Once in your lifetime, you’ve probably faced a morning when you looked into the mirror and realize your life is missing something. You’re off-purpose! You know you’ve so much in life to be grateful for, yet deep inside, you can sense a void in your life that hints you’re disconnected from the meaning of life because you lack a high purpose in life. What is Zakat and What is the Importance of Zakat in Islam?
Again 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.
To free ourselves from despair it’s important that we dedicate ourselves to free others from the pain and sufferings of life and therefore make charity or Zakat an obligatory everyday act. When each one of us will come forward and contribute a small proportion of their wealth for Zakat, what tremendous amounts of good we would be able to do for the society and its people!
This is exactly what Islam teaches us. 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.
What is Zakat?
Zakat refers to the purification of wealth in particular. Muslims who have wealth over a certain ratio are 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.
Charity holds a great place in Islam, therefore, it is made an obligation on Muslims in the form of Zakat. Zakat is one of the major five pillars of Islam that helps to frame a Muslim life. It is mandatory to give Zakat to those who are wealthy enough.
In the Quran (verses:9:60), Allah the 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.”
Importance of Zakat In Islam
Zakat is an obligation and fulfillment as Zakat leads a Muslim to get the reward from Allah the Almighty and declining Zakat leads a Muslim to receive punishment from Him in both this life and in the life of Akhirah (life after death).
Zakat is basically practiced to help those in 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, then the rest would stay in the same plight and this is how society today is divided into so many sections. Therefore, when the rich give Zakat, it means that the ones, who are not -wealthy, get a chance to enjoy a better lifestyle. Zakat leads to the circulation of money. Zakat is a form of charity and any charitable deed means that the money gets out of the hands of the rich and circulates in the whole economy.
Wealth is perhaps one of the major elements that 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 more than their personal likings and they are willing to sacrifice anything for the order of Allah. However, when it comes to paying Zakat, there are different misconceptions regarding it.
People often think Zakat is to be paid in the month of Ramadan only. Ramadan is a month of being charitable, however, it in no way means that a Muslim must pay Zakat in this month only. A Muslim can pay Zakat all year round if the individual has the stability to do so.
Another misconception related to Zakat is that it is only liable for gold which is wrong. The gold mentioned in Quran and the Hadith is as a standard of a unit of measurement, therefore, anything whether it is cash, silver, property or other assets, worth the same amount as the gold mentioned by Islam, is liable for Zakat.
Many Muslims tend to think that they cannot give Zakat to their poor relatives as they are a part of their family. The relatives who are not in blood relation with us such as parents, spouse, children, and siblings but are eligible for Zakat, should be paid with it.
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. Therefore, every person must ensure that Zakat is paid to the most deserving people.
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.
To lead a purposeful and worthy life it’s important we remain honest to ourselves and society. A person of high character is the one who serves the family, society, and its people and give charity or Zakat to empower others to have a better life.