Charity - Zakat in Islam

Charity is not only recommended in Islam; it is an obligation for every financially stable Muslim. Giving charity to those who deserve is part of the character of a Muslim and is one of the Five Pillars of Islamic practice. Zakat in Islam can be translated as “obligatory charity”; responding to the needs of those members of the society who are in need. Some people devoid of feelings of love, only know how to accumulate wealth and multiply it with usury and banking interests. The teachings of Islam are the antithesis of this attitude. Islam encourages a distribution of wealth by helping people to fend for themselves and become productive members of the society.


Zakat in Islam

In Arabic it is known as zakat, which literally means “purification”, because zakat purifies the heart from greed. The love for fortune is natural in human being, but belief in Islam entails to share with the neighbour. Zakat in Islam must be paid in different categories of property – gold, silver, money, livestock, agricultural production and raw material – and is paid each year on the annual balance. 2.5% annual savings and individual assets must be delivered to the needy.


Since prayer is an individual and communal responsibility, zakat in Islam expresses the worship of the Muslim and the gratitude towards Allah for helping the neediest. In Islam, the true owner of things is not man, but Allah. Acquiring wealth for your exclusive benefit or living only to increase wealth is a curse. The mere acquisition of wealth does not count in the eyes of Allah. It does not give man any merit in this life or in the hereafter. Islam teaches that people must acquire wealth with the intention of spending it on their own needs and those of others.


“Said the Prophet – Peace Be Upon Him -:” The man says: ‘My fortune! My fortune! ‘But do you have another fortune except for what you spend in charity, and in that way it becomes eternal, what you wear and wear out, and what you eat? “


Wealth is a Gift from Allah

The concept of wealth in Islam is considered as a gift from Allah. It is Allah who provides the person, who has destined a portion of it for the poor, so that the poor have a right over the fortune of the most graced. The Zakat in Islam reminds the Muslim that everything he possesses belongs to Allah. People receive wealth as a trust of Allah. Zakat in Islam liberates the person from the love of money. Allah, in His infinite mercy, promises rewards for helping those in need on the condition that Zakat be paid in the name of Allah, sincerely at heart, without expecting any retribution from the beneficiaries, nor expecting his name to appear on a list of philanthropists. The feelings of the one who receives the zakat should not be hurt by making him feel inferior or reminding him of what he has received.

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Zakat as Social Security

When an institution collects Zakat from Muslims, the money raised as Zakat can only be used for specific things entrusted by God. Islamic legislation stipulates that charity is used to feed the poor, orphans and widows, to free slaves or prisoners, or to pay debts as mentioned in the Qur’an (9:60). Zakat, which was established 14 centuries ago, functions as social security in Muslim society.

During the caliphates the collection and delivery of Zakat was a function of the state. In the contemporary Muslim world, it has been left to individuals, except for some countries in which the state has that role to a certain extent. Most Muslims in the West share zakat with Islamic charities, mosques, or giving them directly to the poor.


Quran About Charity

Apart from the Zakat, the Qur’an and the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (the Sunnah), they also emphasize Saddaqat or voluntary charity for the needy. The Qur’an emphasizes the importance of feeding the poor, the clothing for those who lack it, the help of the debtors; the more a person helps, the more Allah helps that person. Who cares for the needs of people, Allah takes care of their needs.


Caring for the poor, the weak and the needy is a gift from Allah, our Lord and Creator, and it is a basic human virtue. It is for this reason that all the messages revealed by Allah have emphasized this innate virtue and have given him a central role in his teachings. However, the emphasis that the religion of Islam gives to Saddaqat (charity) surpasses that of previous religions.

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Benefits for the Giver

Connecting it with almost all aspects of life, Islam surely establishes the significance of giving, of being charitable and of zakat in so many ways that it is difficult for a Muslim to consider himself a true believer if he does not practice these virtues. Generosity, charity and zakat – serve to atone for sins, erase bad deeds, elevate our position in the eyes of Allah, build and generate union within the Muslim communities, eliminate poverty, unify human beings, spread peace, establish justice, create compassion and mercy and give hope to people at any time and place where these forms of charities are put into practice.


Let us consider only one aspect of the Muslim duty to practice charity as shown in the Hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “Charity is obligatory every day and for every articulation of the human being” (Al Bukhari and Muslim).


If human beings practiced this simple instruction, how much of poverty would have been eliminated? How much happiness would have increased in our world?


Give your Zakat and Sadaqat to Shifa Foundation this Ramzan and play a part in alleviating the suffering of the underprivileged and deserving. Shifa Foundation is currently working in thematic areas of food, nutrition, WASH and health. It is providing monthly food ration packages to the deserving and organizing regular dastarkhwans in different areas of the twin cities. Shifa Foundation has installed more than 148 hand pumps in different drought stricken areas of Pakistan. The organization is also striving to eradicate malnutrition in marginalized communities and providing advanced medical care to deserving patients in its Falahee Clinic.


Prophet (PBUH) said, “He who breaks the fast of another fasting person shall earn a reward equivalent to the fasting person without detracting from the reward of the latter.”


Multiply your reward by giving charity to Shifa Foundation during this Ramzan.

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