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How Zakat Benefits Us

by Musa Bukhari


The Importance of Zakat in Islam

Zakat is the third pillar of Islam and is often paired with Salah, the second pillar of Islam and the best ‘ibadah that one can do. Salah and Zakat are so intertwined in their importance that Abu Bakr (RA) questioned the ‘Muslim status’ of the one who prayed Salah but did not give Zakat. There are many ayaat in the Qur’an that establish the importance of Salah and Zakat together:

“And establish salah (prayer) and give zakat, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah.” (2:110)

Here, Allah is making a promise to those who establish Salah and give Zakat that whatever efforts they have made in that regard to fulfill it to the best of their ability, they will find the reward with Allah. Nothing that we do for the sake of Allah is ever lost. Our obedience to Him always gives fruit in this life and the afterlife.

“Lo! Those who believe and do good deeds and establish Salah and pay Zakah, their reward is with their Sustainer; and no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve.” (2:277)

Here, Allah mentions something very specific: fear and grief. These are two emotions that human beings cycle through the most in this dunya. Perhaps people cry over what they lost. Perhaps they are in fear of what they will lose, specifically if they give from their money. But Allah is reassuring us in this ayah that on the Day of Judgment when no one will be able to give money to save themselves, Allah will save us from fear and grief Himself, if we had fulfilled our duties to Him in dunya.

In Surah Maryam, when Isa (A) speaks in the cradle, he says to the people: “And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive.” (19:31)

SubhanAllah! Even a prophet said that Salah and Zakat were enjoined upon him, in the same sentence! Then imagine how important this commandment must be!

Now that we have established the importance of Zakat, read on to find out about the various benefits of this great act of worship.

Zakat Creates Ease

“God has made a promise to those among you who believe and do good deeds: He will make them successors to the land, as He did those who came before them; He will empower the religion He has chosen for them; He will grant them the security to replace their fear. ‘They will worship Me and not join anything with Me.’ Those who are defiant after that will be the rebels. Establish Salah, give Zakat and obey the Messenger so that you may receive [this] Mercy!” (Quran 24:55-56).

In this ayah, Allah makes us an offer that we cannot refuse: He will grant us security, will enrich us, and will grant us His Mercy if we become those who do good, establish Salah and pay the Zakat.

Allah mentions His Mercy again in the following ayah from Surah Al-A’raaf:

“And decree for us in this world [that which is] good and [also] in the Hereafter; indeed, we have turned back to You.” [ Allah ] said, “My punishment – I afflict with it whom I will, but My mercy encompasses all things.” So I will decree it [especially] for those who fear Me and give zakah and those who believe in Our verses.” (7:156)

Allah’s Mercy is vast—it encompasses everything—but Allah says in this ayah that He decrees it especially for the people who have taqwa and give Zakat. Allahu Akbar! How generous is Allah!

In the Qur’an, Iman is often mentioned with the pillars of Salah and Zakat. The great scholar, Imam al-Iraqi (d.806 AH) stated that whoever performs these three things correctly, will be able to perform fasting and Ḥajj easily. Al-Kirmani (d.786 AH) mentions Salah and Zakat have more importance and emphasis due to their universal nature. The Qur’an actually emphasizes commitment to Salah and Zakat up to twenty-eight times!

Here, we can see how Allah’s Mercy increases upon the one who gives Zakat. Allah creates ease for that person in worldly matters as well as in matters of worship. Which one of us wouldn’t like Allah to grant us ease in all our matters?

Zakat Multiplies Your Wealth and Your Reward

“He enlarges or restricts the sustenance to whom He wills, for He knows full well all things.” (42:12)

It is important to remember that everything we have comes from Allah. None of us are true owners of what we own. Allah owns us and everything we have. And yet when we give from our wealth that He gave us, He rewards us for it! Truly there is none other like Him, subhanahu wa ta’ala.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Allah said: Spend in charity, O son of Adam, and I will spend on you.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

This hadith is pretty straightforward and it’s amazing! Imagine Allah spending on you. If Allah spends on you, it means He is rewarding you for what you gave, He is multiplying what you gave, He is giving you from His special treasures, He is increasing you in barakah and rizq in different areas of your life, etc. When Allah gives, He doesn’t give like humans. Allah is Al-Kareem. Even the most generous among us cannot compete with Allah in His Generosity. Allah is far above what we can comprehend.

Allah says in Surah Al-Baqarah: “The example of those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah is that of a grain that sprouts into seven ears, each bearing one hundred grains. And Allah multiplies ˹the reward even more˺ to whoever He wills. For Allah is All-Bountiful, All-Knowing.” (2:261)

Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "If one gives in charity what equals one date-fruit from the honestly earned money and Allah accepts only the honestly earned money --Allah takes it in His right (hand) and then enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it), as anyone of you brings up his baby horse, so much s that it becomes as big as a mountain.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book of Zakah)

The ayah above is a classic example of how much Allah can multiply the reward of our charity, by seven hundred times or even more! The hadith goes on to emphasize Allah’s Generosity by using the example of a mountain. Which one of us wouldn’t like a mountain of reward? ALLAHU AKBAR! May Allah make us amongst them, Ameen.

Zakat Purifies Your Wealth

Allah says in the Surah Tawbah: “Take from their wealth [O Prophet] charity to purify and bless them, and pray for them—surely your prayer is a source of comfort for them. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (9:103)

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whoever pays the zakat on his wealth will have its evil removed from him.” (Ibn Khuzaimah and at-Tabarani)

We went out with 'Abdullah bin 'Umar and a Bedouin said (to 'Abdullah), "Tell me about Allah's saying: "And those who hoard up gold and silver (Al-Kanz - money, gold, silver etc., the Zakat of which has not been paid) and spend it not in the Way of Allah (V.9:34)." Ibn 'Umar said, "Whoever hoarded them and did not pay the Zakat thereof, then woe to him. But these holy Verses were revealed before the Verses of Zakat. So when the Verses of Zakat were revealed, Allah made Zakat a purifier of the property." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book of Zakah)

The ayah and the ahadith above clearly state that giving from our wealth purifies it. This is a spiritual purification. Allah only accepts zakat from halal income and so we should be careful to earn only halal. But let’s say there is something in the income that we do not know of. We are not held liable for what we don’t know, but the Zakat purifies our wealth, which saves us in the long run inshaAllah.

On the specific topic of Zakat ul-Fitr (the Zakat paid at the end of Ramadan soon enough before the Eid prayer for it to reach the intended recipients), we have the following narration:

Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, obligated Zakat al-Fitr as purification of the fasting person from vain talk and misbehaviour, as food for the poor. Whoever pays it before the Eid prayer, it is accepted as Zakat. Whoever pays it after the Eid prayer, it is part of voluntary charity. (Sunan Abi Dawud)

In Ramadan, we are prone to making many mistakes while fasting. We are imperfect, and forgetful. We may say things we shouldn’t say or hurt someone unknowingly. The Zakatul-Fitr acts as a purifier for the sins we may have committed in Ramadan. Allah, in His Generosity and Mercy, gives us many, many chances to be forgiven.

Zakat saves you from the Hell-fire and opens the Doors to Jannah

The following hadith is mentioned in Imam Al-Bukhari’s Kitab az-Zakah: "Save yourself from Hell-fire even by giving half a date-fruit in charity." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book of Zakah)

This hadith is a real eye-opener. We can save ourselves from Hell-fire even with a small amount of charity that we give for the sake of Allah. (Of course, when it comes to Zakat, it’s important to do the calculations of how much you owe).

A man said to the Prophet (ﷺ) "Tell me of such a deed as will make me enter Paradise." The people said, "What is the matter with him? What is the matter with him?" The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "He has something to ask. (What he needs greatly) The Prophet (ﷺ) said: (In order to enter Paradise) you should worship Allah and do not ascribe any partners to Him, offer prayer perfectly, pay the Zakat and keep good relations with your kith and kin." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book of Zakah)

Again, in this hadith, Salah and Zakat are mentioned together. And they are mentioned among the deeds that take one to Paradise.

The noble act of Zakat has so many benefits for us personally in dunya and Akhirah. It also benefits society as a whole. It pleases Allah and protects us from the greed of our hearts.

May Allah make us amongst those who earn halal and who spend it in His way. May He make us among those who establish the Salah and give the Zakat as well as optional sadaqah. May Allah purify our wealth and our souls, May He multiply our wealth and our reward. May Allah (SWT) grant us all the BEST in this world and in the Hereafter. Ameen.

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