December 2016: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Rabi I 1438

Volume 32 No 12

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Submitters Perspective

Monthly Bulletin of the International Community of Submitters Published by Masjid Tucson

The Obligatory Charity (Zakat)

[2:277] Those who believe and lead a righteous life, and observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), they receive their recompense from their Lord; they will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.

What is the Obligatory Charity (Zakat)? Why do Submitters (Muslims) give Zakat? How do we give Zakat? In this article we will be reflecting on these questions.

What is the Obligatory Charity (Zakat)?

Zakat is obligatory charity that we are commanded to give on any net income we receive. As Appendix 15 [1] indicates, “Government taxes should be deducted, but not other expenses such as debts, mortgages, and living expenses.” Loans are not included since they need to be repaid.

[2:110] You shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat). Any good you send forth on behalf of your souls, you will find it at GOD. GOD is seer of everything you do.

Why do Submitters give Zakat?

Zakat is one of our main practices of worshipping God, Our Creator and Provider. In some of the verses it comes right after Salat.


[98:5] All that was asked of them was to worship GOD, devoting the religion absolutely to Him alone, observe the contact prayers (Salat), and give the obligatory charity (Zakat). Such is the perfect religion.

Giving Zakat is part of the criteria for being righteous (2:177, 31:2-4) and being a believer (23:4, 9:71, 27:2-3). Like other worship practices, it helps to strengthen and purify our soul (33:33, 11:114).

[30:44] Whoever disbelieves, disbelieves to the detriment of his own soul, while those who lead a righteous life, do so to strengthen and develop their own souls.

[9:103-104] Take from their money a charity to purify them and sanctify them. … Do they not realize that GOD accepts the repentance of His worshipers, and takes the charities, and that GOD is the Redeemer, Most Merciful?

It seems to me that these verses (9:103-104) are linking charity to acceptance of repentance and redemption. Giving to charity helps remit our sins and helps us earn redemption.  The above verses also indicate that charity can purify us. According to Wikipedia, “Zakat literally means ‘that which purifies.’”

[2] There are verses in the Quran which have a word related to Zakat that means purify or something related to pure (2:129, 2:151, 3:164, 19:13, 20:76).

[2:151] (Blessings) such as the sending of a messenger from among you to recite our revelations to you, purify you, teach you the scripture and wisdom, and to teach you what you never knew.

[19:13] And (we endowed him with) kindness from us and purity, for he was righteous.

In verse 19:13, it seems that zakatan means purity. It seems that Zakat purifies our income and our soul.

Zakat also helps provide resources to those who need it and thus promotes social justice. It also seems that giving Zakat can be an act of compassion and kindness if done righteously (2:263-264).

[24:22] Those among you who are blessed with resources and wealth shall be charitable towards their relatives, the poor, and those who have immigrated for the sake of GOD. They shall treat them with kindness and tolerance; do you not love to attain GOD's forgiveness? GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

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