Giving to Receive
Allah (swt) has mentioned zakaat, along with salaat (daily prayers), over seventy times in the Qur'an. Zakaat purifies one's possession of wealth by distributing a prescribed amount to the poor, the indigent, the slaves or captives, and the wayfarer.
Zakaat reminds us that the wealth we possess is due to Allah's will and so it is to be spent according to His command. A social security, zakaat ensures payment by those who have enough money, and receiving by the needy to help them live decently. Oh! So easily can the roles by vice versa.
Paying zakaat is an act of worship, an expression of submission and thankfulness to Allah; receiving is a gift from Allah, a favour for which the beneficiary is thankful to Allah.
Economically, zakaat is the best check against hoarding. Those who stockpile their wealth would see their wealth dwindling year after year at the rate of the payable zakaat. Giving helps to redistributing income that enhances the purchasing power of the poor.
Zakaat is obligatory upon an adult, sane and free Muslim. If for a complete lunar year (Islamic year) someone possesses wealth in excess of nisaab (amount which makes one liable for zakaat) excluding that person's personal needs such as clothing, furniture, utensils, cars, etc., then zakaat becomes payable. The wealth should be of productive nature from which one can derive profit or benefit such as merchandise for business, gold, silver, livestock etc
Nisaab as fixed by Rasulullah (saw) is of 87.48 grams (7.5 tola) of gold or 612.36 grams (52.5 tola) of silver (in any form), or its equivalent in cash, stock or bonds, merchandise for business, livestock, income derived from rental business, or shares (minus machinery, land, fixtures and fittings, furniture, buildings) at current market price. Zakaat is payable at the rate of 2.5% of all such assets that exceeds the value of nisaab.
If such wealth decreases during the course of the year and increases again to the value of nisaab before the end of the year, the zakaat then must be calculated on the full amount that is possessed at the end of the year.
If the gold possessed is less than 87.48 grams or if silver possessed is less than 612.36 grams, but the value of both combined is equal to or exceeds the nisaab, then zakaat will be due.
An article of mixed metals will be regarded as gold or silver if the gold or silver content is more than the other metal. If reverse is the case, zakaat will not be due on that article.
Zakaat should be given as soon as possible after it becomes due to one person or to several persons. The poor cannot be paid for their work from zakaat nor can zakaat be given in payment of services, except to the people appointed by an Islamic government to collect zakaat.
Zakaat will only be valid if the recipient is made the owner of that amount. If, for example, a few needy persons are fed a meal from zakaat money, then zakaat will not be fulfilled as they were not made owners of the food.
Zakaat cannot be given for the construction of masjid, madrasah, hospital, a well, a bridge or any other public amenity.
Zakaat can be paid in kind from the same merchandise on which it is due, or alternatively, it could be paid in cash.
Zakaat is not imposed on any metals other than gold or silver; on fixtures and fittings of a shop, car, trucks or any delivery vehicle etc., which is used in running business; on precious or semiprecious stones for personal use; on personal residence, household furniture, pots and pan, personal clothing; on a person whose liabilities exceed or equal his assets.
The recipients of zakaat, according to Qur'an (9:60), are people who are poor and who possess more than their basic needs but not wealth equal to nisaab; needy people who are forced to beg for their daily food rations; people appointed by an Islamic Government to collect zakaat; persons who have recently accepted Islam and are in need of basic necessities who would benefit from encouragement by Muslims which would help strengthen their faith; slaves who are permitted to work for remuneration and have an agreement from their masters to purchase their freedom on payment of fixed amounts; persons who have a halal debt and do not possess any other wealth or goods with which they could repay that which they owe; persons who have to carry out an obligatory deed which has become obligatory on them and subsequently (due to loss of wealth) are unable to complete that obligation; and persons who are travellers and during the course of their journey do not possess basic necessities, though they are well to do at home.
Zakaat cannot be given to the descendants of Rasulullah (saw), to parents and grandparents, and to one's children and grandchildren. A husband and wife cannot give zakaat to each other. Zakaat contributions cannot be given to such institutions or organizations which do not give the rightful recipients zakaat, but instead use funds for constructions, investment or salaries.
Allah says in the Qur'an: "The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn. It grows seven ears and each ear has hundred grains. Allah increases manifold to whom He pleases." (Qur'an 2:261)
It is stated in the hadis that by giving zakaat, a mortal can gain the pleasure of Allah, His forgiveness and blessings, protection from the wrath of Allah and from a bad death, increase in wealth and protection from losses, a shelter on the Day of Judgment, and security from seventy misfortunes.
Allah also says in the Qur'an:
"And there are those who hoard gold and silver and do not spend it in the way of Allah, announce to them a most grievous penalty (when) on the Day of Judgment heat will be produced out of that wealth in the fire of Hell. Then with it they will be branded on their forehead and their flanks and backs. (It will be said to them) This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves, taste then the treasure that you have been hoarding." (Qur'an 9:34-35)
Therefore, let us give our dues to receive gifts divine.
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