Muslim. They realise that it is a religious obligation that has been made compulsory by Allah Almighty. A majority of Muslims pay Zakah every year. However many people fail to do so either on purpose or unintentionally. What they don’t realise is that this is viewed negatively in the eyes of Allah Almighty and that there are severe punishments for people who don’t pay Zakah to assist the needy.
My today’s sermon will shed light on this topic and talk about what happens to those unfortunate people who don’t pay Zakah their entire life. It is also meant to create awareness among Muslims on the importance of paying Zakah.
Allah Almighty has said clearly that those who are negligent about their religious duties such as Zakah despite being well established financially, are going to face serious
consequences here and the hereafter. It is mentioned in the Qur’an.
“Those who hoard up treasures of gold and silver and spend them not in the way of Allah; give them the news of a painful punishment, on the Day when that (wealth) will be heated in the Fire of Hell and with it will be branded on their forehead, their sides, and their backs, (and it will be said to them:) ‘This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard.‘” [Qur’an, 9:34-35]
And to further illustrate the punishments Allah’s wrath has been explained even more clearly as Abu Hurairah narrated that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) stated:
“Whoever is made wealthy by Allah and does not pay the Zakah of his wealth, then on the Day of Resurrection his wealth will be made like a baldheaded poisonous 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.” [Bukhari]
This narration explains the severe punishment of not paying Zakah. The verse which the Prophet recited was:
“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. The things which they covetously withheld shall be tied to their necks like a collar on the Day of Resurrection. And to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is Well-Acquainted with all that you do.” [Qur’an, 3:180]
Even the Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) stated that Allah Almighty has enjoined upon every financially able Muslim and that needs to be paid from their wealth, corresponding to the needs of the needy among them. He further said that the poor will never suffer from starvation, thirst, lack of clothes or shelter if the rich would keep paying charity and give Zakah.
Respected brothers and sisters! The purpose of this Sermon is not to create any panic or fear but to instil the importance of paying Zakah that is rightfully due on us to serve the many Muslim brothers and sisters in need. If you haven’t paid Zakah for many years, you can still do so but paying the previous amount owed in full. Zakah will be your salvation on the day of Judgement. Pay Zakah today and reap the rewards here and in the afterlife. I pray, may Allah give all Muslims the ability and desire to pay their Zakah on time, In Shaa Allah. Ameen!
Dear servants of Allah! Know that Islam is a religion that gives the message of love and peace. It wants its followers to live in peace and harmony in the world along with people of other religions, and assist each other in making the world a better place to live. It is this motto of making the world a better place to live and helping others that Islam emphasises on giving charity.
In Islam, charity holds such a great place that it is an obligation on Muslims in the form of Zakah. In Islam, Zakah is one of the major pillars of Islam, and those who are wealthy enough, for them it is mandatory to give Zakah. However, when it comes to paying Zakah, there are different misconceptions that are prevalent among Muslims. In Shaa Allah, the lines below discuss the importance of Zakah in Islam and the general misconceptions people have regarding it.
My beloved people! In Islam, Zakah is the fourth pillar. Zakah refers to purification in general and purification of wealth in particular, therefore, those Muslims who have wealth over a certain ratio, they are liable to pay Zakah on it and give it to those who are less fortunate and don’t have sufficient means to live their life in a standard way.
Pertaining to the question of Zakah, the skeptic ones ask the question that why do they have to pay from their hard-earned money and wealth to the others? The answer to which is as follows:
Besides the fact that Zakah is an obligation and fulfillment of it leads to a Muslim getting reward from Allah Almighty and intentional swerving from it leads to a Muslim receiving punishment from Him, there are other reasons which one can find pertaining to the importance of Zakah as follows:
- Helps in Building The Society – The first benefit of Zakah is that it helps those in the society who are less fortunate. If one class of society keeps on gathering all the money and does not provide anything to anyone else, then the rest would stay in the same plight and the society would be distributed in sections. Therefore, when the wealthy of the society give Zakah, it means that the ones, who are non-wealthy, get a chance to enjoy a better lifestyle.
- Circulation of Money – The second thing that Zakah brings to table pertaining to its being obligation is the fact that it leads to circulation of money. Zakah is a form of charity and any charitable deed means that the money gets out of the hands of the ones who are already filthy rich with it. Thus, this way the money gets out of the circle of a few people and circulates in the whole economy.
- Develops a Sense of Sacrificing – Thirdly, Zakah also gives and teaches the message of sacrifice. Wealth is perhaps one of the major elements which people love the most. Therefore, when a person gives from his or her wealth, it actually means that he or she loves the order of Allah Almighty more than their personal liking and they are willing to sacrifice the thing they love for the order of Allah the Magnificent. In the Qur’an, Allah Almighty says:
“The alms are only for the Fuqara’ (the poor), and Al-Masakin (the needy) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s cause, and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.” [Qur’an, 9:60]
From this Qur’anic verse (Ayah), the following people who deserve Zakah can be extracted:
- The Poor – These are the people who don’t have means to live their life properly and live below the line of poverty.
- The Needy – These people are also poor, however, because of their pride and bashfulness they don’t expose their poverty.
- The Collectors – These are the people who are given the duty of collection of Zakah from other people, however, they themselves can’t afford to live a normal life.
- The New Converts – People who convert to Islam are also eligible as Zakah recipients as with their conversion to Islam they need assistance and help for a new start in life.
- To Free Slaves – The money of Zakah can also be spent on freeing the slaves as well.
- To Help Someone Pay Debt – Those who are in debt and can’t afford to pay it off on their own are also eligible for Zakah.
- In Cause Of Allah – Zakah can also be given to people and Islamic scholars who strive in the way of Allah, especially in the form of fighting the usurpers.
- For Travelers – Zakah can also be given to the travelers and wayfarers as they might need the money when it comes to travel arrangements.
Dear brothers and sisters! Besides the major misconceptions of Zakah, Muslims often find it difficult to calculate the amount of Zakah liable upon their possessions. There are many ways one can adopt to calculate the charity amount, however, the one which nowadays seems much reliable is to use a Zakah calculator. Zakah calculators are often especially designed by taking all necessary measurements in control that help in knowing the amount accurately. If you are one looking to calculate the total amount of charity on your personal belongings, you can contact your Islamic scholars for more useful information and explanations.
Respected brothers and sisters! There are several misconceptions related to Zakah that have become prevalent among Muslims today. In Shaa Allah the lines below address those misconceptions and give the true version of them:
- The first misconception that people have pertaining to Zakah is that it is to be paid in the month of Ramadan only. Although Ramadan is a month of being charitable, however, it in no way means that a Muslim must pay Zakah in this month only. Rather, the time when a Muslim becomes liable for paying Zakah, a year from that time is the time frame within which Zakah is to be paid. Therefore, the duration of year is what needs to be kept in mind and not the month of Ramadan for giving Zakah.
- The second misconception that Zakah is only and only liable on the Halal earnings of a person, therefore, there is no chance that Zakah can be relied upon as a means of purifying the wrongly earned wealth. Hence, it is only liable on Halal earned wealth and should be paid on it only.
- The third misconception related to Zakah is that it is only liable on gold. It is wrong. The gold mentioned in Qur’an and Hadith is as a standard unit of measurement, therefore, anything whether its cash, silver, stocks, livestock, property or another asset that is worth the same amount as the gold mentioned by Islam, it is liable for Zakah.
- The general misconception is that it is the husbands who are liable for paying Zakah for the jewelry of their wives. It is wrong, and as jewelry is the personal property of the wife, therefore, she must pay its Zakah and if she is unable to do so then she needs to sell the jewelry to pay Zakah or until the jewelry is below the level of being liable for Zakah. However, if the husband is willing to pay Zakah on behalf of the wife, he can do so, but it is not mandatory on the husband.
- The other misconception among people is that they think that Zakah is liable only on the wealth that is in excess of the requisite amount of wealth. They believe that the requisite amount gets exempted once one reaches it and anything in excess is Zakah deductible. It is also wrong, and all of the wealth becomes Zakah deductible once one reaches its requisite figure.
- Some Muslims think that they cannot give Zakah to their poor relatives as they are a part of their family. The relatives who are not in blood relation with you such as parents, spouse, children, and siblings, any relative other than that is eligible for Zakah and should be paid Zakah.
- Paying Zakah has been also associated to several physical and metaphysical benefits in the Qur’an. Some of them are as follows:
- The means to attain Allah’s mercy, Allah Almighty says:
“My Mercy extends to all things. That (Mercy) I shall ordain for those who have Allah-consciousness and give their Zakah and those who believe in Our Signs.” [Qur’an, 7:156]
- A precondition to obtain Allah’s help, Allah Almighty says:
“Allah will certainly aid those who aid His (cause); for verily Allah is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will). (They are) those who, if We establish them in the land, establish regular prayer and give their Zakah, enjoin the right and forbid wrong: with Allah rests the outcome of all affairs.” [Qur’an, 22:40-41]
- A sign of brotherhood in religion, Allah Almighty says:
“But (even so), if they repent, establish regular prayers, and give their Zakah, they are your brethren in Faith.” [Qur’an, 9:11]
- A distinctive feature of the faithful community, Allah Almighty says:
“The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, pay their Zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His Mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise.” [Qur’an, 9:71]
- A distinctive quality of the believers who go to and maintain Mosques, Allah Almighty says:
“The Mosques of Allah shall be visited and maintained by such as believe in Allah and the Last Day, establish regular prayers, and pay their Zakah and fear none (at all) except Allah.” [Qur’an, 9:18]
- A distinctive quality of the true believers, Allah Almighty says:
“Who are active in paying Zakah.” [Qur’an, 23:4]
And as important as Salah (Prayer):
“And establish the prayer and pay the Zakah and bow (in prayer) with those who bow.” [Al-Baqarah: 43]
My beloved people! In a nutshell, Zakah is a mandatory tenant of Islam and the objective of it is to help the society share the bounties of Allah and give a chance to the unfortunate ones at a better life. Therefore, every Muslim must gain knowledge about Zakah and ensure that it be paid to the deserving people.
And all praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: email@example.com or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Shawwal 23, 1442 AH (June 04, 2021).
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