Bathe Yourself with Money!by Muhammad Alshareef
Have you ever seen someone run out of the masjid immediately after
salah. In fact, the imam may barely have said salam, and this person is
already standing up, getting ready to take off (you may have seen this
after the Jumu’ah prayers). When we see someone in such haste, we know
that there is some affair that pre-occupied the brother or sister and
that haste is indeed a weighty matter.
But now let’s ask ourselves a question: who amongst us would
jump like that because we delayed the paying of a voluntary sadaqah?
Who? It is the most God-fearing person who would do so - RasulAllah sal
Allaahu alayhi wa sallam.
In Saheeh Bukhari, Uqbah radi Allahu anhu narrates, “I offered
the 'Asr prayer behind the Prophet in Madinah. When he had finished the
prayer with tasleem, he got up hurriedly and went out by crossing the
rows of the people to one of the dwellings of his wives. The people got
scared at his speed. The Prophet came back and found the people
surprised at his haste and said to them, ‘I remembered a piece of gold
lying in my house and I disliked for it to divert my attention from
Allah's worship, so I have ordered it to be distributed (in charity).’”
If RasulAllah sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam attached such
importance to sadaqah, voluntary charity, then what about zakah, one of
the five pillars of Islam?
In the year before the Farewell Hajj, RasulAllah sal Allaahu
alayhi wa sallam sent a group of Muslims on Hajj with Abu Bakr as their
ameer. There were still some mushrikeen performing Hajj in Makkah, and
some of them were circumambulating the Ka’bah naked. Abu Bakr’s
mission, radi Allahu anhu, was to prepare Makkah for the Hajj of
RasulAllah sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam.
Allah’s Messenger sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam sent Surah
Bara’ah (also known as Surah Taubah), the 9th surah in the Qur’an,
along with Abu Bakr, instructing him that it was to be recited to all
those performing the Hajj that year. Ali ibn Abee Talib was given the
task of announcing the surah due to his position amongst the Quraysh.
The surah, begins as follows:
(This is a declaration of) Disassociation, from Allah and His
Messenger, to those with whom you had made a treaty among the
mushrikeen (the polytheists) (At-Tauba 9/1).
Remember, the Qur’an was the Islamic state’s declaration of
legislation. Ali ibn Abee Talib radi Allahu anhu continued to recite
until he reached the words of Allah:
But if they repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, then they are your brothers in religion (At-Tauba 9/11).
In other words, it was not sufficient for them to simply
repent; it was also compulsory for them to establish salah and zakah,
and then only could they be considered to be within the brotherhood of
Bukhari and Muslim report that Jaabir ibn Abdullaah radi
Allahu anhu said, “I pledged allegiance to the Prophet sal Allahu
alayhi wa sallam in that I would establish the salah, undertake the
giving of zakah, and that I would give naseehah (advice) to every
After the death of RasulAllah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, the ummah
was faced with some who claimed prophethood, men with huge tribes
waiting to fight the Muslims. Then, to a lesser degree, there were
tribes who still professed to be Muslim, but who had a ‘problem’ with
The ummah needed to take action. While some of the Sahabaa
felt that they should just leave the ‘we-are-Muslim-minus-zakah’
people, and focus on the armies instead, Abu Bakr radi Allahu anhu
disagreed. “I swear by Allah,” he said, “I shall go to war and fight
anyone who attempts to separate salah from zakah!”
Upon hearing this, Umar radi Allahu anhu commented, “By Allah, at the
moment when I saw that Allah had opened the heart of Abu Bakr to this
war, I knew that it was the truth.”
Allah made the giving of zakah on the wealth of believer
compulsory for him as a test of his sincerity. The believer has full
conviction that it is fard and knows that zakah is the third pillar of
Islam, and not merely a virtuous option. Without zakah the deen of a
believer will collapse.
The believer delivers his zakah with an open heart, thanking and
praising Allah for His bounty and for the very tawfeeq of being able to
perform his duty.
So while others bathe their bodies daily, it is possible for us to bathe our hearts with money. How? Zakah.
In Arabic, the word zakah carries the connotation of
cleanliness – to purify. In Shari’ah, zakah deals with the wealth Allah
gave to His servants. It is the fard percentage one must impart to whom
it is due.
Allah ta’aala teaches us the virtue of zakah in the following ayah:
Take (O Muhammad) from their wealth a charity by which it purifies them and causes them increase (At-Tauba 9/103).
How do zakah and voluntary charity cleanse a person?
1. By cleansing the heart from the diseases of hypocrisy and doubt.
2. By cleansing the heart from the disease of stinginess.
3. By bathing the remaining wealth with barakah.
4. By bathing the good character of the one giving and increasing his or her wealth.
As Rasul Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Charity never decreases wealth.”
“If I win a million dollars I’ll give half to the masjid!” Ever
heard that du’a before? Allah ta’aala teaches us that the nature of
humans is to attach themselves to coins of gold and silver. In fact,
they pray day and night for it. In their prayers, they promise that if
they are indeed blessed with the wealth, they will be unselfish with
that gift. But when a test befalls them, they turn their backs:
And among them are those who made a covenant with Allah,
(saying), “If He should give us from His bounty, we will surely spend
in charity, and we will surely be among the righteous.” But when He
gave them from His bounty, they were stingy with it and turned away
while they refused. So He penalized them with hypocrisy in their hearts
until the Day they will meet Him - because they failed Allah in what
they promised Him and because they (habitually) used to lie (At-Tauba
Yayha ibn Mu’adh rahimahullah commented, “I have always been
amazed at someone who has wealth, yet is stingy. His Lord, who gave the
wealth to him, requests that he loan part of it to Him and the stingy
man says, ‘No.’”
Zakah is an obligation connected to wealth. When someone
delays the paying of zakah, that obligation directly chains itself to
the individual’s neck. In order for them to repent, they must give what
Allah made obligatory upon them.
RasulAllah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam taught us that when a
people hoard wealth and do not give the zakah, they will be afflicted
with a famine:
“There was never a people that refused to give zakah except that Allah afflicted them with famine” (Bayhaqi).
He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, warned us of stinginess because of the destruction it brings:
“Beware of stinginess for verily those who came before you were destroyed because of it” (Abu Dawood).
And on the Day of Resurrection, the zakah that was not paid will be a means of punishment for the individual:
And let not those who (greedily) withhold what Allah has given
them of His bounty ever think that it is better for them. Rather, it is
worse for them. Their necks will be encircled by what they withheld on
the Day of Resurrection (A’le-Imran 3/180).
In Sahih Muslim, Abu Hurayrah radi Allahu anhu narrates that RasulAllah, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:
“If any owner of gold or silver does not pay what is due on
him, on the Day of Resurrection, plates of fire shall be molded out for
him and heated in the fire of Hell. With it, his sides, his forehead
and his back will be cauterized and branded. When the plates cool, (the
process) will be repeated for a day whose extent is fifty thousand
years. Then judgment will be pronounced amongst the servants, and he
shall see whether his path is to take him to Paradise or to Hell.”
The following is a list of items on which one has to pay zakah:
• Capital goods
• Fruits and other crops
• Buried treasures
In a world where most of us do not live a farmer’s life, we should pay special attention to paying zakah on the following:
• Monetary savings
• Gold - according to some scholars, zakah should be paid on gold, including collections of bridal gold.
• Business inventory - If someone owns a store (as many
families do) and they have items in storage waiting to be sold, they
need to pay zakah on those items. Additionally, it is very common for
some families to purchase something in bulk and store it in their homes
to be sold at a later date. One must pay zakah on these items also.
• Additional homes one may own with the intention to wait for them to increase in value and then sell them.
Abdullah ibn Mas’ood radi Allahu anhu said, “Store your wealth
where no worms will eat it, where it cannot be reached by thieves.
Store it in sadaqah.”
Umm Al-Mu’mineen Aisha radi Allahu anha once met a poor woman
who was with her two daughters. Aisha radi Allahu anha gave her three
dates. The woman gave each of the daughters one date and took one for
herself. She was about to eat the date when one of her daughters
expressed the desire to eat her date. She immediately shared the date
among her daughters. This kind treatment impressed Aisha radi Allahu
anha, and she related the whole incident to RasulAllah sal Allahu
alayhi wa sallam. After listening to the whole story, RasulAllah sal
Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, "Verily, Allah has assured Paradise for
her because of this act or has rescued her from the fire of Hell."
Indeed, not only are we giving zakah and sadaqah to cleanse ourselves; we do so in order to protect ourselves from Hellfire.
When it’s time for the individual to pay zakah each year, he
usually asks the imam: “We don’t know of any poor people in our area,
can we send the zakah money overseas?” Contemplate this for a moment.
Are there really no needy people in our communities? Of course there
are. And if year after year the zakah is sent overseas, who will ever
take care of the local needy people?
The general principle of zakah is that the first option is to
give it to the needy of the locality. As RasulAllah sal Allahu alayhi
wa sallam instructed Mu’adh when he sent him to Yemen, “If they obey
you in that (in the Shahadah and then the salah), then let them know
Allah has made obligatory upon them zakah in their wealth to be taken
from their rich and to be given to their needy.” The use of the word
“their” indicates the needy from within that community.
What we need to do is to actively go out there and find these
people within our communities; find out how we can make a difference in
their lives. In doing so we will strengthen our communities, and as our
communities grow stronger, they will have the strength to assist others
around the world.
When governments have a budget surplus (doesn’t happen too often),
interest groups fight tooth and nail arguing who gets the money. But
with zakah, Allah ta’aala divided it Himself. No human being can decide
for zakah money to be given to other than those whom Allah has
The commonly known recipients of zakah are the poor and needy.
However, we should also remember that there are other potentially
fruitful avenues wherein we can invest our zakah money.
The first of these is al-mu’allafat quloobuhum, or those whose hearts
are very near to accepting Islam – if we became serious and strong in
our da’wah efforts, we could use the zakah money to bring people’s
hearts closer to the message of la ilaaha illAllah Muhammad ur
Secondly, zakah money can be used for al-riqaab, or the
freeing of slaves. How does this apply to us? Well as the ‘ulama have
mentioned, here in the USA, the Patriot Act ‘detainees’ who have been
imprisoned for no crime other than fitting a certain racial profile are
also eligible for zakah in terms of this category. This makes sense
considering that a solid legal defense costs hundreds of thousands of
dollars. So a legal fund can be established using zakah money, in order
to assist in defending the rights of our brothers and sisters who are
Zakah can also be used to assist the ghaarimeen (those in debt). In
order words, this money can be used to free them from the shackles of
debt. Consider the following facts about debt in America:
• The average credit card balance is about $7,000.
• The average interest rate is nearly 19%.
• Late fees are now $25 or higher.
• The average household has 10 credit cards.
• Almost half the households in America report having
difficulty paying their minimum monthly payments, thus making
bankruptcy seem unavoidable.
• Last year over 1.3 million Americans filed for bankruptcy, the highest in our nation’s history.
• Credit card companies solicit the average American 7 times a year through the mail.
• The average credit card balance would take 25 years to repay if paying the minimum monthly payment.
Indeed, it is an amazingly powerful thing for one’s community
members to be out of debt. When they are out of debt, they become
active contributors in the community and everyone benefits. However a
word of caution here – zakah money should not be used to pay off vain
Stock traders often listen with attentive ears to stock tips about
where they should invest their money. How about a ‘Jannah Stock Tip’
for the Muslim community:
Our communities, alhamdulillah, are blessed communities that give
unselfishly. Zakah is often unfulfilled or hindered due to a lack of
education on the subject as well as the absence of a proper zakah
distribution system. All it takes to solve this is for one dedicated
leader to establish a zakah distribution network in his area. Just one
leader and all the zakah will reach those who need it.
If someone does this, all the reward will be theirs! Imagine
all the people who will benefit from this distribution network. The
pioneer who starts this zakah distribution will continue to reap the
rewards of it even after he or she passes away.
Certainly will the believers have succeeded – those who during
their prayer are humbly submissive / And those who turn away from ill
speech / And those who are observant of zakah (Al Mu’minoon 23/1-4). http://www.khutbah.com/en/salah_zakah/money.php