Friday Khutbah (Sermons) : Zakat – Consolation and Growth, not an Imposition or Burden

Friday Khutbah (Sermons) : Zakat – Consolation and Growth, not an Imposition or Burden
– by Imam Al-Haramain, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Ibn Abdul Aziz-as-Sudais
Makkah al-Mukarramah; Translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab

The Transcript:

Verily all praise is due to Allah, we praise Him and seek His help and guidance; we ask Him for forgiveness and we repent to Him. We seek refuge with Allah from the evils of our own selves and from our bad deeds. Whoever Allah guides none can lead astray, and whomever Allah sends astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah alone, with no partner or associate. He enjoined Zakat upon His slaves to purify their souls and their hearts, to cause wealth to grow, to meet the needs of the desperate, to bring about a spirit of love, brotherhood, kindness, compassion and reconciliation. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His Slave and His Messenger, His chosen one and close friend, His beloved. May Allah send abundant blessings and peace upon him and upon his Family and Companions, and the Taabi’een (generation following the Companions) and those who follow them in truth until the Day of Resurrection.

To proceed:

O Muslims, fear Allah (subhanahu ta’ala) and understand that the religion of Islam with which Allah has blessed you and is pleased with for you, and has honored you by making you adhere to it, is based on strong, consolidated foundations; if any of them are undermined, the others will be weakened. Al-Bukhaari and Muslim (may Allah have mercy upon them) narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (radhiallahu anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said:

“Islam is built on five (pillars): the testimony that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger, establishing regular prayer, paying Zakat (obligatory charity), pilgrimage to the House and fasting Ramadan” [Saheeh al-Bukhaari, 8; Saheeh Muslim, 16]

One of these great pillars is a pillar that people no longer pay much attention to and are heedless concerning it because of weak faith and preferring this materialistic world with its adornments to the eternal Hereafter. This pillar is Zakat.

Zakat, O people of Islam, is the third pillar of this great religion. Whoever denies that it is obligatory becomes a kaafir (unbeliever) and whoever withholds it is to be fought. Allah says:

“But if they repent, perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and give Zakat, then they are your brethren in religion.” [Surah at-Tawbah, 9:11]

In as-Saheehayn it is narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (radhiallahu anhu) said: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said:

“I have been commanded to fight the people until they bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (subhanahu ta’ala), and they establish regular prayer and pay Zakat. If they do that, then their blood and wealth are protected from me [except in cases dictated by Islamic law], and their reckoning will he with Allah.” [Saheeh al-Bukhaari, 25; Saheeh Muslim, 22]

Allah mentions Zakat in His Book coupled with prayer, to highlight its importance, encourage people to give it and warn against neglecting it and taking it lightly. Allah (subhanahu ta’ala) says:

“And perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and give Zakat, and Irka’ (i.e. bow down or submit yourselves with obedience to Allah) along with Ar-Raki’un.” [Surah al-Baqarah, 2:43]

Hence, Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq (radhiallahu anhu). said:

“By Allah, I shall certainly fight whoever separates prayer and Zakat.” [Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1400, Muslim, 20]

Ibn ‘Abbaas (radhiallahu anhu) said:

“Three verses were revealed tîuit mentioned three things together; one of them will not he accepted without the other.”

And he mentioned among them the verse in which Allah (subhanahu ta’ala) says:

“And perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and give Zakat, and Irka’ (i.e. bow down or submit yourselves with obedience to Allah).” [Surah al-Baqarah, 2:43]

And he said:

“Whoever prays and does not give Zakat, it will not be accepted from him.”

O Ummah of Islam, there is great wisdom behind Zakat and it has been prescribed to bring a great deal of benefit to individuals and to society. Allah says:

“Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it” [Surah at-Tawbah, 9:103]

Therefore, Zakat purifies souls from miserliness and stinginess and adorns them with generosity, nobleness and magnanimity. So it  is a means of bringing about growth, increase, blessings, prosperity, purity, compensation, reward, preservation of wealth and warding off evil and problems from it, by Allah’s leave. It also helps to strengthen love, friendship, mutual support and brotherhood between rich and poor, so that the poor man in Muslim society will feel that he is living in an atmosphere of co-operation not conflict, selflessness not selfishness, equity not compulsion, brotherhood not oppression, domination or apathy. He will feel that he is surrounded by gentle and compassionate souls in an atmosphere of dignity and mercy, not those who are merciless and hard-hearted.

Zakat is not to be regarded as an imposition or tax that is taken from reluctant people; rather it is a means of instilling compassion and mercy. It is a means of strengthening the bonds of brotherhood and harmony, whereby society may rise to the highest level and pursue the noblest aims. Thus, this obligation highlights the beauty of this religion, its compassion towards its followers and its superiority over other ideologies such as communism, capitalism and so on, whose supporters claim — falsely — that they are guaranteeing people’s rights and spreading justice and fairness among nations. Can oppressing people be called justice?!

Undermining people’s rights, canceling out private ownership and spreading the class system among them — is this fairness? Can exploiting the resources of other nations be called guaranteeing the rights of others? Rather, this has led to the spread of injustice, lack of security and the spread of theft and fraud, and an increase in crime as poor people resort to all kinds of tricks to make ends meet, because of the pain of their suffering from poverty, want and need.

Brothers in faith, there is a stern, alarming and definite warning concerning the one who does not pay Zakat and the one who falls short in paying it and is careless about it. It is a warning that leaves no excuse, in terms that make one shiver and causes the heart to tremble with fear; if this warning were addressed to deaf mountains, they would crumble and fall.

Allah (subhanahu ta’ala) says:

“And woe to Al-Mushrikun (the disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah, polytheists, idolaters, etc. – see V.2:105). Those who give not the Zakat and they are disbelievers in the Hereafter.” [Surah Fussilat, 41:6-7]

“And those who hoard up gold and silver [Al-Kanz: the money, the Zakat of which has not been paid], and spend it not in the Way of Allah, -announce unto them a painful torment. On the Day when that (Al-Kanz: money, gold and silver, etc., the Zakat of which has not been paid) will be heated in the Fire of Hell and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, (and it will be said unto them):-“This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard.”” [Surah at-Tawbah, 9:34-35]

“And let not those who covetously withhold of that which Allah has bestowed on them of His Bounty (Wealth) think that it is good for them (and so they do not pay the obligatory Zakat). Nay, it will be worse for them; the things which they covetously withheld shall be tied to their necks like a collar on the Day of Resurrection.” [Surah ‘Ali ‘Imran, 3:180]

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said, explaining this verse:

“If Allah gives a person wealth and he does not pay Zakat on it, his wealth will appear to him on the Day of Resurrection in the form of a bald-headed venomous snake with two fangs in its mouth, which will encircle him on the Day of Resurrection, then it will hold him with its jaws and will say: ‘I am your wealth, I am your treasure.'” [Narrated by Ahmad, 2/355; al-Bukhaari, 1403, from the Hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu anhu)]

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said:

“There is no owner of wealth who does not pay Zakat on it, but his wealth will be heated for him in the Fire of Hell and made into plates, with which his sides and forehead will be branded, until Allah passes judgment among His slaves, on a Day the length of which will fifty thousand years. Then he will be shown his path, either to Paradise or to Hell. There is no owner of camels who does not pay Zakat on the. but a vast plain will be spread out for them and the whole herd will be gathered, and they will be made to walk over him. Every time the last of them has passed, the first of them will come, until Allah passes judgment among His slaves, on a Day the length of which will be fifty thousand years. Then he will be shown his path, either to Paradise or to Hell. There is no owner of sheep who does not pay Zakat on them, but a vast plain will be spread out for them and the whole herd will be gathered. They will trample him with their hooves and gore him with their horns, and there will be none among them with twisted horns or missing horns. Every time the last of them has passed, the first of them will come, until Allah passes judgment among His slaves, on a Day the length of which will be fifty thousand years by your reckoning. Then he will he shown his path, either to Paradise or to Hell.” [Narrated by Ahmad, 2/262; al-Bukhaari, 1402; Muslim, 987]

Let those who have thousands and millions pay heed, those who have savings in bank accounts, who own property and businesses, those who have farms and livestock, let them imagine this frightening scenario before Allah (subhanahu ta’ala). For, by Allah, they will not be heated in fire like the Fìre of this world — despite its terrifying intensity; rather they will be heated in the fire of Hell that cannot be imagined and cannot be described in words. When they are heated, he will not he branded with them on just one side of his body; rather all of his body will he branded on all sides, front and back, flanks and forehead. Every time they cool down, they will he reheated and this punishment will not be for just one day or month or year; rather it will be for a Day the length of which is like fifty thousand years.

Tell me – I urge you by Allah — who could bear this great horror? We ask You for Your mercy, O Lord!

“Verily, therein is indeed a reminder for him who has a heart or gives ear while he is heedful.” [Surah Qaf, 50:37]

Fear Allah, O brothers in Islam, and give the Zakat on your wealth willingly, for Allah has given you a great deal and He has bestowed upon you abundant wealth, and He asks you for little. If the rich Muslims today undertook this duty and performed it properly, and spent the Zakat as prescribed in the Sharee’ah, there would be in the world no begging because of want and no beseeching for help because of desperate need; crime, robbery, fraud and stealing would disappear. We ask Allah to open the hearts of the Muslims and make them brothers who cooperate and support one another, whose elders show compassion to their younger ones, whose rich give to their poor, so that they might all prosper and pay attention to the dues of Allah’s slaves.

“And for Allah that is not hard or difficult (i.e. very easy for Allah).” [Surah Ibrahim, 4:20; Surah Faatir, 35:171]

May Allah make the Quran a blessing for me and you, and benefit me and you with the guidance of the leader of the Messengers. I say these words of mine and I ask Allah to forgive us and you and all the Muslims, so ask Him for forgiveness, for He is the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah for His kindness and thanks be to Him for His guidance and blessings. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Slave and His Messenger; may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him and his Family, companions and followers.

To proceed:

O slaves of Allah, fear Allah (subhanahu ta’ala) and give what Allah has enjoined upon you of Zakat. Give it sincerely for the sake of Allah and willingly and make the most of the opportunity to give it before you are penalized for neglecting it. Beware of showing off and seeking a good reputation when giving it, and of annoying its recipients with reminders (of your charity). For Zakat is the right of Allah. It is not permissible to show favoritism by giving it to one who is not entitled to it, or to use it to bring benefit to oneself or ward off harm from oneself, or to protect one’s wealth or to ward off criticism from oneself.

Let both the giver and the taker fear Allah. It is not permissible for one who is not entitled to it to take anything of it. The rich man and the healthy and strong man who could earn a living have no share of it, as is indicated by the report narrated from the leader of humankind (sallallahu alayhi wassallam). [Narrated by at-Tayaalisi,2358; Ahmad, 1/164, 377; Abu Dawood, 1633; at-Tirmidhi, 652; an-Nasaa’i, 5/99,100 – from the Hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr and others (may Allah be pleased with them all).]

Understand – may Allah have mercy on you – that Zakat is of no use and one cannot discharge one’s duties concerning it, unless it is given to one of the eight categories designated by Allah (subhanahu ta’ala) in the verse:

“As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakat) are only for the Fuqara’ (poor), and Al-Masakin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and for to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s Cause (i.e. for Mujahidun – those fighting in the holy wars), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything).” [Surah at-Tawbah, 9:60]

And He concluded this verse with the words:

“a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.”

This is not the place to explain the rulings of Zakat in detail. They can be found in the appropriate books and sources, and whoever wants to may refer to those reference books. For whoever is not able to do that, Allah (subhanahu ta’ala) says:

“So ask of those who know the Scripture [learned men of the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)], if you know not.” [Surah an-Nahl, 16:43]

Finally, send blessings and peace — may Allah have mercy on you – upon the Guide of humankind, the Lamp spreading light, as the Lord, the Kind, the Merciful, has instructed you.

 

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