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Charity (Zakah) as given in the Noble Quran


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Zeynab
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« on: December 24, 2009, 02:23:11 am »

A staunch Hadith follower, who thinks that the Quran does not give any details about zakah or charity except for telling us to pay it, asked me to answer his following questions on zakah with evidence from the Quran. 

Quote:
"How much you pay zakat? and when? How much the amount of money to pay zakat. And If the parents are poor you can pay Zakat to them or not? give an evidence from the Koran"
Unquote:

He apparently took it for granted that none of the above is mentioned in the Quran, and neither did he ever reflect over the reasons of those issues that may not be mentioned. 

Please check my response to perceive his lack of knowledge about the Quran.  With all due respect to him, his query is a clear evidence that this person has barely read the Quran, even though he considers himself knowledgeable.

---------

The traditional view is that the Quran states nothing about Zakah except that it must be given.  But in reality, Allah Almighty has detailed every aspect of Zakah in the Quran which He considers necessary.

I will start by discussing who deserves charity (zakah), the importance of niyyah (intention), a few other Quranic issues on zakah, and finally I'll take up aspect concerning the amount of charity (zakah) to be given with evidence from the Quran.  Finally, I will also include the Hadith discrepancy on this issue.

First of all, let's be clear that charity or zakah is a commandment of Allah Almighty which has been coming down from the times of earlier Prophets until the time of our final Messenger (peace on them all).

After mentioning about Prophet Abraham and other Prophets, Allah says in the Quran :

"And We made them chiefs who guide by Our command, and We inspired in them the doing of good deeds and the right establishment of worship and the giving of alms, and they were worshippers of Us (alone)."  (21:73)  Surah Al-Anbiya

Whom must be given charity to:

"They ask you, (O Muhammad), what they shall spend. Say: That which you spend for good (must go) to parents and near kindred and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer. And whatsoever good you do, lo!  Allah is Aware {Al-'Alim} of it "   (2:215)
 
From the above verse it's clear that if parents are in need, we definitely must begin our charity by financially supporting them.  This means, zakah or charity must be given to parents if they are poor.  Other categories of needy people who deserve charity include near relatives, orphans, poor people (who are not necessarily related to us) and the traveler who is in need.  All this has been very plainly elucidated by Allah Almighty in the above verse 2:215.
 
Besides this, there are others who deserve charity or zakah as well.  Please continue reading.

"(Alms are) for the poor who are straitened for the cause of Allah, who cannot travel in the land (for trade). The unthinking man accounts them wealthy because of their restraint. You shall know them by their mark: They do not beg of men with importunity. And whatsoever good thing you spend, lo! Allah knows it."  (2:273)
 
"The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is knower, Wise."  (9:60)


"those whose hearts are to be reconciled" primarily refers to the new converts to Al-Islam after the conquest of Mecca.  Everything else in the above two verses are very simple to understand about the recipients of charity.  I don't think an explanation is necessary.

Zakah for farm produce must be given on the day of the harvest as per the orders of Allah Almighty:
 
"He it is Who produces gardens trellised and untrellised, and the date-palm, and crops of divers flavor, and the olive and the pomegranate, like and unlike. Eat you of the fruit thereof when it fruits, and pay the due thereof upon the harvest day, and be not prodigal. Lo! Allah loves not the prodigals."  (6:141)

While spending on charity or zakah, our niyyah or intention is very important :


Apparently, niyyah is much more important than the precise amount one spends.
Charity must be given humbly, and not with pride and arrogance.  While giving charity we must not think we are doing a favor to the recipient.  The would simply negate the good purpose of charity.
 
"Those who spend their wealth for the cause of Allah and afterward make not reproach and injury to follow that which they have spent; their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them, neither shall they grieve." (2:262)
 
"O you who believe! Render not vain your alms giving by reproach and injury, like him who spends his wealth only to be seen of men and believes not in Allah and the Last Day."  (2:264)


If a person cannot afford to pay charity, then let them excuse themselves with polite words:
 
"A kind word with forgiveness is better than almsgiving followed by injury. Allah is Absolute, Clement."  (2:263)

By reading the above verses, it is clear that what's much more important than the amount we pay as charity is our intention or niyyah.  A person may spend millions on charity.  But if they spend it only as a ritual or to make a show of their wealth, power or social status with little or not thoughts of Allah and no sympathy in their hearts for the needy except rudeness and hurtful words, then their so-called generosity by spending millions will not carry any blessings in the Sight of Allah.  On the other hand, if a financially straightened person living in a fixed budget spends as charity only a few dollars (because he cannot afford more) with a heart full of love and devotion for Allah and compassion for the needy, surely that will be a lot more acceptable in the Sight of Allah.

Allah Almighty likes it more if charity is given secretly or in private:

If we give charity openly, but with good intent, it's alright.  But the following verse provides evidence that if charity or zakah is spent silently, without making a show of it, Allah appreciates that more.
 
"If you publish your almsgiving, it is well, but if you hide it and give it to the poor, it will be better for you, and will atone for some of your ill deeds. Allah is Informed of what you do."  (2:271)

Allah also says that charity (zakah) must be paid in times of ease as well as hardship:
 
"Those who spend (of that which Allah has given them) in ease and in adversity, those who control their wrath and are forgiving toward mankind; Allah loves the good;"  (3:134)
 
"Adversity" = hard or difficult times.

HOW MUCH TO SPEND AS CHARITY (ZAKAH) AS IN THE NOBLE QURAN:

The specific amount to be spent as charity is NOT given in the Quran because of a very VALID REASON.  We must keep in mind that Allah NEVER forgets anything.  The reason why the exact amount of charity is not stated is very obvious and simple to understand.  Everyone does not have the same financial  means and for this reason Allah has kept the amount open so that everyone can give according to their means.  He is always Merciful and Kind, and He never makes His rules hard for humankind to follow.  The following verse of the Noble Quran, which is very comprehensive (Alhamdulilah) makes it ample clear that Allah Almighty does NOT intend to fix the amount for charity and therefore leaves it upto the people to decide how much every individual they can afford to pay.  I repeat, that's because Allah does not want to impose hardships on anyone.
 
"And they ask you what they ought to spend. Say: That which is superfluous. Thus Allah makes plain to you (His) revelations, that haply {by chance} you may reflect "  (2:219)

"superfluous," that is, 'additional' or 'excess.'  This means that we are to give as charity or zakah whatever money, clothes, food etc.  is left over after we have fulfilled our own requirements and the requirements of our close ones.  Superfluous money given as charity is for those needy people who are not related to us.  As for needy parents (for example), zakah is of much greater priority than for the needy who are outsiders.  Therefore, needy parents must have an allocated share in zakah as a part our family responsibility, prior to the left-over money.

It is also important to note that whatever "superfluous" items we give as charity (apart from money) must NOT be of bad or unacceptable quality:
 
They must be presentable and pleasing, the kind which we ourselves would accept happily if we received them as charity from others.
 
"O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have earned, and of that which we bring forth from the earth for you, and seek not the bad (with intent) to spend thereof (in charity) when you would not take it for yourselves save with disdain; and know that Allah is Absolute, Owner of Praise."  (2:267)

Verse 65:7 - refers to financial support during separation, not charity:

Some readers take Verse 65:7 of Surah At-Talaq as a statement for the amount of charity to be spent.  But they need to be careful and not get confused. Verse 65:7 is not about charity.  It refers to the money spent by a man on his wife during the period of separation which is for a stipulated period, particularly if the wife is pregnant during that period.  This Verse is very plain and simple to follow, quote:

"Let him who hath abundance spend of his abundance, and he whose provision is measured, let him spend of that which Allah hath given him. Allah asketh naught of any soul save that which He hath given it. Allah will vouchsafe, after hardship, ease."  (65:7)  At-Talaq.

Different people have different levels of affordability depending on their financial status and they are commanded to spend according to their capacity for supporting their wives during the period of separation.  Obviously if the wife is pregnant or has young children, she will need greater financial support.  However, the amount that is to be spent on her needs to be decided in accordance with the man's income and assets. 

Therefore, without a doubt the Noble Quran has answered every important and significant issue relating to charity or zakah.  Allah's Message is complete and perfect.

Interference of the Hadith by fixing the rate of Zakah (charity) has made the system unbalanced and faulty:  How?  Keep reading:

First off, the Hadith followers should not be asking the question: "Where does the Quran mention the amount of zakah"?   Instead we should be asking them: "Why does the Hadith fix the amount of zakah when the Noble Quran does not"?

Human interference always makes matters imperfect.  Same has happened here in the case of the amount of zakah (charity) as fixed by Hadith.  The rate of 2.5% to be paid as zakah or charity has been decided as per the writings of the Hadith which, as usual, is very discrepant.  This rule of 2.5% can make it hard for a person living on a very fixed budget and it could benefit a rich person who may afford to pay much more than 2.5%.  Thus, fixing a flat rate for all is a big flaw. The tax range needs to steadily increase along with the increase of one's income.

For instance, let's focus on the following example:  A rich prince who may have a principle of $20 billion pays 2.5% from the income he yields from this huge assets.  On the other hand, a man living on social assistance or welfare getting a stingy sum $800 a month also pays the same percentage as charity.  We realize that there's a huge difference between 2.5% of 20 billion and 2.5% of 800.  But proportion-wise it is much the same.  Therefore, either the prince is paying too little or the man on welfare is paying too much.  The Hadith writer who fixed this standard percentage apparently didn't realize that the tax range must increase in accordance with the income / assets of every individual.

Zakah is a spiritual tax, not a municipal or federal tax:

Last but not least, numerical amounts can only be fixed for municipal or government taxes.  However, zakah is NOT a municipal tax nor a tax fixed by the federal government.   Zakah is a spiritual tax where Allah Almighty takes into consideration a person's intent and sincerity in accordance with his or her financial means, not merely a flat rate paid by everyone as a ritual.


Also please read:

Reasons why the Noble Quran doesn't mention our present method of Salaah 
http://muslimvilla.smfforfree.com/index.php?topic=2302.msg6405#msg6405

What does the Quran say about Fasting?
http://muslimvilla.smfforfree.com/index.php?topic=2419.msg6760#msg6760

What does the Quran say about Hajj?
http://muslimvilla.smfforfree.com/index.php?topic=2418.0
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2009, 03:34:13 am »

Thanks for taking us through this, dear sister.  It's a great piece.  You must have worked much on it.  I don't know how anyone can say that no guidelines of zakat are given in the Noble Quran.  It says everything about charity, and one of the most important points being that one has to pay as much as they can afford.  V.2:219 firmly establishes the incorrectness of the Hadith law fixing the amount of zakat to 2 and half percent.  It's a matter of common sense to understand as the "superfluous" amount reserved for charity in every household is different, depending on the financial circumstances of each home.  This flat hadith rate of 2 and half per cent benefits mainly the upper class or the rich. 






Also, the Hadith followers should not be asking the question: "where has the Quran mentioned the amount of zakah"?   Instead we should be asking them: "why does the Hadith fix the amount of zakah when the Noble Quran does not"? 



Exactly!  absolutely right.  It should be the other way round.  It's the Quran that's fully entitled to question them.  They are not to question the Quran.  Well thought and well said.
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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2009, 03:42:13 am »

Just like to add this bit.  The Quran only mentions the amount to be taken as charity .. I think it can be called 'charity' .. that is state money to be spent for the welfare of the poor, that is the booty obtained as spoils of war.  Again, I came across this bit in Surah Al-Anfal tonite.  The Quran states that one-fifth of spoils of war goes to the state .. which means distribution to amongst the needy.

"And know that whatever you take as spoils of war, lo! a fifth thereof is for Allah, and for the messenger and for the kinsmen (who has need) and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer; if you believe in Allah and that which We revealed unto Our slave on the Day of Discrimination, the day when the two armies met. And Allah is Able to do all things."  8:49  Surah Al-Anfal (The spoils of war)

However this is different from zakat.  And the amount has been fixed here because the spoils of war is not related to individual income.  Instead it's additional provision, whatever amount one acquires or is given. 
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2012, 11:56:56 am »

jazak Allah khair sister very informative and beautifully explained i got it.Truly staying Away from Quran no matter for Allah it's our loss.worship of imams ,ulmas is something we've chosen as punishment for us . Sad
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2016, 06:34:04 am »

Jzk sister Z
Great article by you.
I wanted to add to it verses below. Please forgive of they are misinterpreted or out of context.

2-267
You who believe, give charitably from the good things you have acquired and that We have produced for you from the earth. Do not give away the bad things that you yourself would only accept with your eyes closed: remember that God is self-sufficient, worthy of all praise.

3-92
None of you [believers] will attain true piety unless you give out of what you cherish: whatever you give, God knows about it very well.
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2016, 11:38:02 am »

MashAllah, thank you brother.  Very important Verses.   V.2:267 is included in the original post.  And V.3:92 is a great reminder on how important charity is.  It of course implies whatever one can afford to give within one's financial means.  Though the Quranic system of charity is very simple, our clerics have made this aspect complicated, putting lot of pressure on people by fixing the amounts to be given for numerous different types of charity with different labels.  Some circles have turned the pious deed of charity almost into a money-making scam.  But I seldom come across any of them distributing donations to the poor nor setting up a welfare fund for the poor of our community.  Yet they do always keep asking for donations and then no one knows what they do with the money.
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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2016, 06:13:11 pm »

Jzk sis R. I apologise I must have read the verse in the orginal post and then forgotten about it. Sorry.
If you have the time could you please post in order of Allah's command what zakat would be first, second and so on with a list of all eligible for zakat. Also would it be that true that zakat is paid on income only as in income gain. For example if one has savings but for say two or three months no income then will zakat be need to be paid on the months of no income from one's savings??
Is zakat need to be paid as and when income is recieved event month or at the end of the year?? Jzk and salamun Alaikum
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« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2016, 06:44:12 pm »

InshAllah, I will post it point-wise tomorrow brother .... as best as I can.







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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2016, 01:55:14 am »

If you have the time could you please post in order of Allah's command what zakat would be first, second and so on with a list of all eligible for zakat.

Walaikum Salaam brother Danny.  Here's a point-wise summary.

(1)  One needs to have the intention (niyyah) for zakah (charity). Charity must be given humbly with the thought of Allah.  (Ref.V.2:264).

(2)  Charity begins at home.. includes parents, other family members (if they're poor), orphans or whoever you know is needy. (Ref. V.2:215).

(3)  Charity to the needy not related to you to be from "superfluous" savings. (V.2:219). But supporting needy parents is one's duty and should be done with one's regular income.

(4)  The Quran has also instructed zakah as farm tax, that is, on the day farmers harvest their crops they have to pay some charity to the poor.  This is of course only for farmers. (V.6:141).

(5)  Those unable to afford charity may politely excuse themselves.  Allah is Most Merciful. (2:263).

(6)  If we're giving charity in kind like clothes, food, household items etc., these should be of acceptable quality. (V.2:267).  Shouldn't be for the purpose of clearing up the junk in our homes and dumping it on the poor.

(7)  Try to give charity (whatever bit one can afford) also in times of adversity.  I'm sure it would carry lot of blessings. (Ref.V.3:134).

(8)  The amount of zakah is not mentioned in the Quran because the financial means/resources/job earnings of every individual is different.  Allah does not want to burden anyone beyond their means.  Thus, Allah has left it upon each person to decide the amount they can comfortably afford.  If a rich person is paying much less than his means, Allah knows it. The amount of zakah fixed at 2.5% is from hadith.  The Quran has fixed no such flat rates.

Please note. Some people think V.65:7 of Surah At-Talaq to be zakah.  This Verse doesn't refer to zakah. Instead it's support money to be paid by a man to his wife, if they're separated.

This is the summary.  I would advise you to also go through the original.  It's more comprehensive for a better understanding.


Is zakat need to be paid as and when income is recieved event month or at the end of the year??

It's entirely up to you brother.  Whichever you find more convenient or easier.
Makes absolutely no difference.


Also would it be that true that zakat is paid on income only as in income gain.


By reading V.2:219 which states to spend of that which is "superfluous," I would understand income gain.  However it again depends how much a person has in reserve after meeting all their needs.  In the case of a straightened person living from cheque to cheque, it may be that his savings through income gain is very meager. And with the sort of high-cost infrastructure we have today, a small saving isn't a luxury.  It's a necessity for oneself and family for essential unforeseen expenses, emergencies .. just in case.  Unfortunately our jurists just don't understand such realities.  But Allah does.

Furthermore, the jurists also wrangle whether to pay zakah on income or assets.  Some say the former while some opine the latter.  Again, it's up to every person.  They can make their own decisions, whatever suits them.  Generally I would surmise, paying charity from total assets is for those who are very wealthy .... the kind of people who don't earn monthly or weekly salaries like the average populace but who simply keep stacking up their huge quarterly or half yearly profits.  I suppose for the average working person, paying from income savings would be more feasible.  This is my personal opinion. 
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« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2016, 02:12:58 am »

Many thanks Sister Heba.  Seems like you're not going to work tomorrow so you could stay up later .....  teethsmile

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« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2016, 02:16:16 am »

haha haaaha  Grin  you got it right sis.  Off the whole week.  My sis-in-law will be taking my place. 

You're welcomed sister Zeynab.
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« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2016, 09:04:58 am »

Jzk sister Z
That was a very good point by point breakdown of zakah.
I have a much clearer picture now. I was also read the orginal post to get a detailed view of the subject. Jzk and salamun Alaikum.
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