The Importance of Zakaat
Zakaat is one of the greatest obligations and important fundamentals of Islam and has been mentioned along with the ritual prayer (Salaah) thirty-two times in the Holy Qur’an. Allah Ta’ala has called His slaves to this obligation in various ways and declared clearly that whatever one pays as Zakaat does not decrease one’s wealth but rather, one’s wealth is increased due to it.
Allah Ta’ala says, “Allah Ta’ala destroys the interest (Riba) and increases the charity.” [Surah 2, Verse 276]. Harmful growths affect some trees and hinder their blooming. The foolish will not prune them because they think that so much will be taken from the plant, but a wise person knows that pruning them will help a tree to bloom. The same is the case with Zakaat wealth as Hazrat Aisha Siddiqah (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anha) has narrated that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has said, “Zakaat money will not destroy wealth but it will be added to it”. [Baihaqi]
Consider how an unwise villager who has no wheat seed, gets it with many difficulties through debt and then sows it in the earth. At that time he mixes it into the dust with his hands but he hopes that In Sha Allah this loss will be turned into much grain. Do we not have the same sense as that villager? We rely only on outward means, and do not believe in Allah Ta’ala’s saying. We do not sow the seed of Zakaat to increase our wealth and to turn every grain of ours into a tree. Allah Ta’ala says that if you pay Zakaat, your wealth will be increased. If one does not completely believe this, then this is definite infidelity. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has said, “The completion of your Islam is that you pay Zakaat on your wealth.”
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has stated, “He who has gold or silver and does not pay Zakaat, will be punished in such a manner that on the Day of Judgement this gold and silver, shaped into plates, will be heated in the fire of Hell and his forehead, side and back will be branded with them and when those plates become cold they will be heated again and he will be branded with them, and this will go on the whole day until the account of every creature is taken. (Note that the Day of Judgement is equal to fifty thousand years of this world).” [Bukhari Shareef; Muslim Shareef ]
And do not think that this branding will be merely a touch of the fire or will only be enough to make the forehead, back or side sweat, and no more. Listen to its description in the Hadith and fear the punishment of Allah Ta’ala. Hazrat Abu Zarr (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) has narrated that the hot stone of Hell will be kept on their nipples and will burst their chest and come out from their side, then it will be held to their side bones and it will break their bones and come out from their chest”. [Bukhari Shareef; Muslim Shareef ] He further reported that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “The stone will break their back and will emerge from their side and will break the nape of their neck and will emerge from their forehead.” [Muslim Shareef ]
Hazrat Abdullah bin Masood (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) has narrated that neither will any penny rest on another nor any gold coin touch another but rather the body of the person who did not pay Zakaat will swell so much that even if there were millions of pennies, every penny would brand him separately. [Tibraani]
Do we consider the Commandments of Allah Ta’ala and His Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) merely a joke and fun or think that the suffering of such pains for fifty thousand years will be easy? For a while just keep a heated coin on your body and compare this little heat with that fire of anger, and this one minute’s pain, with thousands of years of calamity, and this light touch with that anger which breaks bones!
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has said, “The wealth whose Zakaat will not be paid will be shaped into a bold dragon and fall onto the neck of the person who has not paid Zakaat. [Ibn Majah; Nisaai] Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) confirmed it with the Holy Qur’an where Allah Ta’ala says, “Soon, that with which they were mean, will be their necklace on the Day of Resurrection.” [Surah 3, Verse 180]. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) further said, “When the dragon will run after him, he will ask, “Who are you?” It will say, “I am your unpaid Zakaat which you left after your death.” When he sees that it goes on following him, he will put his hand in its mouth and it will chew his hand and then his whole body.” [Tibraani]
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) saw some people who were wearing dirty rags on their front and back and were eating like animals, the hot fire of Hell, stone, cactus and hard, sour, burning and foul smelling grass. He asked Hazrat Jibra’eel (Alaihis Salaam) who they were and Hazrat Jibra’eel (Alaihis Salaam) replied, “They are the ones who did not give Zakaat and Allah Ta’ala has not been unjust to them. Allah Ta’ala does not oppress His slaves.”
Some people do not pay their Zakaat which is Fardh (obligatory) upon them yet they give Nafl (optional) charity in abundance. A person who fails to pay Zakaat should expect to be involved in these painful torments for thousands of years. If these were inflicted on mountains, they would be turned into fine powder and dust! Then who is more foolish than he who uses his wealth in all sorts of charity yet he lets Allah Ta’ala’s due remain unpaid? This is a great deception of Shaitaan who destroys a man under the guise of virtue. The fool thinks that he is doing good deeds but does not understand that the Nafl without Fardh is merely a false pretence.
Huzoor Ghaus-e-Azam Sayyiduna Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) illustrates this point about people who give up Fardh actions and perform Nafl, with an example from Ameerul Mu’mineen Hazrat Sayyiduna Ali (Karramallahu Ta’ala Wajhahul Kareem) who states, “The condition of such a person is like that woman who is pregnant but at the time of delivery, has an abortion. Now she is neither pregnant nor the mother of the child due to the abortion on the day it was due. She suffered all the pain but the result was zero. Had she borne the child, it itself would be the result. If the pregnancy had remained, there would be a hope. Now there is neither the pregnancy, nor the child, nor hope, but all she has is all the pain.” Similarly, the money which was spent by the performer of the charity is unacceptable as Nafl since he gave up the Fardh. He spent his wealth but gained nothing. Hazrat Ali (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) also said, “Those who abandon the Fardh and do the Sunnat and the Nafl will be humiliated and these deeds will not be accepted.” [Futuh Al Ghaib]
Hazrat Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Masood (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) narrates a Sahih Hadith in which it is stated, “We have been ordered to perform Salaah and to pay Zakaat and he who does not pay Zakaat, his Salaah is not acceptable.” [Tibraani] When Salaah, Fasting and Hajj are not acceptable from someone who fails to pay Zakaat then what good in this life can be expected from giving Nafl (optional) charity?
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufeeq to understand the importance of Zakaat and to be steadfast in duly paying our Zakaat for the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala, Ameen.
[Compiled from A’izzul Iktinaah Fi Raddi Sadaqati Maani’uz Zakaat by A’la Hazrat Imam Ahle Sunnat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh]