The literal meaning of word ‘zakat’ is to purify, to grow or to elevate. According to sharia, it refers to the religious obligatory payment from wealth to the deserving people. Its prescribed rate is 2.5% of the wealth per year. Zakat is compulsory on every adult Muslim who owns a specific amount of wealth for an uninterrupted full year. According to sharia, the minimum wealth on which the payment of zakat becomes due is the nisab. Wealth can only be classified as nisab if it has remained under possession of person for an uninterrupted full year. The person on whom zakat becomes compulsory i.e. who possesses that minimum amount for a whole year is called sahib-e-nisab. The nisab for different goods is different, as given below:
- 7.5 tolas (87.22 gram) of gold in whichever form or an amount equivalent to its price.
- 52.5 tolas (611 gram) of silver in whichever form or an amount equivalent to its price.
- The nisab of trading goods is that their value must be equivalent to 52 tolas of silver.
- The nisab of a camel is 5 camels.
- Nisab of cows and buffalos is thirty cows and buffalos.
- The nisab of sheep and cattle is forty sheep and cattle.
- There is no zakat on horses used as a ride.
- There is no zakat on the assets given on rent but there is zakat on income earned through them.
EMPHASIS ON PAYING ZAKAT IN QURAN
Since zakat is the pillar of Islam, the Quran and Hadith repeatedly instruct about its payment. Zakat is, in fact, next to salat as both are forms of devotion to Allah with change of their outer aspect. Just as salat is physical worship, likewise, zakat is the financial form of worship.
The Holy Quran says:
وَاَقِیْمُوا الصَّلٰوۃَ وَاٰتُوا الزَّکٰوۃَ وَاَطِیْعُوا الرَّسُوْلَ لَعَلَّکُمْ تُرْحَمُوْنَ۔
Meaning: And establish salat, (ensure the) payment of zakat and obey the Messenger so that you may be granted mercy. (24:56)
الَّذِیۡنَ یُقِیۡمُوۡنَ الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ یُؤۡتُوۡنَ الزَّکٰوۃَ وَ ہُمۡ بِالۡاٰخِرَۃِ ہُمۡ یُوۡقِنُوۡنَ ؕ﴿۴﴾ اُولٰٓئِکَ عَلٰی ہُدًی مِّنۡ رَّبِّہِمۡ وَ اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡمُفۡلِحُوۡنَ ﴿۵﴾
Meaning: Those who establish salat, give zakat and believe in hereafter, it is they who are following guidance from their Lord. And only they will be successful. (31:4,5)
وَرَحْمَتِیْ وَسِعَتْ کُلَّ شَیْئٍ ط فَسَاَکْتُبُھَا لِلَّذِیْنَ یَتَّقُوْنَ وَیُؤْتُوْنَ الزَّکٰوۃَ وَالَّذِیْنَ ھُمْ بِاٰیٰتِنَا یُؤْمِنُوْنَ۔
Meaning: And My mercy encompasses everything. Soon, I shall prescribe this mercy for those who are God-fearing and give zakat regularly. And it is they who have faith in Our revelations. (7:156)
وَمَآ اٰتَیْتُمْ مِّنْ زَکٰوۃٍ تُرِیْدُوْنَ وَجْہَ اللّٰہِ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ ھُمُ الْمُضْعِفُوْنَ
Meaning: But the amount that you give as zakat, seeking (closeness and vision of) Allah’s Countenance. So it is they who multiply (Allah’s pleasure for them) manifold. (30:39)
اِنَّ الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا وَعَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ وَاَقَامُوا الصَّلٰوۃَ وَاٰتَوُا الزَّکٰوۃَ لَھُمْ اَجْرُھُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمۡۚ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَیْھِمْ وَلَا ھُمْ یَحْزَنُوْنَ۔
Meaning: Indeed, those who believe and do pious deeds, establish salat and give zakat, they have with their Lord huge reward. There will be no fear concerning them nor shall they grieve. (2:277)
EMPHASIS ON PAYING ZAKAT IN HADITHS
- Abu Darda relates that the Holy Prophet said, “Verily, zakat is the bridge of Islam.”(Tibrani)
- Abdullah bin Masood reports that the Holy Prophet said, “Indeed, we have been ordered to offer salat and give zakat. Those who do not pay zakat, their salats are not accepted.” (Tibrani)
- One who does not pay zakat on his wealth, on doomsday his wealth would convert into a serpent which would strangle his neck. (Tirmidhi)
- Prophet Mohammad said, “Protect your wealth by paying its zakat and cure the sick by paying (Abu Dawood)
- Jabir-bin-Abdullah relates that the Holy Prophet said, “One who has paid the zakat, undoubtedly he got liberated from the evil of his wealth.” (Al-Hakim fi Al-Mustadrak, Tibrani)
- Ammar-bin-Hazm states that the Holy Prophet said, “Allah has made four things obligatory in Islam. If anyone does only three of them, they would do him no good unless he does fourth one as well. The four things are; salat, zakat, fasting in the month of Ramadan and pilgrimage of the Holy Kaaba.” (Musnad-e-Ahmad)
- Abdullah-bin-Umar relates that the Holy Prophet said, “Whoever believes in Allah and His Messenger, should pay zakat on his wealth.” (Tibrani)
- Aqalma states that the Holy Prophet said, “Certainly, your faith is incomplete unless you pay (complete) zakat of your wealth.” (Tibrani)
- Ayesha bint Abu Bakr narrates that the Holy Prophet said, “If zakat is not given from the wealth and remains mixed in it, such wealth surely gets destroyed.”(Mishkat)
WARNING ON NOT PAYING ZAKAT
Quran and Hadiths contain severe warnings for those who do not pay zakat. So much so that Allah counts such people amongst polytheists.
وَیۡلٌ لِّلۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ۙ﴿۶﴾ الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یُؤۡتُوۡنَ الزَّکٰوۃَ وَ ہُمۡ بِالۡاٰخِرَۃِ ہُمۡ کٰفِرُوۡنَ ﴿۷﴾
Meaning: And destruction (certainly) awaits those who associate partners with Allah. It is, in fact, those who refuse to pay zakat. (41:6, 7)
On the night of Miraj, the Holy Prophet saw group of people who had torn clothes on their body. They were grazing hot and thorny bushes of hell like animals. The Holy Prophet inquired Gabriel about them. Gabriel replied, “They are the ones who refused to pay zakat. No doubt! Allah did no cruelty to them. Indeed, Allah is never cruel with His men.”(Bukhari, Muslim)
Abu Huraira relates that the Holy Prophet said, “Whoever owns gold and silver and does not pay their rightful zakat, angels would prepare seven sheets of fire for him on doomsday. After heating them in the fire of hell, they would brand his sides and back with them. His body would be broadened so that all the sheets would cover it fully. If the sheets would be larger, his body would broaden accordingly. When the sheets would get cold, angels would heat them again. This process would last the whole day whereby one day would be equal to fifty thousand years of earth. At last, Allah would take decision of every man justly. Eventually, each would go to his destination, whether heaven or hell.”