Friday, September 28, 2007

Zakah, Sadaqah –al- Fitrah, Fidyah, Kaffara, Sadaqah

Zakah, Sadaqah –al- Fitrah, Fidyah, Kaffara, Sadaqah

1-Zakah

Literally the word "Zakah" means Blessing, purification, increase and goodness. It is so called as it blesses the wealth from which it is taken and protects it from misfortunes. Ibn Taimiah said, "The soul of one who gives Zakah is blessed and so is his wealth."
Zakah is defined as "a determined portion taken from wealth of rich people and allocated to those deserving it, by a Qur'anic injunction "Sometimes Zakah is referred to in the Holy Qur'an as Sadaqah (alms).

The Qur'an says,

"Of their goods take alms, that so thou mightest purify and sanctify them; and pray on their behalf, verily thy prayers are a source of security for them ."

In an authentic hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to his Companion Mu`adh, when he was sent to Yemen as governor, "Tell them that Allah has made Zakah obligatory for them, that it should be collected from the rich and distributed among the poor."

There is so much wealth in the Muslim world that if all Muslims, on whom Zakah is due, pay their fair share and it is distributed honestly to the deserving than no Muslim will face extreme poverty and hunger as we see in so many countries these days.

Beneficiaries of Zakah

The Holy Qur'an classifies the due recipients of zakah under the following eight categories .

"Zakah is for the poor, and the needy and those who are employed to administer and collect it, and the new converts, and for those who are in bondage, and in debt and service of the cause of Allah, and for the wayfarers, a duty ordained by Allah, and Allah is the All-Knowing, the Wise".

the poor
the needy
those employed to collect Zakah
to attract the hearts of those inclined towards Islam
to free the captives
for those in debt
for Allah's cause, i.e. for Mujahideen
for the wayfarer (traveler in need)

Limit (Nisab) Of Zakah

Zakah is paid on the surplus of wealth which is left over after a passage of a year. It is thus paid on the accumulated wealth at least equal to "Nisab" (limit). Nisab is the minimum amount on which Zakah must be paid. If the wealth is below Nisab one does not have to pay Zakah. The Nisab is as follows:

Gold: 3 oz (85 grams)

Silver: 21 oz (595 grams)

Cash: equivalent to gold or silver which ever is less

Stocks & Merchandise: same as for cash

Zakah is obligatory on the following kinds of wealth

The produce of earth like grains and fruits
The grazing animals
Gold, silver, cash
Commercial commodities

Leaving aside animals and agricultural yield for which specific rules apply, Zakah is paid at one-fortyth (1/40) part or 2.5% of the total accumulated wealth. For example, if the total of all liquid assets is $100,000 the Zakah due will be $2500. Items of personal use such as the house one lives in, furniture, cloths, cars, household items etc are exempt. Zakah is due on gold and silver jewelry even though it may be for personal use as such items are liquid assets and readily cashable for other use. Property, tools and equipment used to generate business income are exempt.
If one has liquid assets on the due date, Zakah will be paid on all of it irrespective of the future intent for some or all of it. For example, one may be saving money to buy a house; however, till the time when the money is used to buy the house it will be included in the calculation of Zakah as the money is liquid asset which can be used for any other purpose also if the need arises.

Beneficial effects of Zakah

Zakah is one of the five pillars which constitute the foundation of Islam (other four being declaration of belief, prayer 5 times a day, fasting in Ramadan and pilgrimage to Makkah if health and resources permit). Hardly ever is faith mentioned in the Quran without it being associated with prayer and Zakah and the need to fulfill both duties. So much is the importance of Zakah in Islam that it has been mentioned in eighty two places in the Quran in close connection with prayer. Prayer and Zakah are given precedence over other types of Islamic worship because prayer, which is offered purely for Allah's sake has an important role in restraining people from committing sinful and evil deeds, while Zakah has a greatly beneficial effect on both individuals and the society.
It is obligatory upon every Muslim, in possession of wealth above a prescribed limit, to pay Zakat. There are many advantages of which some are mentioned below:

1-It meets the needs of the poor of the society
2-It strengthens the good relation between the rich and the poor
3-It cleanses and purifies the wealth
4-It promotes open-handedness, generosity and sympathy in a Muslim towards the needy person
5-It draws Allah's blessing; causes increase in wealth and replacement of spent wealth as promised in the Quran "And whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah's cause), He will replace it. He is the Best of those who grant Sustenance."(34:39)

On the contrary, a severe punishment awaits those who act miserly and are negligent in paying out Zakah. Allah describes this as "And those who hoard up gold and silver (the money, the Zakah of which has not been paid), and spent it not in the way of Allah, announce unto them a painful torment. On the Day when that (money, gold and silver etc, the Zakat of which has not been paid) will be heated in the fire of Hell and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs :( and it will be said unto them): 'This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard'."(9:34, 35)

2-Fitrah

It is religious tax/alms (Zakah) paid on the day when Muslims break the fasting period at the end of the month of Ramadan. This alm is known as sadaqh al-Fitrah.
Imams (as) say that the verses: Indeed whosoever purifies himself shall achieve success, and glorifies the Name of his Lord and prays. (87:14 & 15) refer to giving of Fitrah and saying prayers on Eid al-Fitr.

Paying Fitrah is obligatory on every Muslim who is mature (baligh), sane, financially able, and conscious on the eve of Eid al-Fitr. Fitrah should also be paid on behalf of all dependents (e.g. wife, children) whom one supports financially.

Fitrah for a person is given on a weight of about 2.5 – 3.0 kilograms (one sa'a) on any food commodity like wheat, barley, rice, millet, raisins or dates. Cash value in lieu of any foodstuff mentioned can be given as Fitrah.

Islam commands us to be GRATEFUL to ALLAH by using His favors in proper manners. We should share Allah's favors on us, with others. Allah can provide them (needy ones) better than what He has given to us, but He wants to test us: Is the love of Allah more in our hearts or the love of money?

Sadaqah al-Fitr (voluntary charity) is a very important part of Fasting in Ramadan. One very important aspect of fasting is that we become aware of how poor people feel. Poverty is a cause of many problems.

3-Fidyah

A person who has become extremely weak due to old age or disease, and has no hope of recovery and as a result cannot fast, has been allowed by Sharî'ah not to fast but give fidyah.

The fidyah for every fasting day is equivalent to what is given on Eid day as sadqah al Fitrah.

If after paying of fidyah a sick person regains health by the grace of Allah, he should observe the missed fasts on other days, hoping from Allah that He will not let go waste the reward of the fidyah given away by him.

4-Kaffara

Fasting is to refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and having sexual intercourse from dawn till dusk with the intention of worship Kaffara is a penalty of atonement when the fasting is deliberately broken, without a valid reason through eating, drinking, smoking and sexual intercourse. The penalty is:

• to set a slave free (or)
• to fast for sixty consecutive days (or)
• to feed sixty poor people one average meal

According to Imam Abu Hanifa, the penalty should be carried out in the above order.

5-Sadaqah

Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him (PBUH) said, "Every act of goodness is Sadaqah." (Muslim #2197)
Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said, "When you smile in your brother's face, or enjoin what is reputable, or forbid what is objectionable, or direct someone who has lost his way, or help a man who has bad eyesight, or remove stones, thorns and bones from the road, or pour water from your bucket into your brother's, it counts to you as Sadaqah". (Tirmidhi #1911)

The benefit of Sadaqah

Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said: "Sadaqah extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire." (Tirmidhi #2541)
"Sadaqah appeases the Lord's anger and averts an evil death." (Tirmidhi #1909)
"Give the Sadaqah without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity." (Tirmidhi#1887)
"The believer's shade on the Day of resurrection will be his Sadaqah."(Tirmidhi #1925)

Why every Muslim should give Sadaqah

The Prophet said, "Every Muslim has to give in charity." The people asked, "O Allah's Prophet! If someone has nothing to give, what will he do?" He said, "He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns)." The people further asked, "If he cannot find even that?" He replied, "He should help the needy who appeal for help." Then the people asked, "If he cannot do that?" He replied, "Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds and this will be regarded as charitable deeds." (Bukhari #2.524)

Sadaqah in the form of sacrifice?

A man called the Apostle of Allah (PBUH): We used to sacrifice Atirah in pre-Islamic days during Rajab; so what do you command us? He said: Sacrifice for the sake of Allah in any month whatever; obey Allah, Most High, and feed (the people). (Abu-Dawood #2824)

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