Every person’s heart’s desire is to earn an everlasting fortune – a fortune that never diminishes nor depletes at any time. Instead, its profits and returns continue to grow every second. How can such a fortune be acquired? The answer to this vital question is: invest in a perpetual investment – the investment of the Aakhirah (Hereafter). This investment is the ideal investment which never diminishes at any time. It perpetually goes on growing till eternity. No loss. Only profit and growth. The only condition is sincerity. Any person who has a rand to spare should invest in such an investment. Every cent given in charity is invested in the investment of the Aakhirah. Such money is in reality saved. What is not invested in the Aakhirah is either spent or left behind for others. While the immense rewards for spending in the path of Allah Ta’ala are attained for even optional charity, the greatest rewards are for fulfilling the Fardh (compulsory) duties. Thus, the greatest rewards would be for discharging one’s zakat correctly, together with inculcating the true spirit of fulfilling this great ibaadah. There are many verses of the Qur’an as well as Ahaadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) which explain the great rewards promised for discharging one’s zakaat. Hazrat Hasan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “Protect your wealth by discharging zakaat, treat your sick by discharging sadaqah and combat the waves of calamities by resorting to dua and humility.” (Majma’uz Zawaaid #4336)
Important Aspects to be Borne in Mind when Discharging Zakaat
- Zakaat must be given with complete sincerity to fulfil the command of Allah Ta’ala and earn His pleasure.
- Zakaat must be given happily and wholeheartedly. It should not be regarded as a burden.
- If zakaat is given in kind (stock, etc.), then at least something of average quality should be given. It is against the spirit of discharging zakaat to give something which cannot sell or is of inferior quality.
- Zakaat must be discharged on the basis of proper calculation. Enquire from the Ulama to ensure that you have not underpaid.
- Zakaaat should be given to those who are eligible to receive it, otherwise the obligation will not be fulfilled.
- Zakaat is payable upon the expiry of one lunar year from the time one became the owner of nisaab (the minimum amount of wealth upon which zakaat is compulsory).
- When discharging the zakaat, one should ensure that the zakaat is given from pure Halaal earnings.
- One should not discharge the zakaat for show nor publicize the amount of zakaat one has discharged. Doing actions for show and ostentation destroys the rewards of zakaat.
- One should not cause any pain to the recipients of zakaat, nor express his favour upon him.
Serious Consequences for Neglecting the Obligation of Zakaat
By discharging one’s zakaat with care and with the true spirit of zakaat, one will receive immense rewards in the Hereafter and one’s wealth will be protected in this world. On the contrary, by not discharging the zakaat one becomes sinful and deserving of punishment in the Hereafter. Severe warnings and admonishments have been sounded in the mubaarak Ahaadith for the one who neglects the obligation of zakaat
Hadhrat Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: He who, despite being given wealth by Allah Ta’ala, does not discharge his zakaat, his wealth will be made into a poisonous, bald-headed snake with two black spots over the eyes. It will coil itself around his neck on the Day of Qiyamah and then bite his cheeks and say, ‘I am your wealth, I am your treasure! ‘(Bukhari #1 403)
Hadhrat Abdullah bin Amr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that once Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), upon seeing gold bracelets on the wrists of two women, enquired from them as to whether they had discharged its zakaat? They replied in the negative. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, ‘Do you wish that in place of these gold bracelets you be made to wear bracelets of fire?’ They replied, ‘No.’ Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then said, ‘Then hasten in discharging their zakaat.’ (Tirmidhi #637)