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Az-Zakah - The Obligatory Charity

by Shaykh Abû Bakr Jâbir al-Jaza'iry



Legal Ruling


Allah has obligated Zakah upon every Muslim who possesses a minimum amount of wealth, according to some conditions. Allah made Zakah obligatory in His Book by His statement;


Take from their wealth Sadaqah in order to purify them and sanctify them with it. [9:103]


And His statement: O you who believe! Spend from the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you. (2:267)


And His statement:  And establish the prayer (Salah) and pay the obligatory charity (Zakah). (73:20)


Zakah was also made obligatory by the statement of the Messenger saws: lslam was built upon five (pillars): The testimony that none has the right to be worshipped hut Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, the establishment of the prayer (Salah), paying the obligatory charity (Zakah), pilgrimage to the House (Hajj to the Ka’bah in Makkah) and fasting (the month of) Ramadhan.) (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)


And his statement:  I was commanded to fight the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayer and pay the obligatory charity (Zakah) If they do that, then they have protected their blood and wealth from me, except according to the right of Islam, and their reckoning is with Allah . (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)


And his statement in advising Mu’adh when he sent him to Yemen: Verily you are going to a people who are People of the Scripture, so invite them to the testimony that there is none worthy of worship but Allah and I (Muhammad saws ) am the Messenger of Allah. If they obey you in that, inform them that Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, has obligated them to (pray) five prayers every day and night. If they obey you, then inform them that He has obligated them to give charity from their wealth that is to be taken from their wealthy and given to their poor. If they obey you in that, then stay away from (taking) the best of their wealth. And beware of the supplication of the oppressed person, for verily there is no veil between it and Allah. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)


It’s Wisdom


The following are some of the points derived from the wisdom of legislating Zakah:


Purification of the human soul from the vices of stinginess, greed, covetousness and lustfulness.


Comforting the poor and fulfilling the needs of the needy, distraught and deprived people.


Establishing comprehensive benefits that the life of the Muslim community (Ummah) and its happiness depend upon.


Limiting the inflation of wealth among the wealthy, and at the hands of the businessmen and merchants. This is so that the wealth will not be restricted solely to one limited group of people, nor controlled by only the wealthy.


The Ruling of One Who Refuses to Pay Zakah


Whoever refuses to pay Zakah, while denying its obligation, has disbelieved. Whoever refuses to pay Zakah due to stinginess, while affirming its obligation, has committed a sin. In this case Zakah is taken from such a person by force and he is also given some disciplinary punishment. If he fights in refusing to give it, he is fought until he submits to the command of Allah and pays Zakah. This is due to Allah the Almighty’s statement: So if they repent, establish the prayer and give Zakah then they are your brethren in religion. (9:11)


This is also due to the Prophet’s statement: I was commanded to fight the people until they teshfy that none has right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayer and pay Zakah. If they do this, then they have protected their blood and wealth from me, except by the right of Islam, and their reckoning is with Allah. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)


Likewise, concerning fighting those who refused to pay Zakah, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq said: “By Allah, if they refuse to give me (of Zakah) a young she-goat that they used to give to Allah’s Messenger …. I will fight them for it.” (Al-Bukhari)


In this situation the Companions agreed with him (Abu Bakr) about this, so there was a consensus among them.


Taken from the book Minhaj Al-Muslim vol.2, published by Dar-us-Salam Publications







This is a month when Muslims across the world join in unity to perform prayers and fasting. No doubt you will agree that we must also unite to help all the poor and suffering throughout the world.  Zakat Al-Maal is the third pillar of Islam and is a mandatory payment required of every Muslim who meets the requirements for paying it. It testifies to the genuineness of a Muslim’s faith. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah (swt) says, "Those who establish prayers and spend from that which we have bestowed upon them, these are the true believers. They will have [lofty] grades of honor with their Lord, and forgiveness, and a generous provision." [8:3-4]


In addition to helping the weak and downtrodden, Zakat also serves to purify the soul and bless the wealth. It also strives to eliminate envy and greed as well as improve an individual’s social spirit, as the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Charity extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire.” [Ahmed: Muadh 21116]


Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: "Pay the Zakaat so that your Islam becomes complete." [Al-Bazzar]. And Quran says: "Give them something yourselves out of the means which Allah has given you." [Soorah an-Noor (24): 33]


Bear in mind as well that thousands of needy people have been waiting the whole year for this moment. Your Zakat will truly make a difference.




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