Allah has ordained many actions and acts of worship upon mankind in the Holy Quraan. Some of these ordained actions are merely physical or verbal practises. For example: Salaah, Zikr (remembrance of Allah) etc from which the practiser or worshiper himself gains benefit, but Allah in his infinite mercy, blessed mankind with a unique and remarkable institution and a major pillar of Islam, Zakaah.
Zakaah is not merely a divine tax, a form of charity, or simply an expression of mercy to the poor, but Zakaah is rather a combination of all these and much more.
Zakaah is not worship, in which one burdens himself, in deducting a percentage of ones property, but Zakaah is a spiritual investment which will benefit man in this world and the hereafter.
Zakaah is not a voluntary contribution or a mere act of charity, in which man gives up part of his property for someone or some cause, rather Zakaah is a duty ordained by Allah upon Muslims.
The word Zakaah not only includes charity, kindness, divine tax, voluntary contribution etc, it also with these spiritual and moral motives. No word can be found in the English language that could fulfil the rights of the Arabic word, Zakaah.
Many benefits of giving Zakaah have been mentioned in the various verses of the Holy Quran and our beloved Prophet Muhammad has mentioned numerous benefits in Ahadeeth. Some of these benefits are mentioned in brief below:
Zakaah purifies the property of people.
Zakaah purifies the heart from selfishness and greed for wealth.
Zakaah minimizes the suffering of the poor and needy members of society.
By giving Zakaah, one can gain the pleasure of Allah.
Zakaah increases wealth and protects from loss.
Zakaah acts as a means of forgiveness of Allah.
Zakaah saves one from calamities.
Zakaah acts as a shield form the fire of hell.
Zakaah causes an increase of barakah in wealth.
Zakaah saves one from fear and grief.
If we were to take a glance at the world today, we would find that poverty is on the rise, especially in Muslim countries. One of the major reasons for this increase of poverty is that many Muslims are not giving Zakaah. This is why it is important that we stay punctual in giving Zakaah and voluntary charity. Zakaah is the key to ending world poverty and each one of us will be asked on the Day of Judgement regarding their Zakaah.
May Allah give us all the ability to understand the importance of Zakaah and may Allah give us the ability to give Zakaah in the right way. Ameen
see also : Zakaat-Alms Giving (Talimul-Haq Part 12)
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