Zakat is a mandatory practice of Islam and the purpose of it is to help society, share the endless boons of Allah and give the unfortunate ones a better life. Our environment and the world in which we live and work are the mirrors of our attitudes, deeds, and what we are giving them back every day. Human life is not meant to be wasted in selfishness. It is meant to be dedicated to the good of others. Zakat is one of the major five pillars of Islam that helps to frame a Muslim life. Allah says:
وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ فِعْلَ الْخَيْرَاتِ وَإِقَامَ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءَ الزَّكَاةِ وَكَانُوا لَنَا عَابِدِينَ
“We made them leaders who guide by Our command and We inspired them to work good deeds, to observe the Salat and to give the Zakat, they were worshippers of us.” (Surah Al-Anbya 21:73)
Zakat is paid to the most deserving people. To lead a purposeful and worthy life it’s important we remain honest with ourselves and society. A person of high character is the one who serves the family, society, and its people and gives charity or Zakat to empower others to have a better life. As one of the pillars of Islam, a zakat is a form of obligatory charity that has the potential to ease the suffering of millions. Allah says:
هَلْ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَّآ أَن يَأْتِيَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ فِى ظُلَلٍۢ مِّنَ ٱلْغَمَامِ وَٱلْمَلَٓئِكَةُ وَقُضِىَ ٱلْأَمْرُ ۚ وَإِلَى ٱللَّهِ تُرْجَعُ ٱلْأُمُورُ
“And establish prayer and give Zakat, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah.” (Surat Al-Baqarah 2:110)
Islam is not only a religion but a complete way of life. To succeed in the motto of making the world a better place and helping others, Islam has always emphasized charity or Zakat. When each one of us will come forward and contribute a small proportion of our wealth for Zakat, what tremendous amounts of the good we would be able to do for society and its people. Allah says:
فَأَقِیمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّـھِ
“So establish Salat and give Zakat, and hold fast to Allah.” (Surah Al-Haj 22:78)
People spend their entire life with the wrong idea of true happiness because happiness is not attained through self-gratification but through dedication to a worthy purpose. When we lift up the lives of those drowned in poverty, sickness, or ones deprived of basic human rights, our quest for purpose and contentment comes to an end as we get what we were looking for too long.
Zakat leads to reward from Allah, here are some importance of Zakat In Islam:
- Zakat plays a key role in supporting the poor
- Zakat is a purification of the believer’s heart
- Zakat is an obligatory charitable donation
- Zakat is a fundamental required concept
- Zakat is a sign of a faithful community
- Zakat is intended to purify our wealth
- Zakat brings a Muslim closer to Allah
- Zakat brings a strong sense of faith
- Zakat helps to cleanse one’s soul
- Zakat is the right of the poor
- Zakat is an act of worship
- Zakat keeps one away from sin
- Zakat is an obligation on Muslims
- Zakat holds a great place in Islam
- Zakat is paid on the surplus of wealth
- Zakat help to bring you closer to Allah
- Zakat leads to the circulation of money
- Zakat has the power to change the world
- Zakat is mandatory to those who are wealthy
- Zakat is a way of increasing love and harmony
Zakat refers to the purification of wealth in particular. Muslims who have wealth over a certain ratio is bound to pay zakat on it and give it to those who are less fortunate and don’t have sufficient means to live their lives in a standard way parallel to human dignity. We are obliged to pay zakat, from our earned money and wealth. Zakat helps us to free our souls from the love of wealth, and also carries a lot of importance both in Islam and in our daily life. Allah says:
.فَأَقِیمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّـھِ
“So establish Salat and give Zakat, and hold fast to Allah.” (Surah Al-Haj 22:78)
Man is a social animal, so he cannot live without society. The system of zakat ensures proper distribution of wealth and has a wide impact on the entire set-up of society. If zakat is established as an institution, it will create a collective social security scheme for mutual help/sympathy and the resources can be further utilized for social development. Allah says:
وَكَانَ يَأْمُرُ أَهْلَهُ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ وَكَانَ عِندَ رَبِّهِ مَرْضِيًّا
“And he used (to) enjoin (on) his people the prayer and zakah and was near his Lord pleasing.” (Surah Maryam 19:55)
Zakat purifies the giver’s soul and takes him closer to Allah, while on the other, produces in him feelings of love, brotherhood and generosity towards humanity. These humble, loving and caring fellows then collaborate to make a better human society.
Following are the verses on Zakat from the Holy Quran:
- “Of their goods, take zakat, so that you might purify and sanctify them.” (9:103, Qur’an)
- “who believe in the unseen, observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and from our provisions to them, they give to charity.” (Quran2:3)
- “And as important as Salah “And establish the prayer and pay the Zakat and bow (in prayer) with those who bow.” (Al-Baqarah: 2:43)
- “Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth to purify them and sanctify them with it…” (Quran 7:103)
Zakat is the most effective measure to improve the economic condition of the have-nots. Muslims believe that paying zakat purifies, increases and blesses the remainder of their wealth. As Zakat is an important system of Islamic ideology therefore it plays an active role in the spiritual and social life of Muslim society.
Some of the social problems resulting from weak economic conditions may be counted as follows:
- Illiteracy: The poor families cannot educate their children properly, who, accordingly, resort to
child labour or fall into the hands of mischief mongers.
- Moral Bankruptcy: The poor and the uneducated community cannot maintain the strong footing of morality.
- Increase in Crime Rate: Economic recession leads society towards bleak law and order situation. The poor people turn to theft, robbery and the like in order to meet their economic demands.
- Social Impact of Zakat: Islam concentrates on the reform of individuals, who are constituents of society. Zakat, in the same way at first, builds the character of an individual and then brings a lot of impacts to society. Individual Impact
Zakat is basically practised to help those in the society who are in the most need. If one class of society keeps on gathering all the money and does not provide anything to anyone else. Zakat giver attains a sense of self-discipline through his obedience towards Allah. Zakat is an institutional system and makes an important source of the stability of the society.
Individual Impact of Zakat at Society:
- Generosity: Man is naturally greedy and his thirst for more and more material gains never satisfies. Zakat is a sort of journey from the inside to the outside. He learns to come out of the race of personal interests and think for other human beings. He extends financial help to the poor and the needy.
- The sincerity of Faith: Zakat is also called “Sadaqa” which is derived from “Sidq” which means truth.
It also shows his complete submission to the will of Allah.
- Self-Purification: Zakat from selfishness and indifference, while, on the other, it purifies those who receive Zakat from the feelings of haltered against the wealthy people.
- Obedience to Law: It makes an individual a responsible and obedient citizen. Divine orders are, in a sense, a sort of training to make a person obedient to laws and thus become civilized and cultured.
- Special financial Aid: Zakat is distinct from all other forms of charity in contemporary society, as it also seeks to relieve an insolvent from his unsettled debts. It also provides necessary financial
aid for the wayfarer who unexpectedly faces financial risk regardless of being rich or poor.
- Social Harmony and Justice: Zakat bridges the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. In capitalistic economies. One of the purposes of Zakat is to avoid such social disparity.
- Social Security: Zakat functions as social security for all. Those who have enough money today pay for what they have. If they need money tomorrow, they will get what is necessary to help them live decently.
- Best Check against hoarding: Zakat is not levied on the income rather on the savings and hoarded items. In this way, the literal meaning of Zakat ie ‘Growth’ materializes.
- Circulation of Wealth: Zakat keeps wealth in circulation and thus it benefits the whole society. Thus Zakat helps a lot in decreasing poverty. If a proper Zakat system is established, poverty will vanish away from the earth.
- Human Brotherhood: Zakat brings the people closer to each other and ensures real brotherhood in the true sense of the word and spirit.
- Promoting self-respect: Zakat is obligatory on the wealthy people. If they pay Zakat, they are just performing their duty assigned by Allah.
- Discouraging Beggary: If everyone pays Zakat from among the haves, no poor and the unfortunate would have to resort to begging.
- Peace and Prosperity: Zakat ensures social justice by bringing financial balance among various strata of society. It decreases the crime rate and terrorist inclinations among society members.
Zakat is the Muslim practice of charitable giving based on accumulated wealth. Zakat has been mentioned at eighty-two places in the Quran in close connection with prayer. Zakat is a bridge that connects Muslims around the world on emotional grounds. Zakat fills the heart of a Muslim with empathy and stops him from engaging in the evil pleasures and splendours of the world. Allah says:
وَآتِ ذَا الْقُرْبَىٰ حَقَّهُ وَالْمِسْكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَلَا تُبَذِّرْ تَبْذِيرًا
“And give the relatives his right, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and (do) not spend wastefully.” (Surah Al-Isra 17:26)
Zakat moulds individuals into responsible and caring persons. It inculcates the spirit of goodwill, cooperation and brotherhood in upholding social solidarity in society. It is very much clear and proved that the System of Zakat plays an effective and successful role in developing the social life and moral values of Muslim society. Allah says:
وَمَا آتَیْتُم مِّن زَكَاةٍ تُرِیدُونَ وَجْھَ اللَّـھِ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ ھُمُ الْمُضْعِفُون
“That which you give in Zakat, seeking Allah’s countenance, has increase manifold.” (Surah Ar-Rum 30:39 )
Zakat is the spiritual way to acknowledge the fact, that whatever wealth we have today was given by Allah and nothing belongs to us. So we should not cling to our wealth and materialistic stuff greedily. It must be clear that Zakat is a portion of a charity system of Islam, otherwise, there is a good range of ‘Sadaqat’ i,e those alms which are not compulsory. They can play miracles if properly institutionalized by the state.