Zakaat – Spiritual Growth and Purification
Linguistically, the word Zakah means purity and growth. Allah says, “Take from their wealth a sadaqah, in order to purify them and sanctify them (with it).” As an Islamic term, zakah is an, ordained right to specific wealth from a specific group at a specific time to achieve Allah’s pleasure and to purify the self, wealth and the society as a whole’.
Therefore … Zakah is:
* A TRANSFER OF POSSESSIONS and not a favor or a gift, given by the owner of the wealth to those who deserve it, in accordance with the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.
* CONSIDERED IN A SPECIFIED PORTION of the wealth, determined according to specific principles.
* NOT DUE ON ALL TYPES OF WEALTH There are certain conditions that should be fulfilled in order not to pay zakah on one’s wealth.
* DUE ON WEALTH THAT HAS FULFILLED THE NISAAB (limit of exemption or minimum amount of one’s holding that is liable to zakah). Having this condition ensures social justice and reduces the differences among social classes. It also guarantees sufficient equalization.
* MONEYS COLLECTED THAT IS DISPOSED of in a specific way, to specific persons.
Zakah was instituted amongst the Muslims to carry out a variety of objectives. Islam ordained zakah to achieve, through it, social justice and sublime moral and spiritual values. It is a criterion for the believers and a way to success in this life and the next. Allah says, “Who establish worship and spend of that we have bestowed on them, these are they who are in truth believers. For them are grades of honor with their Lord, and forgiveness, and a beautiful provision.” [8:3-4]
Throughout our history, whenever Muslims truthfully applied the system of zakah, as Allah and His Messenger have ordained, the splendid objectives of zakah were fulfilled and its great effects appeared within the lives of individuals and the society. We must remember that first and foremost, Zakah is an act of worship. Giving zakah is an act of obedience to the command of Allah, and a fulfillment of His Covenant. The giver hopes that by giving it, he will receive a good reward in the Hereafter, and the growth and blessing of his wealth in this life.