Obligatory Charity (Zakat);

Rizwan Ahmad wrote this article with the concept from Ijaz Chaudry.

In the Name of GOD Most Gracious, Most Merciful

You should ask yourself four questions when it comes to talking about the Obligatory Charity (Zakat), the same four questions I always ask my parents and elders are:

1) How much Zakat do you give?

2) When do you give Zakat?

3) Who do you give Zakat to?

4) Why should you give Zakat?

Question 1: How much Zakat do you give?

Many people in the world today, when asked how much Zakat they are supposed to give reply with 2.5% of what you earn.

According to the Quran, the amount is clear and concise to each and every reader, easy to understand and fair to all Believers,

[17:26]
You shall give the due alms to the relatives, the needy, the poor, and the travelling alien, but do not beexcessive, extravagant.

[17:27]
The extravagant are brethren of the devils, and the devil is unappreciative of his Lord.

[17:28]
Even if you have to turn away from them, as you pursue the mercy of your Lord, you shall treat them in the nicest manner.

[17:29]
You shall not keep your hand stingily tied to your neck, nor shall you foolishly open it up, lest you end up blamed and sorry.

[17:30]
For your Lord increases the provision for anyone He chooses, and reduces it. He is fully Cognizant of His creatures, Seer.

From the verses above it is clear that the Zakat is Not 2.5% instead it is what one can afford comfortably. These verses are very clear because of what they say, give, but in moderation, don’t be too stingy because the Human Being is stingy by nature, See Below for(17:100) , The verses above also state that don’t be too generous as (17:27) as an example says "The Extravagant are brethren of the devils....". In [17:28] it clarifies another scenario where if one cannot provide Zakat because of their financial situation one needs to refuse in nicest possible way to the recipient.

[17:100]
Proclaim, "If you possessed my Lord's treasures of mercy, you would have withheld them, fearing that you might exhaust them. The human being is stingy."

Below is another verse which says you should give in moderation, not too much, not too little.

[25:67]
When they give, they are neither extravagant nor stingy; they give in moderation.

Now one might ask a question regarding (17:26-30) and the question most likely would be how do we know if these verses are talking about Zakat or Obligatory charity? The answer would be the word “alms” mentioned in (17:26) is a big clue for confirming the fact that these verses are talking about Zakat. This same word is also used in (6:141) where the time of giving of Zakat is confirmed;

     Zakat Must Be Given "On The Day Of Harvest"

[6:141]  He is the One who established gardens, trellised and untrellised, and palm trees, and crops with different tastes, and olives, and pomegranate - fruits that are similar, yet dissimilar. Eat from their fruits, and give the due alms on the day of harvest, and do not waste anything. He does not love the wasters.

In general the word “alms” means giving in kind or charitable donation to the poor or needy, since Zakat is also a charity this word “alms” signifies Zakat.

Question 2: When do you give Zakat?

The majority of Muslims in this day and age give the Obligatory Charity (Zakat), perhaps once a year, even though they get pay cheques at the end of each month or even some get paid at the end of every week.

In Surah 6 Verse 141 below, it clearly says when you should give your "due alms", they should be given "on the day harvest".

[6:141]
He is the One who established gardens, trellised and un-trellised, and palm trees, and crops with different tastes, and olives, and pomegranate - fruits that are similar, yet dissimilar. Eat from their fruits, and give the due alms on the day of harvest, and do not waste
anything. He does not love the wasters.

So therefore, if a person gets paid at the end of every month, or gets paid at the end of every week, he/she should according to the Quran, give their Obligatory Charity on that day they receive their pay, because the day of harvest is when you get paid.

Question 3: Who do you give Zakat to?

According to the Quran; the verses below tell us that we should give our Obligatory Charity to "...relatives, needy, the poor, and the travelling alien...." [17:26]

[17:26]
You shall give the due alms to the relatives, the needy, the poor, and the travelling alien, but do not be excessive, extravagant.

The Quran is Fully Detailed,[6:38, 12:111, 10:37, 6:126, 7:52] and "... We have revealed to you this book to provide EXPLANATIONS FOR EVERYTHING, and guidance, and mercy and good news for the submitters." [16:89]

So therefore, by following the Quran, you are obeying GOD, Most Gracious and Most Merciful. As 6:114-115 below states:

"Shall I seek other than GOD as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book FULLY DETAILED? Those who received the scripture recognize that it has been revealed from your Lord, truthfully. You shall not harbour any doubt.

The word of your Lord is COMPLETE, in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His words. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient." [6:114-115]

From the above explanation, it is clear from the verses in the Quran, who we should give our Obligatory Charity (Zakat) to.

Question 4: Why do you give Zakat?

Some people could ask the question, "Why pay Obligatory Charity (Zakat)? - God is so rich, why doesn’t He provide for the poor?"

God knew that people would ask such questions as surah 36 verse 47 states:

[36:47]
When they are told, "Give from GOD's provisions to you," those who disbelieve say to those who believe, "Why should we give to those whom GOD could feed, if He so willed? You are really far astray."

They are astray because they do not understand a simple fact that what they have got is also from God and that it is a test that God is asking them to give to poor from the provision given to them from God.  It is quite easy for God to reverse their fortune with poverty than where will they go than.

Further giving the Obligatory Charity (Zakat), is one of the commandments God has given us to follow.

"...and keep the observance of Salat and Zakat, and lend to God a loan of righteousness. Whatever you advance for your souls, you will find at God better and multiplied many fold. And seek God's forgiveness; God is forgiving, merciful." [73:20]

[22:78]
You shall strive for the cause of GOD as you should strive for His cause. He has chosen you and has placed no hardship on you in practicing your religion - the religion of your father Abraham. He is the one who named you "Submitters" originally. Thus, the messenger shall
serve as a witness among you, and you shall serve as witnesses among the people. Therefore, you shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory
charity (Zakat), and hold fast to GOD; He is your Lord, the best Lord and the best Supporter.

Taking [73:20 and 22:78] mentioned above as examples, God has specifically told us through the Quran, what to do and what not to, so to ask such a question as "Why pay Obligatory Charity (Zakat)? - God is so rich, why doesn’t He provide for the poor?" is to doubt God's commandments and therefore doubt the Quran.

God has commanded us to follow the commandments for a reason, the reason being to save our souls. [2:90, 2:110, 4:63, 5:80] Mentioned here are only a few verses which keep stating those issues.

Another reason why we should be paying Zakat is mentioned in surah 6 Verse 165, God is testing us in this life. And making the Obligatory Charity (Zakat) a commandment is one of those tests set by God.

[6:165]
He is the One who made you inheritors of the earth, and He raised some of you above others in rank, in order to test you in accordance with what He has given you. Surely, your Lord is efficient in enforcing retribution, and He is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

Also in this life, the material things, such as money, property, clothes, food, is nothing compared to that of what is ahead in the hereafter. If we obey God’s Commandments, if we are righteous, give Obligatory Charity and believe in the revelations then it is we that will be able to experience all the good things God will provide for us in the hereafter.

"...material things are temporary ornaments if this world but the Hereafter is much better and everlasting."[43:33-35]

[43:33]
If it were not that all the people might become one (disbelieving) congregation, we would have granted everyone who disbelieves in the Most Gracious mansions with silver roofs, and stairs upon which they could climb.
[43:34]
Their mansions would have impressive gates, and luxurious furnishings.
[43:35]
Also many ornaments. All these are the temporary materials of this lowly life. The Hereafter - at your Lord - is far better for the righteous.

God has also mentioned that to those of you, who do lead a righteous life, give (Obligatory Charity) Zakat and believe in the revelations, that it is they who will obtain God’s mercy. [7:156]

[7:156]
"And decree for us righteousness in this world, and in the Hereafter. We have repented to You." He said, "My retribution befalls whomever I will. But My mercy encompasses all things. However, I will specify it for those who (1) lead a righteous life, (2) give the obligatory charity (Zakat), (3) believe in our revelations, and Those of you who keep rejecting Gods revelations will be the losers.

[3:70]
O followers of the scripture, why do you reject these revelations of GOD though you bear witness (that this is the truth)?

[3:98]
Say, "O followers of the scripture, why do you reject these revelations of GOD, when GOD is witnessing everything you do?"

[4:39]
Why do they not believe in GOD and the Last Day, and give from GOD's provisions to them? GOD is fully aware of them.

[10:31]
Say, "Who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? Who controls all the hearing and the eyesight? Who produces the living from the dead, and the dead from the
living? Who is in control of all things?" They would say,"GOD." Say, "Why then do you not observe the commandments?

Conclusion;

To summarise According to the Quran:

How much Zakat do you give?

- [25:67]
When they give, they are neither extravagant nor stingy; they give in moderation.

When do you give Zakat?

- [6:141]
He is the One who established gardens, trellised and un-trellised, and palm trees, and crops with different tastes, and olives, and pomegranate - fruits that are similar, yet dissimilar. Eat from their fruits, and give the due alms on the day of harvest, and do not waste
anything. He does not love the wasters.

Who do you give Zakat to?

- [17:26]
You shall give the due alms to the relatives, the needy, the poor, and the travelling alien, but do not be excessive, extravagant.

Why should you give Zakat?

- [73:20]
"...and keep the observance of Salat and Zakat, and lend to God a loan of righteousness. Whatever you advance for your souls, you will find at God better and multiplied many fold. And seek God's forgiveness; God is forgiving, merciful."