Page 73 - Islam In Focus

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4. Zakah is a healthy form of internal security against selfish greed and social
dissension, against the intrusion and penetration of subversive ideologies. It is an
effective instrument in cultivating the spirit of social responsibility on the part of the
contributor, and the feeling of security and belonging on the part of the recipient
5. Zakah is a vivid manifestation of the spiritual and humanitarian spirit of responsive
interactions between the individual and society. It is a sound illustration of the fact
that though Islam does not hinder private enterprise or condemn private possessions,
yet it does not tolerate selfish and greedy capitalism. It is an expression of the general
philosophy of Islam which adopts a moderate and middle but positive and effective
course between the Individual and Society, between the Citizen and the State,
between Capitalism and Socialism, between Materialism and Spirituality.
The Rate of Zakah
Every Muslim, male or female, who, at the end of the year, is in possession of the
nisab (minimum Zakah - able wealth) approximately the value of 85 grams of gold or
more, in cash or articles of trade, must give Zakah at the minimum rate of two and
one-half percent. In the case of having the amount in cash the matter is easy. But
when a person has wealth in business stocks or trade articles, he must evaluate his
wealth at the end of every year according to the current value and give Zakah at the
same rate of two and one-half percent of the total value of the wealth. If his
investment is in immovable property like revenue buildings and industries, the rate of
Zakah should go by the total net of the income, and not of the total value of the whole
property. But if he puts up buildings and houses for trade or selling, Zakah rate should
go by the total value of the entire property. Also if someone is a creditor and the
indebted person is reliable, one should pay Zakah for the amount he has lent because
it is still a portion of his guaranteed wealth
In all cases it should remembered that one pays only for his net balance. His personal
expenses, his family allowances, his necessary expenditures, his due credits – all are
paid first, and Zakah is for the net balance
It should also be remembered that the rate of 2.5% is only a minimum. In times of
emergency or arising needs there is no rate limit; the more one gives, the better it is
for all concerned, the distribution of Zakah serves all purposes for which numerous
fund-raising campaigns are launched. The Zakah fund substitutes for all the other
funds. It is authentically reported that there were times in the history of the Islamic
administration when there was no person eligible to receive Zakah; every subject –
Muslim, Christian, and Jew - of the vast Islamic empire had enough to satisfy his
needs, and the rulers had to deposit the Zakah collections in the Public Treasury. This
shows that when the Zakah law is enacted properly it minimizes the needs of the
citizens and enriches the Public Treasury to such an extent that there may be no needy
or poor, and that enormous amounts of surplus are available
The unfailing power of this effective measure of public interest stems from the fact
that it is a Divine injunction, an ordinance from God Himself. It is not a personal
matter or a voluntary contribution; rather, it is an obligation for the fulfillment of
which one will be responsible to God directly. Because Zakah is the legislation of
God Himself to be enforced in the common interest, no Muslim is allowed to neglect