Concept of Zakat according to Quran
Charity, Uncategorized

What is the concept of Zakat according to Quran?

Zakat, an integral pillar of Islam, holds profound significance in the lives of Muslims. Its meaning extends beyond mere financial transactions, encompassing social responsibility and compassion. 

For woe to those who associate gods with God, those who do not give the Zakat-Charity, those who are disbelievers in the Hereafter. (Sûrat Fuṣṣilat 41:7)

Zakat Meaning and Importance:

Zakat, derived from the Arabic root “z-k-w,” means purification and growth. In Islam, it refers to the mandatory almsgiving or charitable contributions that financially capable Muslims are obligated to give to those in need. Zakat is not just a monetary transaction; rather, it symbolizes purification of wealth and a demonstration of social responsibility.

The Quran emphasizes the importance of Zakat in numerous verses, intertwining it with the concept of social justice and economic equality.

Surah Al-Baqarah (2:267-273) highlights the transformative power of Zakat, both for the giver and the receiver. It acts as a means of redistributing wealth, fostering empathy, and building a harmonious society. According to Quran sayings:

Yet you shall duly establish the Prayer. And you shall give the Zakât-Charity, and therewith lend God a most goodly loan. For whatever good you advance for your souls, you shall find its reward with God in the Hereafter; yet it shall be far better and much greater in reward (Sûrat Al-Muzzammil, 73:20).

Non-Purely Transactional Nature in the Quran:

While Zakat involves financial transactions, its scope extends beyond mere monetary exchanges. The Quran provides a holistic view of Zakat, intertwining it with broader ethical and moral principles. The act of giving Zakat is considered an expression of faith, reflecting one’s commitment to social justice and compassion.

 إِنَّمَا ٱلصَّدَقَـٰتُ لِلْفُقَرَآءِ وَٱلْمَسَـٰكِينِ وَٱلْعَـٰمِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَٱلْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَٱلْغَـٰرِمِينَ وَفِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱبْنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ ۖ فَرِيضَةًۭ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌۭ ٦٠

“Zakāh expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it1 and for bringing hearts together [for Islām] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allāh and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allāh. And Allāh is Knowing and Wise.” Surah At-Taubah (9:60) outlines the eight categories of people eligible to receive Zakat, including the poor, needy, and those in debt. The Quranic injunctions highlight that Zakat is not solely about financial transactions but aims to address systemic issues of poverty and inequality. It promotes a sense of community and interconnectedness, discouraging the accumulation of wealth at the expense of societal welfare.

Zakat serves as a reminder that economic prosperity should be shared, and the well-being of the community depends on collective responsibility. It encourages Muslims to actively engage in philanthropy, fostering a sense of empathy and solidarity within the Ummah.

Why Allah use the Arabic word Zakat for this obligatory alms?

Arabic word “Zakat” for obligatory alms in Islam signifies, according to Al-Wâḥidî, an increase in wealth when given to rightful recipients. It implies a divine investment and trust placed by Allah on believers, akin to managing wealth for the greater good. Zakat is seen as a protective measure for wealth, safeguarding it from dissipation or destruction. The term is likened to a bond or trust, emphasizing the spiritual and contractual connection between the giver, wealth, and divine designees. This interpretation underscores Zakat as more than a financial transaction, highlighting its cyclical nature of giving, increasing blessings, and fulfilling a sacred trust designated by Allah.

The Prophet said, in this regard:

A person’s obligatory alms do not remain mixed with his other wealth without obliterating it” (Bukhari)

Does the Quran point to Zakat as a standard of evaluation for institutions as well as individuals?

Allah outlines in the Quran that just and fair governments are those that utilize their societal positions and power to systematically collect obligatory alms from the affluent and redistribute it to those in need. In essence, equitable leaders follow the prescribed mechanisms of mandatory charity to address the inherent imbalances within human communities. This signifies a divine endorsement for governments and leaders to actively engage in the organized distribution of wealth, ensuring a more just and balanced society as per Allah’s guidance.

These are the ones who when We set them in authority over the land, they duly establish the Prayer, and give the Zakat-Charity, and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. Yet to God alone belongs the ultimate end of all affairs (Sûrat Al-Ḥajj, 22:41).

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