THE PURPOSE OF ZAKAH
Overtime the love for wealth settles in the heart of man. A person who gives zakah happily, it removes the rust of love for wealth that sets upon his heart. Zakah is a means of purifying these rusted hearts of ours.
Therefore, do not regard it as a payment we give from our own pockets. Rather, it is a contribution that we give, from the money Allah blessed us with. We are giving back money that was never ours, back to where it belongs. It is a small contribution in this dunya, yet a great contribution towards our aakhirah. So do not regard it as a burden either.
A hadeeth states that a time will come when people will regard Zakah as a tax.
We should not be from amongst these people. The one who frowns his forehead upon a poor person seeking Zakah, will have his forehead branded on the day of judgement. The one turns his side when a poor person comes seeking Zakah, will have his side branded on the day of judgement. The one who does not give Zakah, it will take the form of a snake which will bite him on the day of judgement, saying that I am the wealth which you did not give!
Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel رحمة الله عليه explained the importance of Zakah beautifully. Hazrat gave an example of a person suffering from water retention in his body, causing his body to appear fat. Even though water is healthy, nobody will call him healthy. The one who exercises and loses weight is considered healthy. Likewise, taking out Zakah from our wealthy keeps us spiritually fit. If we do not pay, outwardly it may seem like our money is increasing. But in reality, it is a diseases which will lead to many financial and spiritual problems.
1) Gold or Silver – in the Hanafi Madhab, we give Zakah on our gold and silver, even if we do not regularly use them. Often we get widows who have no wealth but they have jewellery. They take zakah, but their wedding ring or gold set is more than the value of nisab. So she cannot accept Zakah, rather, she has to give Zakah. If she has no cash to give, she should sell a portion of her jewellery and give her Zakah. She cannot avoid Zakah saying her jewellery has sentimental value so she cannot sell it. We cannot avoid our deeni obligations due to our dunyawi attachments.
2) Cash – For a shop owner, this includes all the coins in your shop tills. For those who have foreign currency, this includes the 100 riyals we have leftover from our Umrah trip. We only consider it money again when we fly over. but for Zakah, we have to include foreign currency in our cash before calculating Zakah.
3) Stock in trade
4) Money that is owed to us – If someone owes us, we give zakah on that too. If we have waived the payment for any reason, then there is no zakah due.
5) Shares in a business
🔹Metals other than gold and silver – For example, we do not give zakah platinum and diamonds, regardless of how expensive they may be. Diamond is not wealth, man placed value on it. Wealth is gold and silver. So deen does not acknowledge diamonds. Therefore, a lady will pay the good part of her ring, not the diamond.
🔹Property, land and buildings – We will only pay zakah on this if it is rented and generating income.
🔹Appliances – No matter how many Russell Hobbs and Kenwood appliances a lady may have, she does not pay zakah. The same applies to the tools of an artist or fixtures and fittings in a business.
🔹Personal items – Watches, jackets, shoes e.t.c.
MISCELLANEOUS RULES PERTAINING TO ZAKAH:
🔸For every 30 years in the Gregorian calendar, it is 31 years in the Hijri calendar. Therefore, to avoid missing one years of zakah every thirty years, it is important to calculate the zakatable year using the Hijri calendar.
🔸Most people fix Ramadan to pay zakah but our payment should actually be given 1 year after they day we become an owner of nisab. Even if our money fluctuates, pay zakah on whatever you have, on that day.
🔸Zakah empowers people. If you find someone eligible for Zakah with many debts, battling to pay it all off with his small business, then it is better to give Zakah to him so you can pay off his debts and he can prosper. A few years down the line, he will be assisting another person struggling like he was. I have seen this happen many times. If it is not possible to find a recipient of Zakah yourself, then you may pass your Zakah money to a good organisation, that does not break the laws of Allah.
🔸The recipient of Zakah may do as he wishes with the money, we cannot dictate how he should spend it.
🔸If a husband pays on behalf of the wife and children, then before he even gives the Zakah, he must inform them first and they must agree first.
🔸Apart from ascendants and descendants, you may give Zakah to struggling family members like brothers or sisters. This is better, as we should always assist our families first.
– Hazrat Maulana Dawood Seedat حفظه الله
(The above is an extract from a lecture delivered by Hazrat Maulana Dawood Seedat حفظه الله. To listen to the full audio, please click here.)