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14.  Payment of Zakaat
Hayaatul Muslimeen(Life of Muslims) 
14.  Payment of Zakaat
The wealthy are obliged to pay Zakaat. This too, like Salaat, is a fundamental of Islam. Numerous Qur'aanic aayaat command the payment of Zakaat and extol the virtues of Zakaat while warning of the dire punishment for refraining from paying Zakaat. There are numerous such Aayaat, which mention Zakaat along with Salaat. It is simple to locate these verses in the Qur'aan Shareef. Here only Ahadith pertaining to Zakaat will be narrated.

1. Hadhrat Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

"Zakaat is the Bridge of Islam..." (Tibraani, Ausat)

Those who do not pay Zakaat are therefore comparable to those who are stranded, having no bridge to cross. The great rank and fundamental importance of Zakaat are apparent from this hadith.

2. Hadhrat Saabir (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
"The one who pays Zakaat on his wealth, has purified his wealth." (Tibraani, Ausat, Ibn Khuzaimah)

Impurities, which have accumulated in one's wealth, are eliminated by Zakaat, hence the wealth is purified. It should be clear that wealth, the Zakaat of which has not been paid, is shorn of barkat.

3. Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
"Whoever among you believe in Allah and His Rasool, must pay Zakaat on his wealth." (Tibraani, Kabeer)

This illustrates that Imaan is weakened by not paying Zakaat.

4. Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Mu'aawiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
"There are three deeds; whoever practices them will taste the sweetness of Imaan. (These are) Render ibaadat unto only Allah believing that none besides Allah is worthy of ibaadat; pay Zakaat on wealth wholeheartedly..."

In this hadith Zakaat is coupled along with Tauheed. This brings out the significance and elevated rank of the institution of Zakaat. The effect of paying Zakaat wholeheartedly as stated in the hadith is increase in experiencing the pleasure or sweetness of Imaan.

5. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasullullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
"Whoever owned gold and silver (i.e. wealth), but did nor pay Zakaat thereon, will be punished with his gold and silver on that Day, the duration of which will be fifty thousand years (the Day of Qiyaamah).

His gold and silver will be made into sheets and heated in Jahannum. His sides, forehead and back will then be branded with the heated sheets of gold and silver. When the sheets cool, they will again be heated and he will thus be punished continuously." (Bukhaari, Muslim)

6. Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
"In the wealth of rich Muslims the amount which is sufficient for the poor among the Muslims has been made obligatory. The hardships of the poor regarding food and garments are because of the deeds of the wealthy (i.e. their refusal to pay proper Zakaat). Beware! Allah Ta'ala will demand a stern reckoning from them and mete out a painful punishment." (Tibraani, Ausat, Sagheer)

In another hadith which further explains the above hadith, it is said that the poor on the day of Qiyaamah will complain to Allah Ta'ala that the wealthy did not discharge 'our' (the poor's) rights, which Allah Ta'ala ordained as obligatory. Allah Ta'ala will then reply:

"I take oath by My Grandeur and Might that I will grant you proximity to Me and remove them (the wealthy) far from Me." (Tibraani, Sagheer, Ausat)

7, Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas'ood (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates:
"We have been commanded to establish Salaat and Zakaat. Whoever does not pay Zakaat, his Salaat too is not accepted." (Tibraani, Isbahaani)

In another narration, Hadhrat Ibn Mas'ood (radhiyallahu anhu) said:
"He who establishes Salaat (performs it regularly) but does not pay Zakaat is not a true Muslim. His good deeds do not benefit him,"

'This should not be understood to mean that such people (those who fail in Zakaat) should not perform Salaat. Neglect of Salaat is a sin apart from failure to pay Zakaat. The hadith merely means that one should not be neglectful in the discharge of such an important and fundamental ibaadat as Zakaat. Like being steadfast in Salaat so too, should one be steadfast in Zakaat.

8. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
"On the Day of Qiyaamah, the wealth of one who did not pay Zakaat will be converted into a monstrous and deadly poisonous serpent which will be strung around the neck of this person. The serpent will bite at the jaws of this person and exclaim: `I am your wealth; I am your treasure.' " (Bukhaari, Nisaai)

In affirmation of this claim, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) recited the following Qur'aanic aayat:

This aayat refers to the wealth being made into a garland, which will be hung around the neck of the one who did not pay Zakaat.

9. Ammarah Bin Haram (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
"Besides 'Laa ila ha illallah', Allah Ta'ala has decreed another four things compulsory. If he fulfills three, it will not fully benefit him as long as he does not discharge all four. These four are: Salaat, Zakaat, Fasting in Ramadhaan and Hajj of Baitullah Shareef." (Ahmad)

From this hadith we learn that for salvation it is essential that all four compulsory acts be practiced. If one performs Salaat, fasts and performs Hajj, but does not pay Zakaat, it will not be sufficient for salvation (i.e. to be saved totally from the punishment of the Fire).

10. Hadhrat Anas Bin Malik (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
"The one who fails to pay Zakaat wilt enter the Fire on the Day of Qiyaamah." (Tibraani, Sagheer)

11. Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
"Salaat is a conspicuous act observable to all, hence it is rendered while Zakaat is inconspicuous (being hidden), hence it is devoured (i.e. withheld from the poor). Such people are hypocrites." (Bazzaaz)

This hadith means that some people perform Salaat, not for the sake of Allah Ta'ala, but because people will hold them in contempt. Such people do not pay Zakaat because they know that people are not aware of their failure to render this obligation. Such is the attitude of the Munafiqeen.

12. Hadhrat Bareedah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
"Allah Ta'ala afflicts famine on a community which does not pay Zakaat." (Tibraani, Haakim, Baihaqi)

In another similar narration it is said that Allah Ta'ala withholds rain from such people.

13. Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
"Zakaat will destroy the wealth in which it is." (Bazzaaz, Baihaqi)

The meaning of wealth in which there is Zakaat, is such wealth on which Zakaat is obligatory, but from which Zakaat has not been taken out. As a consequence of not paying Zakaat, one's wealth is steadily depleted by way of Allah Ta'ala removing the barakaat from the wealth.

l4. Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
"Wealth is generally lost on the land and the sea because Zakaat has not been paid on it." (Tibraani, Ausat)

This does not mean that wealth is lost or destroyed only because Zakaat has not been paid on it. If wealth is lost inspite of Zakaat having been paid, it should not be regarded as a loss since, the reward for it will be obtained in the Aakhirah. Such loss is occasioned by the Wisdom of Allah Ta'ala and is in the interests of its owner. But, wealth lost as a result of not paying Zakaat is a punishment. There is no reward for sustaining such loss.

15. Hadhrat Asma Bint Yazeed (radhiyallahu anha) narrates that she and her aunt visited Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). They were wearing some gold jewellery at the time. When Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) enquired from them if they had paid Zakaat on the gold, they replied in the negative. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
"What! Have you no fear that Allah Ta'ala will put on you jewels of fire? Pay its Zakaat." (Ahmad)

The following facts are clear from the aforegoing narrations:
- Zakaat is Fardh.
-The significance of Zakaat is very great.
- Failure to pay Zakaat results in calamity and misfortune settling over   one. The calamity here on earth is depletion of wealth, elimination of barkat, famine, etc. The calamity in the Aakhirah for not paying Zakaat is the Fire of Jahannum.

- One who does not pay Zakaat is comparable to a Munaafiq,

- Zakaat has a resemblance to Huququl Ibad (i.e. rights of people). Thus, it is an emphasised ibaadat.
Gold and silver, be these in whatever form; in the form of cash, notes, jewellery, utensils (although it is haraam to use utensils of gold and silver), etc.
Stock-in-trade, i.e. goods purchased with the intention of reselling.
Farm-produce on Ushri lands.
Among the causes of the hardship of Muslims is also poverty. Zakaat is an adequate remedy for the alleviation of poverty. If Muslims abstain from extravagance and pay their Zakaat in full, there will not remain a single destitute person among the Muslims. The statements of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) are ample testimony for this claim.

Like all acts of ibaadat, there are numerous Masa'il (rules) pertaining to Zakaat. The knowledge of such rules has to be acquired from the Ulama or from reliable books on the subject.
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