Zakat of Dignity

(Zakat e Haqiqi)

Quran and Hadith repeatedly command to spend in the way of Allah just to please Him and out of His true love. Although, Allah and His Prophet appreciate earning money lawfully through hard work but they have always condemned accumulation of wealth. Rather, they have clearly ordered to donate wealth which exceeds one’s personal and household necessities. This spending in the way of Allah is known as ‘infaq-bil-afwu’. The Arabic word al-afwu means ‘the surplus’. Hence infaq-bil-afwu means spending in the way of Allah whatever is surplus to one’s needs. Quran states:

 وَ یَسۡـَٔلُوۡنَکَ مَا ذَا یُنۡفِقُوۡ نَ ‌ؕ قُلِ الۡعَفۡوَؕ

Meaning: (O’ Beloved!) They ask you about what they should spend (in the way of Allah). Say, (spend) whatever is surplus to you needs. (2:219)

Abdullah Ibn-e-Abbas writes in exegesis of this verse that al-afwu (the surplus) is that extra amount which is left after fulfilling needs of one’s family.

Abu Imama reports that the Holy Prophet said, “O’ son of Adam! It is better for you to spend (in the way of Allah) whatever you have surplus. If you will keep it with yourself, it will be harmful for you.”

Hence, hoarding wealth causes great torment. Whereas spending in the way of Allah everything without dissimulation results in gaining pleasure of Allah. This is, in fact, the zakat of dignity (zakat-e-haqeeqi) which is not obligatory but more desirable than obligatory zakat. The Holy Prophet and most of his Companions practiced this zakat.


Indeed, Allah grants wealth as a trial, as He says;

 لَتُبْلَوُنَّ فِیْٓ اَمْوَالِکُمْ وَ اَنْفُسِکُمْ

Meaning: Assuredly you will be tested in your wealth and yourselves. (3:186)

اعۡلَمُوۡۤا  اَنَّمَاۤ   اَمۡوَالُکُمۡ  وَ اَوۡلَادُکُمۡ  فِتۡنَۃٌ ۙ وَّ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ عِنۡدَہٗۤ  اَجۡرٌ  عَظِیۡمٌ

Meaning: And know that your wealth and your children are but a trial. And that Allah has with Him a great reward. (8:28)

Whoever succeeds in this trail by donating it in the way of Allah gets reward. While one who hoards it, fails and regrets afterwards.


There are many verses in Quran which mention reward on spending in the way of Allah;

وَمَا تُنۡفِقُوۡا مِنۡ خَيۡرٍ فَلِاَنۡفُسِكُمۡ‌ؕ وَمَا تُنۡفِقُوۡنَ اِلَّا ابۡتِغَآءَ وَجۡهِ اللّٰهِ‌ؕ وَمَا تُنۡفِقُوۡا مِنۡ خَيۡرٍ يُّوَفَّ اِلَيۡكُمۡ

Meaning: And whatever wealth you spend, it is for your own good. And it is not appropriate for you to spend but for Allah’s pleasure alone. And whatever you spend (in the way of Allah), you shall get its full reward. (2:272)

اِنَّ الْمُصَّدِّقِیْنَ وَالْمُصَّدِّقٰتِ وَاَقْرَضُوا اللّٰہَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا یُّضٰعَفُ لَھُمْ وَلَھُمْ اَجْرٌ کَرِیْمٌ۔

Meaning: Indeed! The men and women who give sadaqah and those who lend to Allah a beautiful loan, it will be multiplied for them and they shall have the noblest reward. (57:18)

لَنْ تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ حَتّٰی تُنْفِقُوْا مِمَّا تُحِبُّوْنَ ط وَمَا تُنْفِقُوْا مِنْ شَیْئٍ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ بِہٖ عَلِیْمٌ۔

Meaning: You will never attain righteousness unless you spend (in the way of Allah) that which you love the most. And whatsoever you spend, Allah surely knows well. (3:92)

 وَمَا تُنْفِقُوْا مِنْ شَیْئٍ فِیْ سَبِیْلِ اللّٰہِ یُوَفَّ اِلَیْکُمْ وَاَنْتُمْ لَا تُظْلَمُوْنَ۔

Meaning: And whatever you spend in the way of Allah, it will be repaid to you in full, and you will not be done any injustice. (8:60)

مَنْ ذَا الَّذِیْ یُقْرِضُ اللّٰہَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَیُضٰعِفَہٗ لَہٗٓ اَضْعَافًا کَثِیْرَةً ‌ؕ

Meaning: Who would lend to Allah a beautiful loan so that He may increase it manifold? (2:245)


Allah commanded the Holy Prophet that he should not make any such person his companion or friend who refuses to sacrifice his every possession in the way of Allah.

فَلَا تَتَّخِذُوْا مِنْھُمْ اَوْلِیَآءَ حَتّٰی یُھَاجِرُوْا فِیْ سَبِیْلِ اللّٰہِ

Meaning: So do not make friends with (any of) them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah. (4:89) 

Allah warns;

یٰٓاَیُّھَا الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْٓا اَنْفِقُوْا مِمَّا رَزَقْنٰکُمْ مِّنْ قَبْلِ اَنْ یَّاْتِیَ یَوْمٌ لَّا بَیْعٌ فِیْہِ وَلَا خُلَّۃٌ وَّلَا شَفَاعَۃٌ

Meaning: O’ believers! Spend (in the way of Allah) out of that which We have provided to you before the day comes when there will be no trade, neither any friendship nor (any) intercession (will be useful). (2:254) 

وَمَا لَکُمْ اَلَّا تُنْفِقُوْا فِیْ سَبِیْلِ اللّٰہِ وَلِلّٰہِ مِیْرَاثُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ

Meaning: And what has happened to you that you spend not in the way of Allah! When unto Allah only belongs the ownership of the heavens and the earth. (57:10)

 وَاَنْفِقُوْا مِنْ مَّا رَزَقْنٰکُمْ مِّنْ قَبْلِ اَنْ یَّاْتِیَ اَحَدَکُمُ الْمَوْتُ فَیَقُوْلَ رَبِّ لَوْلَآ اَخَّرْتَنِیْٓ اِلٰٓی اَجَلٍ قَرِیْبٍ ۙ  فَاَصَّدَّقَ وَاَکُنْ مِّنَ الصّٰلِحِیْنَ۔

Meaning: And spend (in the way of Allah) from that which We have provided for you. Before death comes unto one of you and he says, “My Lord! Why did you not give me respite for a short while so that I could spend in your way and become one of the most pious?”(63:10)



  • Ali ibn Abi Talib related that the Holy Prophet said, “Hurry in donating in the way of Allah.”
  • According to Abu Huraira, the Holy Prophet told that Allah says, “O’ son of Adam! Spend upon pious deeds and I will spend upon you.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
  • Abu Saeed narrated that the Prophet said, “Donating one dirham during lifetime is better than donating thousand dirhams near death.”(Abu Dawood)
  • Asma bint Abu Bakr Siddiq related that the Holy Prophet said to her, “Spend (abundantly in the way of Allah). And do not count what you have spent in His way otherwise Allah would also keep account of what He has given you (would not bless you infinitely). And do not try to keep your income saved otherwise Allah will also keep his blessings saved from you. Spend as much as possible.”(Kanz al-Ummal)
  • Abu Huraira relates that the Holy Prophet said, “Whoever gives (in the way of Allah) equal to a date from his lawful earning, for Allah only accepts pure things, Allah will take it in His right hand, then raise it as any one of you raises his foal, until it becomes equal to a mountain.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
  • Holy Prophet said that every morning, two angels descend on earth. One of them says, “O Allah! Give something as reward to those who spend in your way.” Other angel prays, “O Allah! Destroy the wealth of those who withhold it.” (Mishkat al-Masabih)


  • Anas bin Malik relates that Prophet Mohammad said, “Indeed, spending in the way of Allah cools down the wrath of Allah and protects against a cursed death.” (Tirmidhi)
  • Another Hadith states that on doomsday, everyone will remain under the shadow of all that he had spent (in the way of Allah) till Allah will take the decision.
  • The Holy Prophet said that one should hurry in giving sadaqah, certainly evil cannot overcome sadaqah. (Mishkat al-Masabih)
  • A Hadith reveals that spending in the way of Allah guards against seventy catastrophes. Most minor of which is illnesses such as leprosy and leucoderma. (Kanz al-Ummal)
  • A Hadith states, “You should protect yourself from worries and sorrows by spending in the way of Allah. Allah will avert the things which may harm you and will give you strength over the enemy.”(Kanz al-Ummal)


  • Uqba related the tradition that he was offering Asr(afternoon) prayer behind the Holy Prophet. The Prophet, soon after completing the prayer, stood up and hastily left to one of his wives’ home. People became surprised and worried to see the Holy Prophet leaving in such a manner. When the Holy Prophet returned, he sensed the astonishment of people. Thus, he said, “I recalled a piece of gold which was left at home. Since I do not approve that (death approaches me in a state that a piece of gold is in my possession and) I am stopped due to it (on doomsday for its accountability) so I went hastily to spend it in the way of Allah.” (Bukhari, Mishkat al-Masabih)
  • Ayesha bint Abu Bakr related, “During the illness of Holy Prophet, someone gave about six or seven gold coins. The Prophet ordered me to give them in the way of Allah immediately. I was occupied due to the illness of Holy Prophet, so I could not get time to donate them. After some time, he asked me, “Have you distributed those gold coins among the needy?” I replied, “I could not get enough time due to your illness.” He said, “Bring them here.” He took them in his hand and said, “What would be the state of the Messenger of Allah if he meets his Lord while holding these?” (Mishkat al-Masabih)

Spending in the way of Allah from Husband’s Wealth

  • Ayesha bint Abu Bakr related that the Holy Prophet said, “When a woman gives in the way of Allah from the meal for her family in such a way that the remaining is enough for family, then she gets reward for it. And her husband also gets the reward because he earned the money for it. Moreover, similar is the reward for the one who arranged (cookedthe meal. Reward of none of three would be lessened due to another.”(Mishkat al-Masabih)
  • One of the Rashidun Caliphs related that the Holy Prophet said, “The woman who spends in the way of Allah from her husband’s income without asking her husband, gets half reward of what she might have gotten otherwise.” (Mishkat al-Masabih)
  • The Holy Prophet said, “Allah allows three men to enter Paradise due to one bite of food or one handful of dates given in the way of Allah. One is owner of the house i.e. husband who earned it. Second is wife who cooked that meal and third is the servant who went and handed it over to beggar.” (Kanz al-Ummal)
  • Asma bint Abu Bakr asked the Holy Prophet, “O Prophet! I do not have anything except that which my husband Zubair gives me. Can I spend in the way of Allah from it?” The Holy Prophet replied, “Spend abundantly (in the way of Allah) and do not withhold. Otherwise your livelihood would also be withheld.” (Kanz al-Ummal)


Allah has strictly warned those who refuse to spend in the way of Allah or display covetousness in paying zakat. Allah says in the Quran:

 ؕ وَ لَا یَحۡسَبَنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ یَبۡخَلُوۡنَ بِمَاۤ اٰتٰہُمُ اللّٰہُ مِنۡ فَضۡلِہٖ ہُوَ خَیۡرًا لَّہُمۡ ؕ بَلۡ ہُوَ شَرٌّ  لَّہُمۡ ؕ سَیُطَوَّقُوۡنَ مَا بَخِلُوۡا بِہٖ یَوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ

Meaning: And those who (covetously) hoard up that which Allah has bestowed upon them out of His bounty, must never consider this miserliness of any benefit for themselves. Rather, it is injurious for them. Soon, the wealth which they hoard miserly (and do not spend in the way of Allah) will be put around (their necks) like a neck fetter, on the doomsday. (3:180)

 اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یُحِبُّ مَنۡ  کَانَ  مُخۡتَالًا  فَخُوۡرَا ۙ اۨلَّذِيۡنَ یَبۡخَلُوۡنَ وَ یَاۡمُرُوۡنَ النَّاسَ بِالۡبُخۡلِ وَ یَکۡتُمُوۡنَ مَاۤ اٰتٰہُمُ اللّٰہُ مِنۡ فَضۡلِہٖ ؕ وَ اَعۡتَدۡنَا لِلۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ  عَذَابًا مُّہِیۡنًا۔

Meaning: Indeed! Allah does not like the one who is arrogant and boastful. Those, who (miserly) hoard their wealth and enjoin others to do the same and hide that which Allah has bestowed upon them of His bounty. And We have prepared for the disbelievers, a disgraceful chastisement. (4:36, 37)

Allah warns them:

 وَالَّذِیْنَ یَکْنِزُوْنَ الذَّھَبَ وَالْفِضَّۃَ وَلَایُنْفِقُوْنَھَا فِیْ سَبِیْلِ اللّٰہِ ۙ فَبَشِّرْھُمْ بِعَذَابٍ اَلِیْمٍ ۙ ﴿۳۴﴾   یَّوْمَ یُحْمٰی عَلَیْھَا فِیْ نَارِ جَھَنَّمَ فَتُکْوٰی بِھَا جِبَاھُھُمْ وَجُنُوبُھُمْ وَظُہُوْرُھُمْ ط ھٰذَا مَا کَنَزْتُمْ لِاَنْفُسِکُمْ فَذُوْ قُوْا مَا کُنْتُمْ تَکْنِزُوْنَ ﴿۳۵

Meaning: And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah. Warn them of a painful chastisement. The day when this (gold and silver) would be heated in the fire of hell and their foreheads, their sides and their backs would be cauterized with this. (And it will be said to them) “This is what you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste (this wealth) which you had been amassing.”(9:34)


Although zakat of sharia is obligatory upon the Muslims but the Holy Prophet never owned wealth equivalent to nisab. Hence, he never paid the zakat of sharia. He immediately spent in the way of Allah whatever he had surplus to his needs. This is the zakat of dignity, which is although not obligatory but Sunna of the Holy Prophet. He deliberately spent all the money which was above the basic necessities rather than saving it and becoming a sahib-e-nisab. Thus, following the example of the Prophet, the best way of spending in the way of Allah is to spend all the money after meeting one’s basic requirements such as food, shelter and clothing for oneself and one’s family. This is zakat-e-haqeeqi i.e. the zakat of dignity which is far more desirable and worthy than zakat of sharia.


Abu Bakr Siddiq

When Abu Bakr Siddiq accepted Islam, he had forty thousand gold coins which he spent in the way of Allah. Quran appreciates him on donating all his wealth in the way of Allah in these words:

 وَ  سَیُجَنَّبُہَا  الۡاَتۡقَی ۙ الَّذِیۡ یُؤۡتِیۡ مَالَہٗ يَتَزَكّٰى‌ۚ‏ ﴿۱۸﴾ وَ مَا لِاَحَدٍ عِنۡدَہٗ  مِنۡ نِّعۡمَۃٍ  تُجۡزٰۤی ﴿ۙ۱۹﴾ اِلَّا ابۡتِغَآءَ  وَجۡہِ  رَبِّہِ الۡاَعۡلٰی ﴿ۚ۲۰﴾ وَ  لَسَوۡفَ یَرۡضٰی ﴿٪۲۱﴾

Meaning: Saved (from fire) would be the pious one who spends in the way of Allah to attain purity (of soul). And who owes no favour to anyone that he is seeking to pay back. Rather (he spends) seeking the pleasure of his Lord-Most High. Soon, he will be very pleased. (92:17-21)

At the time of Tabuk expedition, Abu Bakr presented everything that he had to the Holy Prophet. When the Holy Prophet inquired him that what he had left for his family, he replied, “Allah and His Messenger.”

The Holy Prophet said, “No one’s wealth has helped me more than the wealth of Abu Bakr Siddiq.”

Before death Abu Bakr made the will to make his shroud from an old piece of cloth.

 With regard to zakat, he said:

  • “2.5% of every hundred dirhams is the zakat of misers and seekers of world. However, for the truthful, zakat means to give everything in the way of Allah.”
  • “Present your sadaqah to Fakir with respect and humility. Because giving it with happiness is symbol of its acceptance by Allah.”

 Umar ibn Khattab

At Tabuk expedition, when the Holy Prophet was collecting donations, Umar ibn Khattab presented half of his wealth. During the period of his caliphate, he only had one dress to wear.  Abdullah bin Abbas related that once he went to Umar and found him going somewhere on his horse. He also went along.  Umar was clad in a traditional long shirt and a leg sheet which was clinging to his shins. (Because either it had shrunk due to frequent washing or was a little wet).  Abdullah bin Abbas asked him why it was so. He replied that it was because he only had that one dress which takes time to dry after washing.

 Ali-ibn-Abi Talib revealed that he saw thirty-one patches of leather and one patch of cloth sewn upon Umar’s dress. These were the personalities who grew under the benevolent shadow of the Prophet of Allah. Following him, they never let zakat of sharia become obligatory upon them by spending everything in the way of Allah.

Usman ibn Affan

When he accepted Islam, he was the wealthiest among the Muslims. However, immediately after embracing Islam, he dedicated all his wealth for the cause of Allah. He was always ready to present his wealth to his beloved Prophet whenever needed. Whether it was the Tabuk expedition or the draught of Madina or purchase of the land for Masjid al-Nabwi and the well of sweet water for Muslims in Madina or expenditures of the wives of Holy Prophet for hajj. His contribution in terms of donations for Islam was immense. He sacrificed all his possessions in the way of Allah. At the time of his martyrdom, his only asset was a camel which he had saved to travel for pilgrimage.

 Ali ibn Abi Talib

 Ali ibn Abi Talib and his family never had a single proper meal. Whenever he got any money, he immediately spent it in the way of Allah.  Ali said:

 فَمَا وَجَبَتْ عَلَیَّ زَکٰوۃُ مَالِ

وَھَلُ تَجِبُ الزَّکٰوۃُ عَلَی جَوَّادِ

Meaning: Zakat has never been obligatory upon me. How can zakat become incumbent upon a generous person!

Other Companions

The zakat of sharia never became compulsory upon any of the Companions of Holy Prophet. Because, they never became sahib-e-nisab i.e. they never possessed that amount upon which zakat of sharia becomes obligatory. They spent in the way of Allah whatever they got above their basic needs, sometimes even neglecting their basic requirements. Hence, they always gave zakat-e-haqeeqi i.e. zakat of dignity which never let zakat of sharia become compulsory for them.


Sufis believe the zakat of dignity to be superior. Because even though zakat of sharia is religious obligation, one gives it after accumulating a particular amount of wealth. Moreover, it has fixed limits. The zakat of dignity, on the other hand, has no limits and is paid without hoarding any wealth. Allah is the Giver of boundless bounties and the Mystics adopt His ways and consider them superior.

  • Someone asked a Saint that how much zakat one should pay and on what amount? The Saint replied, “For those who follow sharia, five dirhams from every two hundred dirhams i.e. fortieth part of the whole. But for people like us, it is compulsory to give entire amount as zakat.” (Ahya al-Uloom)

 Data Ganj Bakhsh Ali bin Usman al-Hajveri stated:

  • Zakat, related to the blessings (wealth) of this world, is not desirable or praise worthy for the Saints. This is because greed is forbidden for the seekers of Allah. When somebody keeps two hundred dirhams in his possession and withholds it for over a year and then gives five dirhams from it as a zakat of sharia then such a behavior is miserliness according to the Sufis. Saints are known for generosity, beneficence and spending (in the way of Allah). So how can zakat (of sharia) be compulsory for those who accumulate nothing!” (Kashf-ul-Mahjub/Revelation of the Veiled)

Abu Bakr Shibli’s doctrine

A formal theologian, for the sake of challenging Abu Bakr Shibli, asked him what the nisab for zakat is. He replied, “If person is covetous and hoards wealth, then he should pay five dirhams from every two hundred dirhams. And half dinar out of every twenty dinars according to your doctrine. My doctrine, however, is that one should not own anything so that he is relieved from giving zakat.” The theologian asked, “What authority do you follow in this regard?” Shibli replied, “The authority of Abu Bakr Siddiq who presented everything that he possessed to the Holy Prophet. When the Holy Prophet asked that what he had left behind for his family, he answered, ‘Allah and His Messenger.’ ”

Three kinds of Zakat

Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, in his book Sir-ul-Asrar, has explained three types of zakat;

  • Zakat-e-sharia (zakat of sharia)
  • Zakat-e-tariqa (zakat of mysticism)
  • Zakat-e-haqiqa (zakat of dignity)

Zakat of sharia is that which Muslims pay once every year according to prescribed rate of nisab to the deserving.

Zakat of Mysticism

Zakat of mysticism is that one requests Allah to grant reward of one’s good deeds to the Fakirs. Quran has mentioned this form of zakat as sadaqah. As Allah says:

 اِنَّمَا الصَّدَقٰتُ لِلۡفُقَرَآءِ

Meaning: Indeed, sadaqat are for the Fakirs. (9:60)

The verse indicates that giving sadaqat to the Saints actually means giving them to Allah. Hence, their channel confirms acceptance of sadaqah in the court of Allah.

In mysticism, zakat changes its form because it is the sadaqah of one’s reward instead of wealth. Hence, this zakat is spiritual and eternal. The giver of this zakat also presents reward of his good deeds to sinners of umma of his beloved Prophet. Thus, there is no reward left for his own self. Allah adores such an act of generosity so much that He forgives all the mistakes of the giver which he may have committed while giving sadaqah, fasting, offering prayers or during any form of devotion. Zakat of mysticism makes the giver more destitute. As he is left with no blessing or reward related to this world or the hereafter. Surely, Allah adores such destitution and generosity as the Holy Prophet has said:

اَلْمُفْلِسُ فِیْ اَمَانِ اللّٰہِ تَعَالٰی فِی الدَّارَیْنِ۔

Meaning: The destitute remains in the protection of Allah in both the worlds.

Prayer of Rabia Basri

Rabia of Basra prayed:

 اِلٰھِیْ مَا کَانَ نَصِیْبِیْ مِنَ الدُّنْیَا فَاَعْطِہُ لِلْکَافِرِیْنَ وَمَا کَانَ نَصِیْبِیْ مِنَ الْعُقْبٰی فَاَعْطِہُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِیْنَ فَلاَ اُرِیْدُ مِنَ الدُّنْیَا اِلاَّ ذِکْرَکَ وَلاَ مِنَ الْعُقْبٰی اِلاَّ رُؤْیَتَکَ۔

Meaning: O Lord! Whatever is my share in this world, give it to the disbelievers. Whatever is my share in the hereafter, give it to the believers. Because I want nothing in this world except to stay engrossed in your remembrance. While in the hereafter, I desire nothing except Your vision.

Sacrifice should be made purely for Allah’s love

Hence, ideally a person must sacrifice everything for the love of Allah. Surely, Allah would favour him ten times more in the hereafter. Allah says in Quran:

 ۚ مَنۡ جَآءَ بِالۡحَسَنَۃِ فَلَہٗ عَشۡرُ اَمۡثَالِہَا

Meaning: Whoever brings (on doomsday) one good deed will have to his credit (as a reward) ten more like it. (6:160)

The zakat of dignity also purifies the inward from the desires and attributes of the inciting selfas Allah says:

 ۙ قَدۡ  اَفۡلَحَ  مَنۡ  زَکّٰىہَا۔

Meaning: Indeed, he who purifies himself, gains success. (91:9)

Allah also says:

 ؕ مَنۡ ذَا الَّذِیۡ یُقۡرِضُ اللّٰہَ  قَرۡضًا حَسَنًا فَیُضٰعِفَہٗ لَہٗۤ اَضۡعَافًا کَثِیۡرَۃً

Meaning: Who is he that will lend Allah a generous loan, so that He may increase it manifold? (2:245)

In this context, ‘loan’ refers to sacrificing one’s wealth and good deeds without anyone’s request. Moreover, purely out of the love of Allah to favour His creation. Allah says:

 ۙ  لَا تُبۡطِلُوۡا صَدَقٰتِکُمۡ بِالۡمَنِّ وَ الۡاَذٰی ۔

Meaning: Do not invalidate your sadaqat by taunts of doing favour and hurting feelings. (2:264)

A person must not seek worldly gains as reward of his donations. Allah declares;

لَنْ تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ حَتّٰی تُنْفِقُوْامِمَّا تُحِبُّوْنَ۔

Meaning: You will never attain righteousness unless you spend (in the way of Allah) that which you love the most. (3:92)

One can achieve righteousness and nearness to Allah only if he sacrifices love of everything for Allah’s love.

Imam Ghazali reveals the secret of zakat of dignity

He says;

  • One must understand that just like salat, zakat also has a body and a soul. That is, it is both physical as well as spiritual form of worship. One who fails to acknowledge the spiritual reality of zakat, his zakat remains superficial. Zakat has three aspects:

First Aspect-Love of Allah

Firstly, creation ought to love its Creator and every Muslim claims to love Allah. However, real meaning of loving Allah is making Him one’s priority and not holding anything dearer than Him. As Allah says:

قُلۡ اِنۡ کَانَ اٰبَآؤُکُمۡ وَ اَبۡنَآؤُکُمۡ وَ اِخۡوَانُکُمۡ وَ اَزۡوَاجُکُمۡ وَ عَشِیۡرَتُکُمۡ وَ اَمۡوَالُۨ اقۡتَرَفۡتُمُوۡہَا وَ تِجَارَۃٌ تَخۡشَوۡنَ کَسَادَہَا وَ مَسٰکِنُ تَرۡضَوۡنَہَاۤ اَحَبَّ اِلَیۡکُمۡ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ رَسُوۡلِہٖ وَ جِہَادٍ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِہٖ فَتَرَبَّصُوۡا حَتّٰی یَاۡتِیَ اللّٰہُ بِاَمۡرِہٖ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ لَا یَہۡدِی الۡقَوۡمَ الۡفٰسِقِیۡنَ ﴿٪۲۴﴾

Meaning: (O’ Mohammad) Say (to them)! If your fathers (and forefathers) and your sons (and daughters) and your brothers (and sisters) and your wives and your relatives and the wealth that you have earned (so hard) and the trade and business which you fear may decline and the homes you are so fond of are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and striving in His way, then wait until Allah executes His command (of torment) and Allah does not guide the disobedient. (9:24)

Every true believer claims that he loves Allah more than anyone or anything else. And he genuinely feels that he is true to his claim. However, one must be asked to provide evidence (even for self-evaluation) to prove one’s love for Allah. The riches of this world are very alluring and one of the most loved things by man. Hence, become trial for him. So Allah challenges, “If you are truthful in your claim of love then, for the sake of your relationship with Allah, sacrifice only this one beloved of yours.”

People who follow the word of Allah

There are three categories of those who comprehend the meaning of above words of Allah;

First Category

The most elevated payers of zakat are the truthful i.e. those who sacrifice everything. They follow the footsteps of Abu Bakr Siddiq and give everything for their love and loyalty towards Allah. For them, paying the fixed amount of zakat (five of every two hundred dirham) is just miserliness. They hold it obligatory upon themselves to donate all their wealth and possessions in the way of Allah. Their generosity and sacrifice is a reflection of Abu Bakr who donated all that he owned. And when the Holy Prophet asked what he had left for his family, he simply replied, “Allah and His Messenger.”

Second Category

Second are those who pay half of what they own as zakat.  Umar ibn Khattab belongs to this category because he brought half of his wealth to give in the way of Allah. When Holy Prophet asked him what he left for his family, he replied, “Equivalent to what I have brought here.” The Holy Prophet said, “Your (Abu Bakr and Umar’s) words reflect your spiritual levels.” This group is always willing to spend in the way of Allah and donate to the Fakirs. But, people of this group do not have the courage to spend their wealth all at once. They consider themselves equal to the dervishes. When a dervish comes to them, they not only donate to him but treat him like part of their family.

Third Category

Third category is of those who strictly follow the rate of nisab while paying zakat. To them, zakat is like any other religious obligation which they have to pay only because Allah ordered it. They free themselves from the responsibility by paying zakat at prescribed rate. Thus, they do not believe in paying more than that or benefitting the dervishes from their wealth. Their approach is very calculated and limited. This is the lowest level of those who pay zakat.

On the other hand, one whom Allah has blessed with wealth but refuses to pay even the minimum amount of zakat, is utterly deprived of the friendship and love of Allah. Those who do not pay a single penny above the prescribed rate and just pay the calculated amount of zakat are indeed misers and are wrong in their claim of love for Allah.

Second Aspect-Purification

Second dimension of zakat is that it purifies the inward from covetousness. Greed and covetousness are the most undesirable things that keep a person away from Allah. One cannot get salvation from greed of hoarding wealth and depending upon worldly things unless one sacrifices everything in the way of Allah out of pure intention and love. Zakat is the spiritual purification ritual of the soul as ablution is for the body. It washes away the filth of greed from the soul. That is why, Allah did not allow the Holy Prophet and his family to take zakat and the sadaqah which was meant to avert diseases and calamities. So as to keep them safe from the filth of people’s wealth.

Third Aspect-Gratitude

Third aspect of zakat is that it inculcates the feeling of gratitude within the giver. Since, wealth is also one of the blessings of Allah which makes life of a Muslim easy and happy. So he should be thankful to Allah for this blessing. Just as offering salat, fasting and performing hajj are a way to thank Allah for the blessing of physical health. Similarly, paying zakat is a way to thank Allah for the blessing of material wealth.

When a true believer, who has enough of this blessing, finds anyone from his brethren in a financially miserable condition, he should not look down upon him and should immediately tell himself, “Just like me, he is also a slave of Allah. It is His beneficence that He has made me self-sufficient and made him dependent upon me. So I should treat him with kindness. For, it maybe my trial and if I fail, our positions may get reversed.”

It is essential to understand the depth and concept behind zakat. So that this act of worship does not remain worthless. (Kimya-e-Saadat/The Alchemy of Happiness)


Concept of Zakat Explained in Moinuddin Chishti’s Treatise

Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti wrote a unique treatise on mysticism called Asrar-e-Haqeeqi. It is, in fact, a letter to his spiritual successor Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki. This treatise includes a special conversation between Prophet Mohammad and Umar ibn Khattab. This conversation reveals the secrets and realities behind different forms of obligatory prayers.

Holy Prophet’s word about Zakat

Regarding zakat, the Holy Prophet addresses Umar, “O’ Umar! In terms of sharia, it is obligatory to pay five of every two hundred dinars as zakat. According to mysticism, one should keep only those five dinars and essentially give rest of amount as zakat. However, remember that zakat is binding only upon those who are free and not upon slaves. A person cannot be considered ‘free’ as long as desires of his innerself have enslaved him. So zakat (of dignity) cannot be obligatory upon him. To become entitled to pay zakat of dignity, he must first liberate himself from the slavery of his own desires.

Further, zakat is only compulsory for those who are adults and sane, not upon minors or insane. According to perfect Mystics, the person who cultivates ignorance and remains surrounded by the demons of his own lustful and evil desires is a fool and insane. Hence, how can such a person be entitled to pay the zakat of dignity! One can acquire sanity, stability of mind and freedom from inciting innerself (nafs) through the gnosis of Allah. That is only possible if one sets himself free from the shackles of ignorance and Satan.

Zakat, as a financial form of alms-giving, is part of sharia. Its fundamental concept is to maintain balance in economic system. So that the rich, rather than hoarding money, give part of it to the less fortunate. Thus, they become able to meet their basic needs.”

He adds:

“O Umar!  No one except the perfect Mystics knows about the real divine treasure. The real treasure is, in fact, the secret of Lordship which is present in the hearts of the Mystics. It is obligatory upon them to give zakat of the wealth of secrets of Allah out of their real treasure. That is, to guide the depraved and ignorant towards Allah because zakat actually is to give the deserving their right.” (Asrar-e-Haqeeqi)

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