Islam places great importance on the giving of Zakat

It is one of the five pillars of Islam, and every Muslim who has Nisab (the minimum amount which requires Zakat), must give it. It is compulsory to pay 2.5% of our savings at the end of each year if we have been Muslims for one lunar year. If we cannot do so physically, it may be paid off in a month. Thus it is recommended that Muslims start saving up to pay Zakat immediately after they have attained puberty and become Muslims; for example, by putting aside certain money in a box and not touching it until Zakat becomes compulsory upon them (like when their income reaches Nisab). The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

“Islam is built upon five pillars, testifying that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad (SAW) is Allah’s messenger, performing the prayers, paying Zakat, making a pilgrimage to the House, and fasting in Ramadan.” – Sahih al-Bukhari #16

The giving of Zakat both purifies one’s remaining property from being usurped by selfishness or greed and increases a person’s wealth by bringing blessings into it. This way, it prevents the rich from accumulating wealth for their good while others remain deprived. It also helps to fight poverty within society by supporting those who cannot find work or cannot get enough food due to circumstances beyond their control. Allah says in The Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 177:

“O ye who believe! Prescribed unto you is prayer, almsgiving, and fasting as it was prescribed for those before you that ye may ward off evil.” – Quran 2:177

In this hadith (saying of Prophet Muhammad), the Prophet explains two blessings in Zakat. The first one is to purify one’s wealth from greed and selfishness. The second blessing is materialistic, where a person will increase his wealth after paying Zakat. This increase can be seen physically or by receiving more blessings in what he has left over after giving away some property. The third form of blessing comes in the Hereafter when Allah rewards him for spending in the way of Allah.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “The first group (of people) who will enter Paradise, will be glittering like a full moon, and those who will follow them will glitter like stars in the sky. They will not urinate, relieve nature, spit, or have nasal secretions. Their combs will be gold, and their sweat will smell like musk. The aloes-wood will be used in their centres. Their wives will be houris.” – Sahih al Bukhari #14

Volume 2 (Book 23), Number 413: Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:

Allah’s Apostle said: “Whoever is made wealthy by Allah and does not pay the Zakat of his wealth, then on the Day of Resurrection his wealth will be made like a bald poisonous male snake with two black spots over the eyes. The snake will encircle his neck and bite his cheeks and say, ‘I am your wealth, I am your treasure.’ “Then the Prophet recited the holy verses:– ‘Let not those who withhold . . .’ (to the end of portion) (Surah Al-Baqara 2: 267-268).

Volume 2 (Book 24), Number 438: Narrated Ibn Abbas:

The Prophet said, “There is no Zakat either on a horse or a slave belonging to a Muslim” – Sahih al Bukhari #71

Book 5 (4), Number 765: Narrated ‘Aisha:

Allah’s Apostle said, “The Prophet Abraham migrated with Sarah and entered a village where there was a king or a tyrant. (The king) was told that Abraham had just come (with his wife). So, the king sent for Abraham and asked him, ‘What brought you here? What is your business?’ Abraham replied, ‘I am fleeing from Allah and His Apostle.’ Then the king gave orders to arrest him. But as soon as he got hold of Abraham by the collar, he noticed a scar on his back caused by the sword. He then left him alone.” – Sahih al Bukhari #40

Book 8 (7), Number 3417: Narrated Al-Ahnaf bin Qais:

While I was sitting with some people from Quraish, a man with very rough hair, clothes, and appearance came and stood in front of us, greeted us and said, “Inform those who hoard wealth that a stone will be heated in the Hell-fire and will be put on the nipples of their breasts till it comes out from the bones of their shoulders and then put on the bones of their shoulders till it comes through the nipples of their breasts The Prophet added, “Then they will fall in the Hell-fire further (as regards disgrace) than an animal suffers in thirst at any time.” – Sahih al Bukhari #90

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