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Rights of Wealth

Allah (Ta’ala) has made the wealth a means of livelihood for the people. He (T’ala) also permitted us to enjoy the wealth moderately and made extravagance unlawful. Allah (Ta’ala) says:

وَڪُلُواْ وَٱشۡرَبُواْ وَلَا تُسۡرِفُوٓاْ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُسۡرِفِينَ (الأعراف: ٣١(

Translation of Meaning:

And eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allâh) likes not Al-Musrifûn (those who waste by extravagance). (Al-Aaraf: 31)

Allah (Ta’ala) made unlawful to gather the wealth unless it serves an interest of the person, and dispraised the stinginess, for stinginess does not serve people’s interests and it rather increases people’s problems. Allah (Ta’ala) says:

ٱلَّذِينَ يَبۡخَلُونَ وَيَأۡمُرُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ بِٱلۡبُخۡلِ وَيَڪۡتُمُونَ مَآ ءَاتَٮٰهُمُ ٱللَّهُ مِن فَضۡلِهِۦ‌ۗ وَأَعۡتَدۡنَا لِلۡڪَـٰفِرِينَ عَذَابً۬ا مُّهِينً۬ا (النساء: ٣٧(

Translation of Meaning:

Those who are miserly and enjoin miserliness on other men and hide what Allâh has bestowed upon them of His Bounties. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a disgraceful torment. (An-Nisa: 37)

Zakat is obligatory in a specified amount of wealth with specific conditions.  Zakat is collected from the wealthy and distributed among the poor. Islam has prescribed method of distribution of zakat and its lawful recipients. Allah (Ta’ala) says:

 ٱلصَّدَقَـٰتُ لِلۡفُقَرَآءِ وَٱلۡمَسَـٰكِينِ وَٱلۡعَـٰمِلِينَ عَلَيۡہَا وَٱلۡمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُہُمۡ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَٱلۡغَـٰرِمِينَ وَفِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱبۡنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ‌ۖ فَرِيضَةً۬ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَڪِيمٌ۬ (التوبة: ٦٠(

Translation of Meaning:

As-Sadaqât (here it means Zakât) are only for the Fuqarâ’ (poor), and Al-Masâkin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islâm); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allâh’s Cause (i.e. for Mujâhidûn – those fighting in the holy battle), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allâh. And Allâh is All-Knower, All-Wise. (At-Taubah: 60)

Shari’ah has specified those items in which zakat is obligatory and specified the amount of zakat of each category. These are as under:  Monetary items (gold and silver), cattle (camel, cow, buffalo, sheep and goats etc.), agriculture and commercial goods, and ores (means that which is extracted from earth such as petrol, minerals etc.).

Zakat is an epitome of Muslims’ unity and collectiveness. Collectiveness is a key purpose among the purposes of Islam. Allah’s Messenger (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

‏”‏ مثل المؤمنين في توادهم وتراحمهم وتعاطفهم، مثل الجسد إذا اشتكى منه عضو تداعى له سائر الجسد بالسهر والحمى” ‏(‏‏(‏متفق عليه‏)‏‏)‏ ‏.‏


“The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever”. (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

Likewise, if a Muslim suffers from some kind of calamity especially if such calamity is caused by the disbelievers, all members of the Muslim community should become restless and strive to address the problem.

Zakat serves as a means of increase of love among Muslims, for it purifies the wealth of a wealthy person, saves it from loss and creates a sense of responsibility for the poor among the Muslim community. Zakat helps the poor fulfill their needs and alleviates the problems and difficulties from their lives. In addition, it is a method of giving thanks to Allah (Ta’ala) on His blessings.

Payment of Zakat contributes to putting an end to gravest moral diseases of the society such as hate, jealousy, hatred, malice etc, for these evils cause damage to individuals and society. If the zakat is insufficient to fulfill the needs of people, an amount of wealth shall be taken from the wealthy peoples’ wealth to fulfill the basic needs of the poor so that they are safe from fear. In such case the amount of zakat shall be specified in a way sufficient to fulfill their needs. Allah’s Messenger SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam said:

“‏ إِنَّ فِي الْمَالِ حَقًّا سِوَى الزَّكَاةِ ‏”‏


“Indeed there is a duty on wealth aside from Zakat.”

Then he (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) recited this aayah:

لَّيۡسَ ٱلۡبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمۡ قِبَلَ ٱلۡمَشۡرِقِ وَٱلۡمَغۡرِبِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱلۡبِرَّ مَنۡ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ وَٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕڪَةِ وَٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ وَٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ وَءَاتَى ٱلۡمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِۦ ذَوِى ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ وَٱلۡيَتَـٰمَىٰ وَٱلۡمَسَـٰكِينَ وَٱبۡنَ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَٱلسَّآٮِٕلِينَ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتَى ٱلزَّڪَوٰةَ وَٱلۡمُوفُونَ بِعَهۡدِهِمۡ إِذَا عَـٰهَدُواْ‌ۖ وَٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ فِى ٱلۡبَأۡسَآءِ وَٱلضَّرَّآءِ وَحِينَ ٱلۡبَأۡسِ‌ۗ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ ٱلَّذِينَ صَدَقُواْ‌ۖ وَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُتَّقُونَ (البقرة: ١٧٧(. (الترمذي)


It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, and each and every act of obedience to Allâh, etc.) that you turn your faces towards east and (or) west (in prayers); but Al-Birr is (the quality of) the one who believes in Allâh, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, the Prophets and gives his wealth, in spite of love for it, to the kinsfolk, to the orphans, and to Al-Masâkin (the poor), and to the wayfarer, and to those who ask, and to set slaves free, performs As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and gives the Zakât, and who fulfill their covenant when they make it, and who are patient in extreme poverty and ailment (disease) and at the time of fighting (during the battles). Such are the people of the truth and they are Al¬Muttaqûn (pious). (Al-Baqarah:177)  (Tirmizi).

Scholars are unanimous on the subject that if there befalls a calamity such as an enemy strikes a Muslim country and the government is unable to confront the enemy, then all the wealthy people of the Muslim community are obliged to give an amount of their wealth which is sufficient to mobilize a military force to confront the enemy, even if they had already paid the zakat. Imam Malik (Rahimahullah) said “people are obliged to free their prisoners even if they are to lose all their wealth.