Blessings in One’s Wealth from Zaka
From the favors of Allah (swt), He has blessed us with wealth and, therefore, Zakah has become obligatory on us.
He says if we spend in His way from what He gave us, there will be an increase in our blessings and wealth. We must simply trust wholeheartedly in Allah (swt) and with this trust we should spend in His SWT way.
When Allah SWT is promising us such an increase, then what is there that will prevent us from giving Zakah? Allah SWT says in Surah Baqarah verse 276, “Allah will deprive usury of all blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity: For He loves not creatures ungrateful and wicked.” With regards to this verse, that Prophet (pbuh) stated, “Giving in the way of Allah does not decrease one’s wealth, and forgiving someone does not decrease one’s status; rather, Allah raises his status. Those who are humble in the way of their Lord, He increases them in rank” (Muslim).
The essence of this Hadith is that the result of our actions, its impact, and blessings are all in the hands of Allah (swt).
Out of His wisdom and authority, He reveals the truth and brings forth the consequences and impact of one’s actions.
One may see an increase in wealth due to usury, but the reality is that it is devoid of blessings. On the other hand, those who spend in the way of their Lord and feel their wealth is decreasing, in reality, it is full of blessings and Allah (swt) will increase it.
The second part of this Hadith addresses the man who seeks revenge for injustice done to him solely for instilling fear in the hearts of others; however, he chooses to forgive rather than seek his revenge.
Allah prefers those who forgive and also raises their status and respect.
Allah (swt) explains this point further with an example that humans experience regularly in their lives and, as a result, their hearts find peace.
Allah (swt) says in Surah Baqarah, verse 261, “The parable of those who spend their substance in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it grows seven years, and each year has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to who He pleases: And Allah cares for all and He knows all things.” A farmer sows his seeds in the ground apparently wasting them; however, he does so with complete trust as he prays to Allah for the blessings from it.
Allah (swt) upon seeing the hard work of His servant blesses this man with 700 grains from the single seed planted.
The humble servant is the one who gives Zakah with the purest intention seeking Allah’s pleasure and the reward of the Hereafter.
He spends happily with an open heart, does not remind others of his favor upon them, and remembers the favors of Allah on him.
Allah (swt) says in Surah Rum, verse 39, “That which you lay out for increase through the property of (other) people will have no increase with Allah: but that which you lay out for charity, seeking the Countenance of Allah, (will increase): it is these who will get a recompense multiplied.”
Those who seek the pleasure of Allah (swt) by giving Zakah and spending in His way will be the ones who receive these blessings and increases.
Abu Huraira (r) narrates that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “If one gives in charity what equals one date-fruit of the honestly-earned money—and Allah accepts only the honestly earned money—Allah takes it in His right (hand) then enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it), as anyone of you brings up his baby horse, so much so that it becomes as big as a mountain” (Bukhari).
Zakah: A Means of Purification and Closeness
The purpose of Zakah is to balance the economic system of society. Wealth should not circulate merely amongst the rich; instead, it should fulfill the needs of those who are disabled, poor, in hardship, and who live in poverty. The needy should receive their share of this wealth with the utmost respect and ease.
Those who pay Zakah should avoid the arrogant thought that it is because of their money that these recipients are happy.
If Allah (swt) had willed, He could have given the poor this wealth directly; rather, He put you in a position to bestow this favor upon them from your wealth as a blessing to you, and in it lies your test.
If you pass this test, then in the eyes of Allah, you will receive a great reward; however, if you show miserliness, then instead of blessings, you will receive punishment.
There is no doubt that one’s Zakah fulfills the need of helping the poor; however, one should pay this annual due on one’s wealth with the intention to please Allah and come closer to Him.
One’s heart should be clean of the love for wealth and this life. Instead, one’s heart should be content with the love of Allah.
A sincere believer is one who realizes that whatever he has is from Allah and if he is able to give from this in the way of Allah, this is a blessing and mercy. One proves his/her servitude to Allah (swt) through this trust and belief in spending in His way.
Linguistically, Zakah means “cleanliness, abundance, multiplication, and fine praise.” When the servant of Allah shows zeal in paying Zakah, his heart is purified from the love of this world and wealth, which is the cause of many spiritual diseases.
In return, his/her heart increases with love of Allah, which has a positive effect on their character and personality.
Allah (swt) says in Surah Tawbah, verse 99, “But some of the desert Arabs believe in Allah and the Last Day and look on their payments as pious gifts bringing them nearer to Allah and obtaining the prayers of the Messenger. Aye, indeed they bring them nearer (to Him): soon will Allah admit them to His Mercy: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” Allah (swt) promises closeness to Him and says in verse 103, “Of their goods, take alms, so that it might purify and sanctify them; and pray on their behalf. Verily your prayers are a source of security for them: And Allah is One Who hears and knows.”
While paying Zakah, its essence should be remembered because from this the heart is cleansed of the love of wealth, and this brings forth good character as well as personality. In Surah Layl, Allah (swt) says of those who are saved from the fire, “But those most devoted to Allah shall be removed far from it, those who spend their wealth for increase in self-purification.” One should give Zakah so that his or her personality is clean before Allah (swt), which leads to protection from the fire.
Other Types of Charity
One must not believe that he/she has satisfied the responsibility towards Allah (swt) by paying the annual Zakah; this is a required act of worship upon Muslims. In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) has emphasized charity and spending in His way above sacrificing oneself in His way.
Several verses in the Qur’an illustrate the preference of monetary sacrifice over self sacrifice. The concept of charity and spending in the way of Allah comes after Zakah and reveals one’s actual desire to spend with an open heart.
The Prophet (pbuh) has clearly stated, “Allah has a right over one’s wealth besides Zakah.” He then recited Surah Baqarah verse 177, “It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards east or west; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Books, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which you have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing.”
Zakah is the minimum due on a Muslim’s wealth, and annually paying this proves that one is a believer and part of the Muslim society.
The emphasis in the Qur’an and Hadith is on other forms of charity as well. The companions have stated that the Prophet (pbuh) was swifter than the wind in giving charity, especially in the days of Ramadan.
The companion Anas bin Malik (r) narrates that once a man came to the Prophet (pbuh) and asked for help.
The Prophet (pbuh) had she-goats that could fill the whole valley, and he gave all of them away to this man. This man went back to his tribe and called upon everyone, “Bring Islam and become Muslim. Muhammad gives in such a way that he does not fear poverty.”
In another Hadith, Bint Abi Bakr narrates that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Spend in the way of Allah (swt) with an open heart and don’t count the amount. If you count, then spend in His way, then He too will count when given to you. Do not hoard your wealth for Allah (swt) will do the same with you. Therefore, wherever you can, spend in the way of your Lord” (Bukhari, Muslim).
Abu Dharr Ghaffari narrates, “I once came to the Prophet (pbuh) when he was resting in the shade of the Kabah. Upon seeing me, he said, ‘I swear by the Lord of the Kabah those people are in great loss!’ I asked “May my parents sacrifice for you; who are these people in great loss?” He replied, “Those who have money and are wealthy. Yes, only those are protected who spend to their left, right, front, and back with an open heart in the way of Allah, but these people are few” (Bukhari).
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