Importance of Zakat in Islam
Zakah is one of the five pillars of Islam. It has been mentioned, along with daily Prayers (Salaah), seventy times in the Qur’an. Allah’s Word commanding “…and establish regular Salaah and give regular Zakah” are referred to in many parts of the Qur’an. From this, we can conclude that after Salaah, Zakah is the most important act in Islam.
The following are some verses from the Holy Qur’an and some Ahadith showing the importance and benefits of Zakah.
[Baqarah 2:43] And keep the (obligatory) prayer established, and pay the charity, and bow your heads with those who bow (in prayer).
[Baqarah 2:261] The example of those who spend their wealth in Allah’s way is similar to that of a grain which has sprouted seven stalks and in each stalk are a hundred grains; and Allah may increase it still more than this, for whomever He wills, and Allah is Most Capable, All-Knowing.
[Baqarah 2:264] O People who Believe! Do not invalidate your charity by expressing favor and causing injury – like one who spends his wealth for people to see, and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day; his example is similar to that of a rock covered with dust and a hard rain fell on it, leaving it as a bare rock; they shall get no control over (or benefit from) anything they have earned, and Allah does not guide the disbelievers.
[Baqarah 2:271] If you give charity openly, what an excellent deed it is! And if you secretly give it to the poor, it is the best for you; and it will redeem some of your sins, and Allah is Aware of your deeds.
[Baqarah 2:274] Those who spend their wealth by night and day, secretly and openly – their reward is with their Lord, and there shall be no fear upon them nor shall they grieve.
[Al I`mran 3:92] You can never attain virtue until you spend in Allah’s cause the things you love, and Allah is Aware of whatever you spend.
[Al I`mran 3:180] And never must those who act miserly upon what Allah has bestowed upon them of His grace, think that it is good for them; in fact, it is harmful to them; soon what they had withheld will be collared around their necks on the Day of Resurrection, and Allah only is the Inheritor (Owner) of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is Well Aware of what you do.
[Taubah 9:34] …and those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s way – so they give the glad tidings of a painful punishment.
[Taubah 9:35] The day when it will be heated in the fire of hell, and their foreheads and their sides and their backs will be branded with them; “Here is what you hoarded for yourselves; so now taste the joy of your hoarding!”
[Taubah 9:105] And say “Keep on with your works – Allah will now see your deeds, and so will His Noble Messenger and the Muslims; and soon you will return to the One Who knows everything – the hidden and the visible – so He will inform you of what you used to do.”
[Saba 34:39] …and whatever you spend in Allah’s cause, He will restore it; and He is the Best Sustainer.
Ahadith show the importance and benefits of Zakah.
Imam Bukhari (alaihir rahmah) relates on the authority of Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Omar (radi Allahu anhuma) that was applicable before legislation of Zakah. When Zakah was made a duty, Allah made it serve as purification of money. Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Omar (radi Allahu anhuma) is further reported to have said: The wealth from which Zakah is paid is not hoarded, even if it is stored under seven layers of earth. What is in a person’s hands is hoarded if he does not pay Zakah for it.
There is nothing wrong from the Islamic point of view with being rich, provided that one makes the right use of one’s riches. Furthermore, to be rich is not synonymous with the hoarding of money, whether it is for the modern currency type or silver and gold. The two are different. What does, then, constitute hoarding? According to eminent scholars and commentators of the Holy Quran, the payment of Zakah makes all the difference. If one pays the Zakah of his wealth on time, this payment serves as purification of the money and ensures that he is not included among those mentioned in the verse.
Bazzaz narrated from Sayyiduna Alqamah (radi Allahu anhu) reporting that our beloved Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has said that the completion of one’s Islam is dependent upon giving away Zakah from one’s wealth.
Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Masu’d (radi Allahu anhu) has said that we were commanded to perform Salaah and give Zakah, and that Salah is not accepted of the person who does not give Zakah despite eligibility. (Tibraani)
The perfection of your Islam is that you pay Zakah of your wealth. [At-Targheeb Wat-Tarheeb, Vol. 1, Page 301, Hadith 12]
Pay Zakah of your wealth as it is a purifier. It will purify you. [Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 4, Page 273, Hadith 12397]
Zakah is the bridge of Islam. [Tabarani, Al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, Vol. 3, Page 275, Hadith 4577]
The wealth that is lost in the land and in the sea is lost due to not paying Zakah. [Kanz al-Ummal, V6, P306, Hadith 15807]
One who has paid Zakah of his wealth, so the harm of his wealth has got away from him. [Mu’jam al-Awsat, V6, P328, Hadith 8937]
The nation that does not give Zakah, Allah will make them suffer from drought. [Tabarani, Mujam Awsat, V3, P275, Hadith 4577]
Whoever departs this world with sincerity towards Allah, worshiping Him alone with no partner, establishing regular prayer, and paying Zakah, dies while Allah is pleased with him. [Ibn Majah, Vol. 1, Page 27, Hadith 70]
SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam wa ‘Ala Alihi wa Sahbihi Wa Baraka Wa karam