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April 5, 2012

Project “Recover Ramadan” – Step 17: Remember that zakaah and sadaqah are not limited to Ramadan…

by Umm Muawiyah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

Remember this series? The last part discussed khushoo (humility) in prayer.

Salaah (prayer) is the second pillar of Islam. After this comes the zakaah (the obligatory charity).

[Note: It is zakaah and not zakaat. And while we’re having a language lesson, I’d also like to point out that “namaz” is an Urdu/Farsi/Turkish word, not an Arabic word so could we please stop using it in the English language? Baarakallahu feekum.]

Prayer is the right of Allah, whereas zakaah is the right of the slaves of Allah.

Allah has mentioned salaah and zakaah together 82 times in the Quran (according to Shaikh Saleh Al-Fawzan), thereby showing how intertwined these two really are.

So it’s strange to find people who pray but do not give zakaah. [Of course, it’s even stranger to find people who give zakaah but do not pray!]

If one wants to be a complete Muslim, one should fulfill both the rights of Allah and the rights of creation. Safeguarding one’s prayers and paying the zakaah are the first steps towards that.

I’m completely useless with the fiqh (jurisprudence) of zakaah so I won’t even go there. [I studied it 4 times and it just keeps going above my head.] You may find many resources here though.

However, I’d like to point out the following important points:

1) Zakaah is obligatory but sadaqah (charity) isn’t.

Zakaah is a bit like the five obligatory prayers and sadaqah is a bit like the voluntary prayers, in the sense that you have the obligatory part for everyone and you also have the voluntary part for those that want to go the extra mile.

2) Zakaah is not necessarily due in Ramadan. It is due when one (lunar) year passes on the wealth.

 You might have multiple times where you pay zakaah during the year as you might have zakaah due on different things.

4) Zakaah and Zakaatul fitr are two totally different things.

The former is due after one (lunar) year. The latter is due at the end of Ramadan and is paid in the form of food.

5) Zakaah is not due on everybody. It is only due on those who fulfill the required conditions .

6) The one who doesn’t pay the zakaah out of stinginess is a major sinner. However, the one who doesn’t pay the zakaah because he doesn’t think it it obligatory is a disbeliever.

7) Zakaah can only be given to one of eight categories of people, whereas there is no restriction on who sadaqah can be given to.

Apart from the fasts and the night prayers, what also distinguishes Ramadan from the other months is the brotherhood (which is shown through the zakaah and sadaqah). So we need to extend this brotherhood to the other months as well.

Unfortunately, one of the issues that we’re facing today as an ummah (nation) is that the money flows in during Ramadan and all the people in need get enough.

However, in the other 11 months, the well seems to dry up.

Why is that? Well, I guess it’s the same reason that some people pray only in Ramadan but not outside of it.

The reason is that they don’t understand the Names and Attributes of Allah, nor do they know about His Rights. Due to this, they cheat themselves by only worshipping Him during Ramadan.

So, it is incumbent for the one who is truly sincere in worshipping Allah that he does so 12 months a year, not just one!

So we not only need to work on improving our prayers but we also need to be more consistent in giving charity.

An amazing story of consistency in giving charity would be Shaikh ibn Baz (rahimahullah). I heard that he gave so much charity that he never paid zakaah (because his wealth did not fulfill the conditions as he gave it away before the year passed), subhan Allah.

Insha-Allah, in the next post of this series, I’ll clear up some misunderstandings that people have about charity.

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