Zakat, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, is a fundamental practice that holds immense significance in the lives of Muslims worldwide. Derived from the Arabic word ‘Zaka,’ meaning ‘to purify,’ Zakat is not merely a religious duty but a profound act of charity and social responsibility.
In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore the five compelling reasons why Zakat is important for every Muslim.
1. Fulfilling a Religious Obligation
The primary reason why Zakat is crucial for Muslims is that it is a religious obligation mandated by Allah in the Quran. It is considered the third pillar of Islam and is mentioned numerous times in the holy book. In Surah Al-Baqarah (2:267-273), Allah emphasizes the importance of charity and the purification of wealth through Zakat. By fulfilling this obligation, Muslims demonstrate their obedience to Allah and their commitment to the teachings of Islam.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْفِقُوا مِنْ طَيِّبَاتِ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَمِمَّا أَخْرَجْنَا لَكُمْ مِنَ الْأَرْضِ وَلَا تَيَمَّمُوا الْخَبِيثَ مِنْهُ تُنْفِقُونَ وَلَسْتُمْ بِآخِذِيهِ إِلَّا أَنْ تُغْمِضُوا فِيهِ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ
O you who believe! Give of the good things you have earned, and from what We have produced for you from the earth. And do not pick the inferior things to give away, when you yourselves would not accept it except with eyes closed. And know that God is Sufficient and Praiseworthy.
لِلْفُقَرَاءِ الَّذِينَ أُحْصِرُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ ضَرْبًا فِي الْأَرْضِ يَحْسَبُهُمُ الْجَاهِلُ أَغْنِيَاءَ مِنَ التَّعَفُّفِ تَعْرِفُهُمْ بِسِيمَاهُمْ لَا يَسْأَلُونَ النَّاسَ إِلْحَافًا وَمَا تُنْفِقُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ
It is for the poor; those who are restrained in the way of God, and unable to travel in the land. The unaware would think them rich, due to their dignity. You will recognize them by their features. They do not ask from people insistently. Whatever charity you give, God is aware of it.
2. Supporting the Less Fortunate
Zakat serves as a powerful mechanism for wealth redistribution, ensuring that the wealth within a Muslim community is shared among its members, particularly those who are less fortunate. It is a means of eradicating poverty and addressing socioeconomic inequalities. Through Zakat, Muslims support the poor, widows, orphans, and other vulnerable members of society, helping them meet their basic needs such as food, shelter, and education.
READ MORE: Types of Zakat in Islam in Muslim Daily Life
It is mentioned in the Quran surah At Taubah verse 60.
۞ اِنَّمَا الصَّدَقٰتُ لِلْفُقَرَاۤءِ وَالْمَسٰكِيْنِ وَالْعٰمِلِيْنَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوْبُهُمْ وَفِى الرِّقَابِ وَالْغٰرِمِيْنَ وَفِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللّٰهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيْلِۗ فَرِيْضَةً مِّنَ اللّٰهِ ۗوَاللّٰهُ عَلِيْمٌ حَكِيْمٌ ٦٠
Quran 9 verse 60: Charities are for the poor, and the destitute, and those who administer them, and for reconciling hearts, and for freeing slaves, and for those in debt, and in the path of God, and for the traveler in need—an obligation from God. God is All-Knowing, Most Wise.
3. Promoting Social Solidarity
Zakat fosters a sense of community and social solidarity among Muslims. It reminds them that they are part of a larger ummah (community), and they have a collective responsibility to care for one another. This sense of unity and brotherhood is crucial in strengthening the bonds of the Muslim community and promoting compassion and empathy towards one another.
4. Purification of Wealth
Zakat is not just about giving to the needy; it is also about purifying one’s wealth. It encourages Muslims to be mindful of their material possessions and prevents the hoarding of wealth, which can lead to arrogance and greed. By giving away a portion of their wealth annually, Muslims purify their earnings and remind themselves that their wealth is a blessing from Allah, to be used for the betterment of society.
5. Spiritual Growth and Self-Purification
Beyond its tangible benefits, Zakat plays a vital role in the spiritual growth and self-purification of a Muslim. It instills a sense of humility and gratitude for the blessings bestowed by Allah. When a Muslim willingly gives away a portion of their wealth, it signifies their detachment from materialism and their attachment to the divine. It is an act of worship that cleanses the heart and strengthens the connection between the individual and Allah.
In conclusion, Zakat is not just a financial transaction but a profound act of worship and compassion that encompasses the essence of Islam. It fulfills a religious obligation, supports the less fortunate, promotes social solidarity, purifies wealth, and contributes to the spiritual growth of Muslims. It is a reminder that wealth is a means to benefit society, and those who have been blessed with it have a duty to share it with those in need. By practicing Zakat, Muslims uphold the principles of justice, empathy, and social responsibility, making the world a better place for all.