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The Islamic Bulletin

Issue 6

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The Islamic Bulletin

Issue 6

It is not simply voluntary contribution to someone or some cause, nor a

government tax that a shrewd clever person can get away with. Rather,

it is a duty enjoined by God and undertaken by Muslims in the interest

of society as a whole. The Qur’anic word Zakah not only includes

charity, alms, tithe, kindness, tax, voluntary contributions, etc., but it also

combines with all these God- mindedness and spiritual as well as moral

motives. That is why there can be no equivalent to the word Zakah be-

cause of the supreme originality of theQur’an, the Divine Book of God.

The literal and simple meaning of Zakah is purity.

The technical meaning of the word designates the annual amount in

kind or coin in which a Muslim with means must distribute among

the rightful beneficiaries. But the religious and spiritual significance

of Zakah is much deeper and livelier.

Here is an explanation of the far-reaching effects of Zakah.

1. Zakah purifies the property of the people with means and clears it

from the shares which do not belong to it anymore, the shares which

must be distributed among the due beneficiaries. When Zakah is

payable, a certain percentage of the wealth should be distributed

immediately in the right manner, because the owner no longer has

moral or legal possession of that percentage. If he fails to do so, he

is obviously retaining something which does not belong to him. This

is corruption and plain usurpation from every point of view, moral

and spiritual, legal and commercial. It means that the unlawfully

retained percentage makes the whole lot impure and endangered.

But, on the other hand, if the poor’s dividends are assorted and

distributed among due beneficiaries, the remaining portions of the

lot will be pure and decent. Pure capital and decent possessions are

the first requisites of permanent property and honest transactions.

2. Zakah does not only purify the property of the contributor but also

purifies his heart from selfishness and greed for wealth. In return, it

purifies the heart of the recipient from envy and jealousy from hatred

and uneasiness; and it fosters in his heart, instead, good will and warm

wishes for the contributor. As a result, the society at large will purify

and free itself from class warfare and suspicion, from ill feelings and

distrust, from corruption and disintegration, and from all such evils.

3. Zakah mitigates to a minimum the sufferings of the needy and

poor members of society. It is a most comforting consolation to the

less fortunate people, yet it is a loud appeal to everybody to roll up

his sleeves and improve his lot. To the needy it means that it is by

nature an emergency measure and that he should not depend on it

completely, but must do something for himself as well as for others.

To a contributor it is an invitation to earn more so that he can benefit

more. To all parties concerned, it is, directly as well; as indirectly, an

open treasure for spiritual investment that compensates abundantly.

4. Zakah is ahealthy formof internal securityagainst selfishgreedandsocial

dissension, against the intrusion and penetration of subversive ideologies.

It is an effective instrument in cultivating the spirit of social respon-

sibility 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 the responsive interactions between the individual and the

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 Islamwhich adopts a moderate and middle but

positive and effective course between the Citizen and 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 posses-

sion of approximately fifteen dollars 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 percent of the total

value of the wealth. If his investment is in immovable property like rev-

enue 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 homes for the trade or selling, Zakah rate

should go by the total value of the entire property. Also if someone is a

creditor and the indebtedperson is reliable one shouldpay Zakah for the

amount he has lent because it is still a portion of his guaranteed wealth.

In all cases it should be remembered that one pays for his net balance.

His personal expenses, his family allowances, his necessary expendi-

tures, 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 funding 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 all people of the vast Islamic empire had

enough to satisfy their needs, and the rulers had to deposit the Zakah

collection 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 the public interest

stems from the fact that it is aDivine injunction, an ordinance fromGod

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 it.

When it is not observed properly, the rightful authorities of the State

must interfere on behalf of the public to establish the institution

and see to it that it is enforced.

The Due Recipients of Zakah

The Holy Qur’an classifies the due recipients of Zakah as follows:

The poor Muslims, to relieve their distress.

The needy Muslims, to supply them with means whereby they earn

their livelihood.

The new Muslim converts, to enable them to settle down and meet

their unusual needs.

The Muslim prisoners of war, to liberate them by payment of ran-

som money.

The Muslim in debt, to free them from their liabilities incurment

under pressing necessities.

The Muslim employees appointed by a Muslim governor for the

collection of Zakah to pay their wages.

The Muslim in service of the cause of God by means of research or

study or propagation of Islam. This share is to cover their expenses

and help them to continue their service.

The Muslim wayfarers who are stranded in a foreign land and in

need of help.

The due recipient of Zakah is one who has nothing to meet his

necessities or has little (less than $15.00) at the end of the year. If

one has approximately $15.00 or more he must be a contributor,

not a recipient of Zakah. If a recipient receives his share and finds

that is sufficient for his immediate needs with a balance of about

$15.00, he should not accept any more. He should return whatever

he may receive to other eligible recipients.

Zakah may be distributed directly to individuals of one or more of the

said classes, or to welfare organizations which look after them. It may

also be distributed in the form of scholarship to bright and promising

Muslim students and researchers, or in the formof grants to welfare or-

ganizations and public service institutions which patronize such causes.

A disabled or invalid poor Muslim is preferable to one who is able

and capable of making some earnings. The contributors should

use his best judgment in finding the most deserving beneficiaries.

The taxes we pay to governments nowadays do not substitute for this

religious duty; it must be earmarked as a special obligation and paid

separately, aside from the government taxes. However, the Muslims of

North America may take advantage of the tax laws that allow certain

deductions for charity. They should pay their Zakah to the deserving

beneficiaries and then claim the sums paid as proper legal deductions.

The contributor should not seek pride or fame by carrying out his duty.

He should make it as covert as possible so that he may not be victim-

ized by hypocrisy or passion for vanity which nullifies all good deeds.

However, if the disclosure of his name or the announcement of his

contribution is likely to encourage others and stimulate them, it is

all right to do so.

Zakah is also obligatory on the cattle and agricultural product.

The shares payable in this regard vary form case to case, and need

detailed discussion. So the reader may be advised to consul the

elaborate sources of Law and religion.













Parents are to be treated well at all times, and The Almighty’s

blessings in having enabled you to do this virtuous act, be con-

sidered as a great asset in this world as well as in the Hereafter.

The respect we ought to pay our parents has been time and again

emphasized in the Holy Qur’an. In one of the verses it is stated:

“Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and ye

be kind to your parents.” (Qur’an 17:23)

Showing Gratitude towards Parents

Be grateful to your parents. It is one of the cardinal principles of

good manners and the acknowledgement of debt. One should

be grateful to the parents for all the kindness, extraordinary love,

and unparalleled sacrifices hey undergo in bringing us up. The

Almighty has decreed that when we render thanks to Him, we

should express gratitude to our parents as well.

“And we have enjoined on man (To be good) to his parents: In

travail upon travail did his mother bear him. And in years twain

was his weaning: (hear the command), ‘Show gratitude to Me

and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal.’” (Qur’an 31:14)

On the authority of Hazrat Abu Ayub Khalid Ibun Zaid Al-Ansa-

ri(R.A.), who said: A man requested; “Prophet (S.A.W)! Tell me

the action which will get me admitted to Paradise and keep me

away from the Hell.” He answered:

“Worship Almighty and do

not associate anybody with Him: establish Prayer; pay Zakat

and join the ties of kinship.”

-(Bukhari and Muslim)

On the authority of Abu Sufian Sakhr Harb (R.A.), who said:

During his meeting with Hercules, the Roman Ruler, the latter

asked him; ‘What does your Prophet (S.A.W.) ask you to do?’ I

said: ‘He asked us to worship only One God, and not to associ-

ate anybody with him; not to follow the habits and practices of

our ancestors; he further asks us to perform prayers (Salat), tell

the truth, keep chaste, and to treat our blood relations well.’

-(Bukhari and Muslim)

Note: “Not to follow the habits and practices of our ancestors”

means that in previous times, people used to follow what their

parents did; such as, worshiping idols, stealing, killing, and com-

mitting other sins Because their ancestors sinned, people assumed

it was justified. The Prophet (S.A.W.) commanded them to change

their behavior and become more righteous.

On the authority of Ibn ‘Umar (R.A.), who said: The Prophet

(S.A.W.) said:

“He who just returns the visits of his relatives

does not completely fulfill the obligation of relationship. But

he who ignores the mistakes of his relatives, forgives them,

and visits them in order to bind the ties of relationship when

they are broken does fulfill the obligations of relationship.’


On the authority of Jubair bin Mut’im (R.A.), who said: The Prophet

(S.A.W.) said:

“He who breaks off the ties of blood will not enter


-(Bukhari and Muslim)

Note: This Hadith preaches the person who breaks off relations

with his family by not visiting them or helping them will not go

to Paradise.

On the authority of Abu Usaid Malik Ibn Rubia Al-Saedi (R.A),

who said: While we were sitting with the Prophet (S.A.W.) a man

of the Bani Salamah tribe came and said: “O Prophet (S.A.W.)!

Is there anything, I can now do in benevolence towards my

parents after their death? The Prophet (S.A.W.) answered: “


by praying for them and soliciting mercy and forgiveness

towards them, fulfilling their promises and undertakings,

doing kindness to those who may be related to you through

them, and respecting their friends.”

-(Abu Daoud)

Note: “Benevolence” means kindness.

Showing Tolerance towards Parents

You should always try to please your parents and avoid deeds

that may hurt their feelings, especially when they get old and


In old age people do tend to make unusual demands and claims

but it should be tolerated cheerfully without any retort in anger

or frustration. It is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:

“Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that

ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old

age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel

them but address them, in terms of honor.” (Qur’an 17:23)

Service of Parents

Parents should be served earnestly and with sincerity; always

keeping in mind the unparalleled kindness and affection shown

by them. It is the service of our parents that would lead to our

redemption and earn for us The Almighty’s blessings.

Your Love and Obligation towards Your Parents

Love your parents and this love should be regarded as an honor

and means of recompense and redemption in the Hereafter. Had-

rat Ibn Abbas narrates the following Hadith of the Holy Prophet


“Dutiful and good natured children who cast one loving and

affectionate look at their parents, receive from The Almighty

blessing equivalent to one approved Hajj (pilgrimage).” -(Mus-


When the Parents are Non-Muslims

Even if the parents are non-Muslims, they are to be treated well

and all courtesy be shown to them. But obedience in matters of

religion should be refused and they are not to be followed if they

ask you to commit a sin or an act of associating somebody with

The Almighty. It is stated in the Holy Qur’an:

“We have enjoined on man kindness to parents: but if they

(either of them) strive (to force) thee to join with Me (in wor-

ship) anything of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them

not, ye have (all) to return to Me, and I will tell you (the truth)

of all that ye did.” (Qur’an 29:8)

Prayers for Parents

Always pray for your parents, recalling their kindness and beg

for their weal from The Almighty and His Mercies for them. It is

mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:

“And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility,

and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Thy mercy even as they

cherished me in childhood.” (Qur’an 17:24)

Special Treatment of the Mother

One should have special regard for his/her mother. It is the moth-

er that carries the fetus in her womb for nine months and then

nourishes the child with her milk. It is stated in the Holy Qur’an:


ayings of