ZAKAT IN ISLAM Here is what you need to know! As a religion, Islam has been directed as a way of life for all of its followers. In its doctrines are guiding principles for a just and civilized society. One of the cornerstones of Islamic faith is Zakat. The word Zakat in Islam means both ‘to purify’ and ‘to grow’; paying zakat therefore, purifies one’s wealth and soul, and works towards increasing ones wealth in the afterlife.
In Islam, the concept of Zakat in Islam has been set forth by the Quran and Sunnah in the following ways:
The Nature of Zakat
According to the Quran, zakat has a dual nature: (a) intrinsic and (b) extrinsic.
- Intrinsic Nature: Zakat is an act of worship; this is evident from a number of Quranic verses in which it is mentioned adjacent to salat (prayer), the most important form of worship.
The Quran stresses both these aspects of zakat:
“[O Prophet!] Take zakat out of their wealth—thou would cleanse them and purify them thereby.” (9:103)
“That which ye give in riba in order that it many increase on [other] people’s wealth has no increase with Allah; but that which you give as zakat, seeking Allah’s countenance, it is these people who will get manifold [in the Hereafter] of what they gave.” (30:39)
- Extrinsic Nature: Zakat in islam is the only tax an Islamic State can impose on its Muslim subjects. While declaring the requisites of citizenship of an Islamic State, the Quran says:
“And if they repent [from all un-Islamic beliefs], establish salat and pay zakat, leave them alone.” (9:5)
The above verse clearly points out that salat and zakat are part of the public law of an Islamic State, and the only two things which an Islamic government can positively demand from its Muslim citizens.
“After you have paid the zakat of your wealth you have paid [all] that was [legally] required of you.” (Ibni Maajah: Kitab-uz-Zakat)
The Heads of Zakat
The following Quranic verse spells out the heads under which the zakat fund can be expended:
“Zakat is only for the poor and the needy, and for those who are aamils over it, and for those whose hearts are to be reconciled [to the truth], and for the emancipation of the slaves and for those who have been inflicted with losses and for the way of Allah and for the wayfarers.” (9:60)
1) The Poor and Needy (Fuqaraa and Masaaqeen): The poor and the needy are the foremost recipients of zakat because they are the primary responsibility of the state. It must cater for their basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, health and education. In this regard, the Prophet (sws) is said to have said:
“It [zakat] should be taken from their rich and returned to their poor.” (Bukhari, Kitab-uz-Zakat)
2) The `Aamils over Zakat (`aamileen-a-`alaihaa): Under this, the salaries of all employees of the government including the head of the state can be paid.
3) Those whose hearts are to be reconciled (Muallafatul Quloob): Under this head come all forms of political expenditure in the interest of Islam. There may be many instances, when the affection of certain influential people must be obtained, particularly in border areas where their role can be decisive in the safety of a country. During the time of the Prophet (sws) many tribes were given money under this head to deter them from harming the newly founded Islamic State.
4) Slaves (riqaab): The institution of slavery was totally eliminated by Islam fourteen centuries ago. From the zakat fund, money was given to free slaves. Today, by analogy, this head can be extended to include other recipients. For example, prisoners of war and other prisoners who are unable to pay the fine imposed by the courts can be freed by giving money through this head.
5) Those inflicted with losses (Ghaarimeen): Under this, an Islamic system of Insurance can be established and all those who are inflicted with economic losses can be compensated. Whether rich or poor the real criterion is that their means of living and its role in the national economy have been destroyed. People who have acquired a loan and are unable to pay it back may also be helped from this money so that they may start afresh and the society can benefit from their abilities.
6) In the Way of Allah (Fee Sabeelillaah): Under this head defence expenditures of a state can be met and institutions for religious propagation as well as all works of public interest like roads, bridges, mosques, hospitals, educational institutions and libraries can be built.
7) The Wayfarer (Ibnussabeel): This implies the welfare of the wayfarer. Circumstances often make a traveller a needy person, in which case, his needs can be fulfilled from this head.
As the foremost recipients of zakat, the Fuqaraa and Masaaqeen (the poor and needy) are the most entitled to its benefits. In this regard, Transparent Hands endeavors to help needy patients by providing them free medical treatment. Zakat can be channeled towards contributions and donations to crowdfund medical procedures for poor and deserving patients. By offering complete transparency and accountability of zakat funds, Transparent Hands provides an online medium that keeps everything above board.