Zakat is an amazing system bestowed on the Muslims in Islamic society. It is a function and structure which is compassionate towards creating a sustainably developed society and aiming at the economic prosperity of Muslim community. This system is designed to establish a society in which every individual is committed to freedom, equity, and social justice to attain social wellbeing, piety and increase faith. Therefore it is important to highlight this basic tenet of Islam which is a basic institution of Islamic social order.
Zakat is the amount that rich Muslims who acquire certain wealth known as nisab to the people who are needy and poor. It is a religious obligation which is affirmed by Quran and Sunnah:
In Surah Tawbah verse 103 Allah orders the believers:
After the revelation of this verse, our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH sent Muaz bin Jabal instructing.
“You are going to lead people of the scriptures. Invite them to accept shahadah; there is no God but Allah and I am His Messenger. If the affirm and agree, tell them that Allah has obligated 5 prayers upon them each day and night. If they accept that, convey them He has also obligated zakah upon their wealth that will be taken from rich and given to the needy. If they accept that, abstain from laying hands upon their goods and fear the cry of the oppressed, for there is no barrier between Allah and it.” –Ibn Rajab 1996
How clearly our Prophet PBUH instructs the importance of Zakat and ordered Muaz bin Jabal to implement on the people right after they say the Shahadah.
Objectives of Zakat
Being the fourth pillar of Islam, it helps to achieve numerous roles in an Islamic society and also in the life of a Muslims. Few of the objectives are defined below.
Poverty is eliminated
Zakat is an astounding preventive mechanism in opposition to poverty. It is a unique measure of abolishing poverty by making rich dutiful of this social obligation. This perfect system is best to use as a part of long-term poverty alleviation strategy. It frees the recipients from poverty and improves their living standards.
Purification of Soul
Zakat is a superb medium in which the soul of the giver is purified from sins and impurities like the love of wealth and greed. Humans have an inborn love for excessive wealth as mentioned in Surah Maryam, verse 9-24:
Thus it is a means of purifying rich people from greed, hatred, and selfishness and saves them from ego-centricity and self-indulgence.
Sincerity of Faith
The sincerity of a believer’s faith is understood through practicing the fourth pillar of Islam. The level of piety and righteousness of a Muslim increase when he gives out zakat.
One notable fact is the zakat is also referred as sadaqah that is derived from the word sidq meaning truth. It shows the truthfulness of the giver is assessed by his proper calculation of assets in the view of observing this religious duty.
Zakat helps in redistribution of wealth in communities to prevent the accumulation of wealth in few hands. It not only ensures social justice but also make available the resources to poor.