Consequences of Withholding Zakāh

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

 Zakāh is one of the five fundamentals of Islām. The Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallamsaid:

“Islam is founded on five pillars: bearing witness that there is no deity except Allāh, and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger; establishment of salāh; paying zakāh; performance of hajj; and fasting the month of Ramadān.” (Al-Bukhārī)

After Īmān, salāh is the most important act of worship which is to be performed physically, and zakāh is the main act of worship which is to be performed monetarily.Salāh and zakāh have been mentioned together on many instances in the Glorious Qur’ān, to cite just some examples, Allāh ta‘ālā says:

“And establish regular salāh and pay regular zakāh, and bow down with those who bow down.” (2:43)

“In fact, the mosques of Allāh are built only by those who believe in Allāh and the Last Day, and those who establish salāh and pay zakāh and who fear none but Allāh. So, it is hoped that they are to be among those on the right path.” (9:18)

Such verses of the Qur’ān substantiate that zakāh is the most important fundamental after salāh. Those who fulfil this duty have been promised abundant reward in this world and the Hereafter; and those who evade zakāh have been sternly warned in the Qur’ān and ahādīth of the consequences.

Benefits of Giving Zakāh

The following are some of the many benefits mentioned in the Qur’ān and ahādīth for the one who gives zakāh:

1.      Pleasure of Allāh ta‘ālā.

2.      Increase in wealth.

3.      Protection from losses.

4.      Forgiveness and blessing from Allāh ta‘ālā.

5.      Safety from calamities.

6.      Protection from the Wrath of Allāh ta‘ālā and from a bad death.

7.      Shelter on the Day of Judgement.

8.      Security from seventy misfortunes.

9.      Safety from the fire of Jahannam.

10.    Safety from grief.

Consequences of Not Paying Zakāh in this World

When Allāh ta‘ālā sends a calamity to punish people for their sins, no power on earth can prevent the onslaught. Men may form thousands of plans, but something decreed by the Lord of the universe must come to pass. Nowadays, the calamities of famine, flood, etc. have become a great problem for the whole world. If we wish to seek relief from such sufferings and cure the malady, we shall have to follow the remedy revealed to us by Allāh ta‘ālā. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has warned us over fourteen hundred years ago, against all those evil practices which bring calamities and afflictions in this world.

These warnings were given long ago and now the world has witnessed their truth through experience. Today, the predictions are coming true. If only people had acted according to the rulings prescribed by Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, who was undoubtedly the wisest of all wise men. It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss how specific evils cause specific afflictions, but I will bring to the attention of the readers the ahādīth related to the subject matter – non payment of zakāh.

Non Payment of Zakāh – A Cause of Famine

Buraydah radhiyallāhu ‘anhu relates that Rasūlullāh said, “The nation that withholds zakāh (i.e. does not pay it), Allāh afflicts famine on them.” (At-Tabrānī)

Ibn ‘Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu relates that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam once said, “O Muhājirūn! There are five (dreadful) sins; if you fall into these – and I take refuge in Allāh from the evil of these sins lest you fall into them – (you will face horrible disasters)…” The Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam thereafter enlisted a number of sins and their punishments, amongst which he said, “Thirdly, if people stop paying zakāh, rain will be withheld from them, and were it not for the animals, no rain would fall on them.” (Ibn Mājah, Al-Bazzār, Al-Bayhaqī) A similar hadīth is also reported by Ibn ‘Abbās radhiyallāhu ‘anhu.

Non Payment of Zakāh – A Cause of Windstorms, Earthquakes, etc.

‘Alī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu and Abū Hurayrah radhiyallāhu ‘anhu report that Rasūlullāhsallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam prophesied fifteen actions which his Ummah will perpetrate, and from amongst these he mentioned, “When zakāh is looked upon as a penalty (i.e. people will pay zakāh with a heavy heart, as though it is a penalty), then look for violent windstorms, earthquakes, men being swallowed by the earth, metamorphosis, stones raining down from the skies, and calamities following one another in rapid succession, like beads of rosary falling one after the other when its string is cut.” (At-Tirmidhī)

Destruction of Property

‘Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu narrates that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said,“Wealth is generally lost on the land and the sea because zakāh is not paid on it.” (At-Targhīb)

‘Ā’ishah radhiyallāhu ‘anhu narrates that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said,“Zakāh will destroy wealth in which it is.” (Al-Bazzār, Al-Bayhaqī)

The destruction of wealth upon which zakāh is obligatory will be by way of Allāh ta‘ālādestroying the wealth in which the amount due for zakāh lies, or by removing the barakah from it.

Consequences in the Hereafter

“As for those who hoard gold and silver and do not spend it in the way of Allāh, give them news of a painful punishment. On the day it (i.e. the wealth) will be heated up in the fire of Jahannam, then their foreheads and their sides and their backs shall be branded with it and (it will be said to them), ‘This is what you had accumulated for yourselves. So, taste what you have been accumulating.’” (9:34-35)

The majority of the Sahābah radhiyallāhu ‘anhum and ‘Ulamā are agreed that the severe punishment mentioned in the verse is for those who do not pay zakāh. May Allāh ta‘ālā protect us from such severe punishments. Āmīn.

“And let not those who hoard wealth, which Allāh has bestowed them with from His grace, think that it is better for them. No, it is worse for them. That which they hoard will be made into a collar (in the form of a snake and put around their necks) on the Day of Qiyāmah. To Allāh belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth. Allah is All-Aware of what you do.” (3:180)

Imām Ar-Rāzī rahimahullāh writes in his tafsīr, “This verse does not apply to the cases of nafl (optional) spending. It applies to cases of failure in obligatory spending.” This is substantiated by a hadīth in Al-Bukhārī that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said,“The person on whom Allāh bestowed wealth, and he does not give zakāh on it, then on the Day of Judgement, his wealth will be transformed for him into a large bald snake with two black spots over its eyes; it will wind round his neck on the Day of Judgement, then grab (him) with both his jaws and say, ‘I am your treasure.’” Then Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam recited the above verse.

Abū Hurayrah radhiyallāhu ‘anhu reports that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallamsaid, “If anyone possessing gold and silver does not pay what is due, then on the Day of Judgement his gold and silver will be made into sheets and will be heated in the fire of Jahannam. His side, forehead and back will then be branded with (the heated sheets), again and again, on that day, the duration of which will be fifty thousand years.” (Muslim)

Once, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam saw gold bangles on the hands of two women. He inquired if they had given zakāh for the bangles. They replied, “No.” Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “Do you wish that on the Day of Judgement you be made to put on bangles of fire?” They replied, “No.” He said, “Give zakāh on them.” (Ahmad)

The following facts are clear from the aforementioned discussion:

•       Zakāh is fard.

•       The significance of zakāh is very great.

•       Failure to pay zakāh will bring calamity and misfortune in this world and the Hereafter.

Allāh, the All-Merciful has bestowed upon us many favours: He has given us health and wealth, luxury and comfort, friends and children, life and wife. Every penny that we earn is from the Grace of Allāh. He has given us everything and asks for only 2.5% to be spent in His way upon those who are not capable of providing for themselves. Remember, 2.5% at the end of the each Islamic year from the excess wealth (i.e. which remains after spending) is basically nothing. If we pay zakāh in full and abstain from greed, extravagance, etc. there will not remain a single destitute among the Muslims. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam’s ḥadīth is clear evidence for this claim. He said, “In the wealth of rich Muslims, the amount which is sufficient for the poor among the Muslims has been made obligatory. The hardships of the poor among the Muslims regarding food and clothing are because of the deeds of the wealthy (i.e. their refusal to pay zakāh). Beware! Allāh will demand a stern reckoning from them and mete out a painful punishment.” (At-Tabrānī)

Bear in mind that anything we leave behind is not ours. If we want to protect our hard-earned money and save it for use at a time when we shall need it badly, let us spend it in the way of Allāh ta‘ālā and deposit it in the bank of the Hereafter.

© Islāmic Da’wah Academy




A Golden Opportunity to Become a Muttaqī

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

Events and occasions give us an opportunity to track the passing of time; otherwise days, months and years would pass by without us realising. Whenever we look towards the future, it seems very distant; however, upon reflection over the past we realise how quickly time has elapsed. To understand the longevity of our future we have to evaluate it on our experience of the past.

As usual, the current Ramadān will also feel very long and the end will seem a long way away, but the reality of these days can be understood by the many Ramadāns we have experienced in the past; how short they were and how quickly they passed, and how after each Ramadān we felt that if only there were a few more days so that some beneficial action could be carried out. In order to save ourselves from such regret once again, it is of the utmost importance that we realise the great opportunity Ramadān is offering us and make the most of it.

The Objective of Ramadān

First and foremost we need to understand that Allāh ta‘ālā has granted us this great gift of Ramadān so that we may become muttaqīn – the people of taqwā.

Allāh ta‘ālā states:

O you who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as they were enjoined upon those before you, so that you may become people of taqwā. [2:183] 

My late Shaykh, Hadrat Hājī Fārūq rahimahullāh taught me the following supplication:O Allāh! You have given us this month so that we become people of taqwā; so make us from the people of taqwā.

What is Taqwā?

Now, the question arises what is taqwā? Once ‘Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu asked Ka‘b Al-Ahbār radhiyallāhu ‘anhu the meaning of taqwā. In reply, Ka‘b radhiyallāhu ‘anhu, asked ‘Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu if he had ever walked on a thorny path and if yes how he had passed through it. ‘Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu explained that he gathered his clothes and ensured that his clothes didn’t get caught by the thorns. Ka‘b radhiyallāhu ‘anhu said, “That is taqwā.” The explanation of Ka‘b’s statement is that we too should pass through this world very carefully, ensuring we do not fall prey to nafs and Shaytān and commit a sin; be it minor or major.

Taqwā is a nūr (light) which enlightens and spiritually strengthens the heart to such an extent that the person finds a natural dislike for sinful activities. This becomes a barrier between him and the disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā. This nūr of taqwā is acquired by forcing oneself to carry out the commands of Allāh ta‘ālā and stay away from His disobedience no matter what sacrifice one has to give. This sacrifice is called mujāhadah, and every time this is carried out a special nūr is created in the heart. The more the obedience the stronger the nūr, until eventually the heart is enlightened to such an extent that it will not tolerate the filth of any sin.

The similitude of this can be likened to a person who abhors dirt. If he needs to walk through a dirty path way, he will have a natural aversion for the dirt and will instinctively gather his clothes to ensure his clothes don’t get soiled. Similarly, once the heart has become filled with the nūr of taqwā, it will abhor sinful activities and places of evil and will develop an aversion to them, leading one to automatically safeguard himself.

On the other hand when a person disobeys Allāh ta‘ālā, the nūr of taqwā in the heart diminishes. The more sins a person commits, the more darkness engulfs the heart until a point comes when the heart becomes inclined towards disbelief. This very fact has been narrated in a hadīth of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam.

Virtues of Taqwā

We can understand from the above that taqwā is one of the greatest favours Allāh ta‘ālā has granted us as it guarantees us success of both worlds. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

Whoever fears the disobedience to Allāh, Allāh will create for him a way out (from difficulties), and provide him (with whatever he needs) from where he does not even imagine. [65:3] 

And whoever fears the disobedience to Allāh, Allāh will bring about ease for him in his affair. [65:6] 

Race with one another towards Forgiveness from your Lord and towards a Paradise the width of which spans the heavens and the earth. It has been prepared for the Muttaqīn. [3:133]

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has stated:

Verily the closest to me from the people are the Muttaqīn; wherever they may be and whoever they may be. (Ahmad)

Allāh ta‘ālā through His mercy, love and kindness has granted us this month of Ramadān which is full of blessings making it easy for us to carry out the commands of Allāh plus other spiritual deeds.

Ramadān and Taqwā

From the ahādīth and verses of the Qur’ān we can list some of the special blessings and virtues of Ramadān.

1.  This is the month in which the Qur’ān was revealed.

2.  This is the month in which the doors of Jannah are opened and the doors of Jahannam are closed.

3.  The shayātīn are chained.

4.  There is a night in this month which is better than a thousand months.

5.  Allāh ta‘ālā calls out: ‘O desirer of good hasten forward and O the searcher of evil, stop.’

6.  Allāh emancipates people from Jahannam in thousands.

7.  The first ten days of this month are of mercy, the middle ten days are of forgiveness and the last ten days are for emancipating servants from Jahannam.

8.  Allāh ta‘ālā readily accepts du‘ā in this month.

Allāh through His kindness has granted us these great blessings which boosts our efforts towards the path of taqwā.  Let us therefore value this blessed month and resolve to carry out the following:

1.  Taqwā and tawbah: Carry out all the commands of Allāh and abstain from all disobedience. Sincerely repent and seek forgiveness for all past negligence with a firm resolution never to return to it again.

2.  Tilāwah: The month of Ramadān has a strong connection with the Qur’ān. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

The month of Ramadān is the one in which the Qur’ān was revealed as guidance for mankind, and as clear signs that show the right way and distinguish between right and wrong…[2:185]  

     Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would revise the Qur’ān with Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām during this month. The pious people gave much importance to reciting the Qur’ān in this month. The following few examples will suffice to make us realise how much effort we should exert.

•   Imām Abū Hanīfah rahimahullāh would recite one Qur’ān in the day and one Qur’ān in the night daily.

•   Imām Shāfi‘ī rahimahullāh would recite one Qur’ān in the day and one at night daily in salāh.

•   Imām Bukhārī rahimahullāh would recite forty one Qur’āns during the month of Ramadān.

•   Hadrat Shaykh, Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh would recite one Qur’ān daily.

3.  Abundance of Kalimah Tayyibah and Istighfār: In one hadith, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has directed us towards four things we should do in abundance during the blessed month: recitation of Kalimah Tayyibah, asking for forgiveness, asking for Jannah and seeking refuge from Jahannam. My late father taught me a du‘ā to be read in Ramadān when I was a child:


     Lā ilāha illallāh, astaghfirullāh, as’alukal jannah, wa a’ūdhubika minannār.

     There is no diety except Allāh, I seek forgiveness from Allāh, I ask from You (O Allāh) Jannah, and I seek Your refuge from the fire.

     It was only when I grew up and became a student of Dīn that I realised that this simple formula of du‘a was actually a way of practicing upon the instruction of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam.

4.  Du‘ā: There is much significance of making du‘ā in the month of Ramadān. Allāh ta‘ālā has discussed du‘ā in between discussing the rulings related to fasting in the month of Ramadān.

When My servants ask you about Me, then (tell them that) I am near. I respond to the call of one when he prays to Me. [2:186]

     In the hadīth of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam we find that du‘ā at the time of iftār is readily accepted. Similarly, at the time of suhūr du‘ās are readily accepted. We find in the hadith of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam that Allāh ta‘ālā descends in the last portion of the night and calls out to His servants saying,

‘Is there anyone who will make du‘ā to Me so that I may accept it? Is there anyone who will ask of Me so that I may fulfil his request? Is there anyone who will ask My forgiveness so that I may forgive him. (Al-Bukhārī)

5.  Spending in the Path of Allāh ta‘ālā: The month of Ramadān is also a month of charity. It is narrated that the generosity of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would increase in this month. Spending in the path of Allāh ta‘ālā holds much virtue; just giving someone a sip of water or a mere date grants a person the reward of the fasting person. Therefore, one should make an effort to spend as much as possible. Zakāt is to be given on its appointed time whether in Ramadān or outside of Ramadān. The important matter is that one should try and endeavour to spend in charitable causes as much as possible. It should also be noted that when spending in the Path of Allāh ta‘ālā, a person should endeavour to find the most fruitful places for his Hereafter. A person should not give away his charity to the first person who knocks at his door; rather one should make an effort to spend in the most opportune of places. It should be remembered that spending is our need and not the need of the recipient; it is we who are in need of the reward of charity and therefore it should be our effort to find places to spend.

6.  I‘tikāf: A special significance is given to i‘tikāf in the month of Ramadān. The fuqahā have stipulated that i‘tikāf of the last ten days in the month of Ramadān is Sunnah muakkadah ‘alal-kifāyah. Hence, if the people of a locality leave this sunnah then the whole locality will be liable. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam carried out i‘tikāf in the last ten days of Ramadān throughout his life to the extent that he performed i‘tikāf of twenty days in the Ramadān before his demise. This was to compensate the i‘tikāf missed the previous year due to a reason and also to increase his devotion before departing from this world. I‘tikāf will go a long way in establishing taqwā and connecting one to Allāh ta‘ālā.

7.  Remembering Allāh ta‘ālā and doing good: Spend time in doing good as much as possible. Whilst standing, sitting and lying down – in every circumstance, keep the tongue moist with the remembrance of Allāh ta‘ālā.  

My dear readers! Occupy yourself in doing good and value every moment of this blessed month. Life is very short and this golden opportunity of Ramadān will very quickly slip away. If we pay heed then Inshā’allāh this Ramadān will become a golden Ramadān for us in which we will become people of taqwā, thus acquiring success in both worlds. May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us the tawfīq. Āmīn.

© Riyādul Jannah

Guidelines for Spending in the Path of Allāh ta‘ālā

By Shaykh Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

Spending in the Path of Allāh ta‘ālā is one of the key Commands of Allāh ta‘ālā, and something highly recommended and emphasised many times over in the Qur’ān and ahādīth.

Spend in the way of Allāh… (2:195)

Who is it that will lend to Allāh a goodly loan, so that He may multiply it for him many times? Allāh withholds and extends, and to Him are you to be returned. (2:245)

O you who believe, spend of the good things you have earned, and of what We have brought forth for you from the earth, and do not opt for a bad thing, spending only from it, when you would not accept it [if such a thing were offered to you], except with eyes closed [in disdain]; and know well that Allāh is Free of all Wants, Ever-Praised. (2:267)

And spend out of what We have given to you before death overtakes one of you and he says, ‘My Lord, would you not give me respite to a near term, so that I should pay Sadaqah and become one of the righteous?’ (63:10)

The Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam was himself extremely generous in spending in the path of Allāh ta‘ālā:

… He [the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam] was the most generous of people, and he was most generous in Ramadān…  (Al-Bukhārī)

Spending on others and feeding and helping the destitute were among the first teachings of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam. When a group of the early Muslims migrated to Abyssinia, Ja‘far radhiyallāhu ‘anhu explained to the king what the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam taught:

…He ordered us to worship only Allāh, and not to ascribe partners to Him; and he ordered us to offer salāh, to give charity, and to observe fasting… (Ibn Hishām)

When Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam migrated to Al-Madīnah Al-Munawwarah, he advised the people:

…Spread salām and feed [people]… (At-Tirmidhī)

When Abū Sufyān radhiyallāhu ‘anhu was summoned by Heraclius and asked about the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, he said:

… He orders us to observe salāh and charity and truthfulness and chastity and the joining of ties… (Al-Bukhārī)

Heraclius recognised the qualities of a prophet of Allāh ta‘ālā, one of which is charity.

Due to its importance in Islām, spending selflessly has remained a speciality of this Ummah, and to this day Muslims spend millions if not billions in charity throughout the world. Alhamdulillāh, in recent times the readiness to spend has further increased, and it is pleasing to note that the younger generation is also, to some degree, keeping up this tradition and good practice of spending in the Path of Allāh ta‘ālā.

There follow a number of points that will, inshā’allāh, benefit readers with regards to spending in the path of Allāh ta‘ālā:

1. Maintain the Enthusiasm of Spending Selflessly

The command of spending stated in the various verses and ahādīth is to spend solely and purely for the Pleasure of Allāh ta‘ālā, and to have no worldly motive or gain. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

The example of those who spend their wealth to seek the pleasure of Allāh and to make firm [their faith] from [the depths of] their souls is like a garden on a foothill on which came a heavy rain, and it yielded its produce two-fold. Even if a heavy rain does not come to it, a light drizzle is enough; and Allāh is watchful of what you do. (2:265)

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said:

On the Day of Judgement a so called generous person will be called. Allāh will say to him, ‘Did I not give you in abundance, to the extent that you were independent from everyone?’ The person will reply, ‘Of course, My Lord!’ Allāh will ask him, ‘What did you do with what I had granted you?’ The person will reply, ‘I used to join ties and spend in charity.’ Allāh will say, ‘You have lied!’ The angels will say to him, ‘You have lied!’ Allāh will say, ‘But you had intended that it is said: “Such a person is generous,” and it was said,’… and he will be thrown in to the fire of hell… (At-Tirmidhī)

Regrettably, for Muslims in the twenty-first century this attitude of selflessness is in danger of being lost as we gradually pick up modern attitudes and trends. Charity bazaars, charity dinners, charity events and even charity Dīnī programmes are examples of ways in which the soul and spirit of spending selflessly is being destroyed. If this trend continues, the Ummah will slowly lose this selfless attitude, and a time may come when no one will spend even a pound in the Path of Allāh ta‘ālā without expecting something in return, be it fame or something material.

Therefore, we should strive to maintain the spirit of spending without any worldly return, so that we may receive the full remuneration in the Hereafter.

2. Value Relief Organisations

Charity organisations that do relief and humanitarian work are worthy of support. We should value their efforts and commitment in this cause. They help hundreds and thousands of individuals on an international scale, and bring aid to people in all sorts of conditions and situations, such as the ill, the disabled, those affected by natural disasters, poverty etc.

Whilst helping those who are in need, they also help us by assuming the responsibility we have of getting our wealth to the needy.  We should realise this and offer them our financial and moral support.

3. Discharging Your Duty

It must be understood though, that the actual obligation of getting our zakāh to the eligible recipients ultimately lies with us. It is unfortunate to note that we have taken a back seat in ensuring our wealth reaches the right people effectively. Many people just regard their zakāh as a burdensome responsibility from which they need to absolve themselves, and the first organisation that comes their way is handed their wealth without the slightest thought. Such people look for an opportunity to just dump their obligatory charity somewhere, and believe that they have absolved themselves of their duty to Allāh ta‘ālā.

We must remember that if we do not show due diligence in this regard, we will not be absolved in the Court of Allāh ta‘ālā; rather we may find ourselves convicted of two crimes: non-fulfilment of the obligation to spend, and also wasting wealth. Charities, madāris and organisations are our agents, so it is important to understand who we are entrusting with the payment of our zakāh and other charitable spending. As our spending will only be valid when what we give reaches eligible recipients, we should take into consideration the following guidelines when spending and giving to charity organisations and relief agencies:

a.  Research the organisation and verify its methodology of distribution.

b.  Research and see whether the people at the organisation are well versed in the masā’il of zakāh and distribution of wealth.

c.  Research to see who and what their source of Shar‘ī guidance is.

d.  How quickly is money distributed to the poor, needy and eligible?

e.  How much zakāh is surplus and for how long does money sit around without it being distributed?

4. Thoughtful Spending

One point worthy of consideration when giving in charity is to try and make the best use of one’s wealth. We should keep in mind benefit and need, and also the overall impact of what we spend. Heartrending pictures and scenes displayed by relief organisations may make us feel that all our money should be spent on that one cause. This is an emotional reaction, whereas there are many and varied needs of the ummah that all need to be fulfilled. It is for this reason Allāh ta‘ālā has mentioned eight categories of people as recipients of zakāh, not just one. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

The Sadaqāt (prescribed alms) are only to be given to the poor, the needy, to those employed to collect them, to those whose hearts are to be won, in the cause of the slaves and those encumbered with debt, in the way of Allāh and to a wayfarer. This is an obligation prescribed by Allāh. Allāh is All-Knowing, Wise. (9:60)

One example of not being thoughtful about where we spend is our lax attitude to giving to madāris (religious schools) operating in poor countries, and even locally. The madāris play a major role in the safeguarding of Dīn. Whilst relief organisations look after the physical well-being of people, the madāris play a role in looking after the spiritual well-being and Īmān of the masses. If all our wealth were channelled in only one direction, the madāris would suffer tremendously, and the Muslim Ummah would face harm globally. So diversity in spending, including relief work and supporting madāris is needed.

5. Don’t Forget Local Needs

When spending, many people fail to grasp local needs. They assume that seeing as a whole masjid can be built in a poor country for ten thousand pounds, a fraction of the cost of building a masjid in this country, it is more rewarding to do so. This reasoning is incorrect, as the reward attained is relative to one’s intentions, and need also plays a vital role. If we all thought that way, no masjid would be built in our country, and the needs of local Muslims would be left unfulfilled.

There are many important avenues we must contribute to locally, such as masājid, madāris, schools, care, drug counselling, social work etc., which are desperate needs of our time. Schools are finding it increasingly difficult to operate due to a shortage of funding from Muslims. It is time to recognise the importance of our local needs and to spend thoughtfully and effectively, keeping in mind the overall benefit of Muslims. I heard Shaykh Mawlānā As‘ad Madanī rahimahullāh say, ‘In our country [India], life is in danger but not Īmān, and in your country [The UK] life is safe but Īmān is in danger, therefore spend in your own country first.’ It is sad to see that many masājid, madāris, schools and institutes in this country are of a very poor standard, while with donations from this country grand masājid and madāris are constructed in other countries. We should ask ourselves how much of our charity every year goes abroad and how much is spent in this country?

Many people tend to think that only institutes abroad are needy, local institutes must be well off because the population is well off. Just because people are wealthy does not mean that institutes are wealthy as well, especially if wealthy people suffer from this misconception. The reality is that many institutes in this country face difficulty in running.

So spend in the path of Allāh ta‘ālā selflessly, thoughtfully and responsibly, keeping the many and varied needs of humanity in mind.

6. The Responsibility of those who Collect Charitable Donations

The institutes also have a responsibility to spend money wisely. Relief organisations should make sure they work under the supervision of ‘ulamā and muftīs well-versed in the masā’il of zakāh, and strictly follow their guidance, ensuring that the duty of paying zakāh is discharged correctly and on time. Madāris and schools should not take more zakāh than necessary; they should only accept the amount of zakāh appropriate to the number of eligible students studying in their institutes. It is a great responsibility upon relief organisations and charitable institutes to discharge the funds entrusted to them by the public correctly, as they will be questioned about every penny on the Day of Qiyāmah. 

As far as lillāh is concerned, it too must be spent wisely by masājid, madāris, schools and institutes, making sure not a single penny is wasted. Our pious predecessors, from the time of the Sahābah radhiyallāhu ‘anhum to this day, have always been very particular in this regard, and many astonishing incidents are related in books about the pains they took to ensure funds were handled correctly.

© Riyādul Jannah 

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