Prayer (Salat) poor due (Zakat) fasting (Roza) pilgrimage (Haji and crusade (Jihad) are the five pillars of Islam. A good Muslim practices them as ordained in the Holy Quran, the best guide for the Believers. They are the fundamental religious duties and part and parcel of Piety (Taqwa).
Zakat is a kind of holy tax on wealth. It means to purify, to improve, to grow. It is a compulsory levy at specific rates on accumulated net assets of rich Muslims. Besides being an act of devotion to Allah, Zakat is the most effective economic step in ensuring the welfare of the poor and ‘needy in society. It is a duty, as well a moral virtue. According to Gods’. words wealth increases by paying Zakat.
The following are some of the real Traditions (Hadiths) about paying Zakat and its rewards;
- It earns the pleasure of Allah
- It brings Allah’s forgiveness and blessings
- It protects from the wrath of Allah and bad death
- Zakat shall provide shelter on the Day of Judgment
- It increases wealth
- It is protection against losses
- Zakat is safety again calamities
- It contributes to longevity
- It shall serve as a shield against fire of Hell.
“Take their wealth Zakat so that you may cleanse and purify therewith”.(Sura Tauba).
Both Salat and Zakat are mentioned side by side in the Holy Quran:
“Establish worship, pay the poor due (Zakat) and bow your head with those who bow (worship).”(Surah Baqra : V.43)
Zakat keeps away one from sins and protects the giver from moral ills arising from greed and love for wealth. It, at the same time, betters the lot of the poor, the destitute, orphans and widows. It ensures equal distribution of wealth and discourages its concentration in a few hands. Islam, besides being a code of moral conduct, is also a way of economic life in which all the disables have shared.
A Muslim who is the-Nisab or possesses the prescribed minimum of various assets. must pay Zakat. It is equivalent to 87,48 grams of fine gold or 612.36 grams of silver and currency equal to it. According to the Quranic law’s payment of Zakat is mandatory for the Believers. Zakat narrows economic inequality. It keeps the wealth in circulation in such a way that no Muslim can remain poor. It keeps a balance between miserliness (Bukhel) and extravagance (Israf).
The Zakat was first introduced in 9 A.H. It was payable after the lapse of one complete year of possession of certain specified assets by the Muslims. The rate of the Zakat fixed by the holy prophet (S.A.W) is 2.5% (1/40th) of the value of Zakatable property. Its payments are obligatory on gold, silver (in form of bullion or jewelry) cash, bank notes, utensils, merchandise and livestock as per nisab (rules). The Zakat and Ushr Ordinance was a great state step in the right direction. But mostly the majority of Muslims. (Pakistanis) defy or disregard the laws of Allah. Severe punishment awaits them in the Hereafter. It is a stern warning for the really, God-fearing.