The declaration of faith in Islam [shahadah] must find its way to the heart and be reflected in one’s actions and behavior.

A believer [Mu’mim] does not hesitate to spend his or her wealth it the cause of Allah.

One of the obligatory duties in Islam is praying the poor-due or zakat.

It differs from charity [sadaqah] that is voluntarily given out of kindness and has no specific time or amount requirement. Even a smile is considered charity in Islam!

Zakat is an annual payment based on fixed rates for different types of wealth.

Zakat differs from the other obligatory duties [salat, fasting and Hajj] in that it is mostly a financial transaction and does not involve any physical act of worship. Only the declaration of intention [niat] to do it for Allah is required.

Paying zakat is to acknowledge that the wealth in our possession is not ours. It has been given to us by Allah The Most Exalted as a trust to be spent in ways permitted by Him.

We will be questioned on Judgment Day about whether we honored this trust.

Zakat on self [zakatulfitr] is a fixed amount. It is the approximate cost of a meal. It will therefore vary from one region to another and over time as well as costs varies.

It is paid as atonement for shortcomings in one’s performance of fasting during the month of Ramadan as well as to contribute to the eradication of poverty.

It is given to the needy so that they too can celebrate the completion of the obligatory duty of fasting. It must be paid before the Idil Fitr prayers.

It is usually paid during the last days of Ramadan by the head of the family for himself and for each of his dependents.

In places without a zakat collection body, the amount is paid directly to the needy.

Zakat on wealth [zakatulmaal] must be paid on most types of wealth. The conditions for payment include: the wealth in each category must reach the minimum [nisab] for zakat payment and having full ownership of the wealth for a full Hijrah year.

The zakat levied varies according to the type of wealth. The levy on most of the commonly held wealth [cash, jeweler, shares and property] is 2.5%.

The zakat levied is inversely proportionate to the effort required. For example, the zakat on rain-fed produce is higher compared to that cultivated with irrigation.

The eligible zakat recipients include the poor, the needy, those in serious debt, zakat administrators, new reverts to Islam who need help and stranded travelers.

Zakat can be paid to free slaves and aid activities in the way of Allah.

Giving money to relatives who are not in the above categories is not zakat.

Zakat payment is increasing in most places due to greater awareness of the importance of this obligatory duty.

Some are still ignorant about the sin of neglecting this obligatory duty.


The Noble Qur’an warns

The wealth they hid will be heated in the fire of Hell and burned on their foreheads, sides and backs with a branding iron. They will be told, ‘Here is the wealth that you hoarded. Now taste what you were hoarding.’ [9:35]


Saying of the Prophet [pbuh]

The unpaid zakat will appear on Judgment Day as “a poisonous snake with two black specks, which chains him and then seizes him by his jaw and says, ‘I am your wealth! I am your treasure!” [Bukhari]

Brothers and sisters, need I write more to remind you and myself about what awaits all those who neglect this obligatory duty!

We leave behind everything when we die. Zakat is a regular reminder to us not to cling on to our wealth.

Zakat cleanses the heart of the love of material wealth and affirms that nothing is dearer to us than the love of Allah.

Prophet Muhammad’s [pbuh] personal belongings at his death were a reed bed, a bed sheet, a bowl and a shield!

The word zakat means ‘to purify’ and ‘to grow’.

Zakat purifies the remaining wealth. This wealth gains Allah’s blessings and grows like “a grain of corn that grows seven ears and each ear has a hundred grains.” [2:261]

Paying zakat is a way of submitting to the teaching of The Qur’an that poor have a right over the wealth of the rich. [70:24-25]

Zakat not only checks hoarding but causes more money to circulate in the community. This leads to greater prosperity for all and strengthens the economy of the ummah.

Be prompt in the payment of zakat as one does not know what may happen tomorrow.

Pay zakat in secrecy to guard yourself from hypocritical display and reputation-seeking. Pay zakat publicly if it is meant only to encourage others to do the same but be on guard inwardly against hypocritical motives.

Do not make the recipients feel ashamed of their poverty. Remember that you are only giving what you owe Allah and it is He Who is providing sustenance to all.

Do not be miserly by paying the minimum. Pay more if you can afford to do so.

Whatever you spend in the cause of Allah shall be paid back to you in full and you shall not be treated unjustly.” [8:60]

You shall find it with Allah, surely Allah is watching all your actions” [2:110] and Allah “increases this manifold to whom Allah wishes, as Allah has boundless knowledge.” [2:261]

Make your wealth grow in goodness for you here and in the Hereafter. Pay your zakat now. Don’t wait till your soul reaches your throat!

By Dr Y Mansoor Marican, Ph. D