In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Zakah; the Obligatory Charity

[7:156] My mercy encompasses all things, but I will specify it for the righteous who give Zakah.

Zakah (Obligatory Charity) is one of the major 5 duties required by God from all the submitters (Muslims in Arabic). The others being the Shahada (declaration of faith), Salat (contact prayers), Fasting the month of Ramadan and Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca).

Quran confirms that all our rituals were given to Abraham , who is called the father of Islam (Submission), see 22:78.

[22:78]"You shall strive for the cause of GOD as you should strive for His cause. He has chosen you and has placed no hardship on you in practicing your religion - the religion of your father Abraham. He is the one who named you "Submitters" originally. .........."

[3:67-68] Abraham was neither Jewish , nor Christian; he was a monotheist; a Muslim; he never was an idol-worshiper. The people most worthy of following Abraham are those who follow him and this prophet (Muhammad), and those who believed. God is the Lord of the believers.

[16:123] Then we inspired you (O Muhammad) to follow the religion of Abraham, monotheism; never was he an idol-worshiper.

The same Salat and Zakat that was decreed on us was taught to all those before us .

"Then David rose from the ground , WASHED (wudu) and anointed himself, and put on fresh clothes, he entered the house of the Lord and prostrated (Sujood) himself there" (The Bible, 2 Samuel 12;20)

The vital importance of Zakat is reflected in God's law:

[7:156] My mercy encompasses all things, but I will specify it for the righteous who give Zakah.

Zakat must be given away "on the day of harvest"

[6:141] " ……….. give the due alms (Zakat) on the day of harvest, and do not waste anything. He does not love the wasters."

The wisdom behind the Quranic law that Zakat is paid as soon as the money is earned , is in total agreement with modern economic and monetary laws , which state that the circulation of money is a vital factor for the prosperity of any economy when the money is paid as soon as it is earned there is more circulation, than if it is stacked away and paid after the end of the year. Besides , if the money is going to a good cause , why make the recipients who are in great need , have to wait till the end of the year ??.

Yet, the corrupted Muslims have lost this most important commandment; they give Zakat only once a year. We see here that Zakat must be given away "on the day we receive income."

Moreover, they have invented additional Zakat that is not sanctioned by God (like Zakat Al –fitr ….etc. ) They made it obligatory when God only spoke of ONE Zakat on any income .

Whenever we receive "net income," the "known amount" of Zakat should be paid or set aside. (see 70:24) This known amount as God calls it, is 2.5%. This is the ONLY "known amount" to the submitters (Muslims). This amount, 2.5% was passed down to us, generation after generation, like Salat, from the time of Abraham to our time. We must set aside 2.5% and give it to the specified recipients - the parents, relatives, orphans, the poor, and the traveling alien, in this order (2:215).

Obviously , the Quran encourages us to give to Charity as much as we are able, so if you want to pay more than 2.5% there is no harm , and you will get extra reward But to make a Zakat , like Zakat at Eid a law when God has not authorized it , is to follow a law other than the law of God. This constitutes an act of idolatry .

As you see the Quran defines FIVE recipients of Zakat , 2:215, but as usual the corrupters of this great religion have made different rules and recipients that add more groups to what God has taught us in the Quran.

Zakat must be carefully calculated and given away on a regular basis whenever we receive any income. Government taxes should be deducted, but not other expenses such as debts, mortgages, and living expenses.

According to the Quran, we are to pay Zakat based on our income not on the number of family members as advocated by those who lost the Quran.

Here is the Quranic evidence :

[3:133] "You should eagerly race towards forgiveness from your Lord and a Paradise whose width encompasses the heavens and the earth; it awaits the righteous,
[3:134] "who give to charity during the good times, as well as the bad times."

The words "who give to charity during the good times, as well as the bad times" indicate that God’s law for Charity (Zakat) must be observed equally during the easy times as well as the hard times, not from your excess. A rich person who spends in luxury, owning ten mansions, twenty fancy cars, 10 international resort retreats may not have excess and will not have to pay Zakat as he spends all his money or get it tied in the stock market while an average person making small income who spends reasonably and keep excess money for unexpected expenses, will have to pay Zakat if the law is to pay Zakat from the excess only. A clear unfair system. God is the Most just.

If those who are experiencing hard times were in any way exempted from paying their charity , God would not say these words. Those poor people who may not have any income at one point, will get income from Zakat and from their Zakat they are obligated to give 2.5% from this income to another poor person.

In reality , there is not ONE single Ayat in the Quran that gives any concessions in Zakat to any person if he has a low income . The one who has a low income , if he still obeys God’s law in Zakat , in that is his test , we are all given tests ,some in plenty (like Solomon) and some in hard times (like Job.) God is aware of our needs and our circumstances in all situations, we must always follow His law, and exercise patience.

While God set the obligatory percentage for Zakat on any income we receive, He also left the door open for more charitable works, to give the righteous a chance to earn even more credit - up to 700 times - by paying more to charity, 2:261.

The recipients of this type of charity are clearly mentioned in 9:60, 2:273 and 2:277;

[9:60] Charities shall go to the poor, the needy, the workers who collect them, the new converts, to free the slaves, to those burdened by sudden expenses, in the cause of GOD, and to the traveling alien. Such is GOD's commandment. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.

[2:273] Charity shall go to the poor who are suffering in the cause of GOD, and cannot emigrate. The unaware may think that they are rich, due to their dignity. But you can recognize them by certain signs; they never beg from the people persistently. Whatever charity you give, GOD is fully aware thereof.

[2:177] Righteousness is not turning your faces towards the east or the west. Righteous are those who ……..give the money, cheerfully, to the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the traveling alien, the beggars, and to free the slaves; and they observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat)…..

The specific recipients of the obligatory charity, Zakat, are clearly mentioned in 2:215;

[2:215] They ask you about giving: say, "The charity you give shall go to the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor, and the traveling alien." Any good you do, GOD is fully aware thereof.

As you can see, some of the categories for Zakat and other types of charity overlap.

Verse 2:215 and 2:219 speak about Zakat and charity respectively, using the same term Nafaqa (unifiquun). Although the same word is being used for other charities (in 2:219), the amount is specifically defined in the verse as being "afw," meaning "the excess." Thus, clearly not obligatory.

When we study all the verses in the Quran about Zakat and other types of charity, we realize that Zakat cannot possibly be from "the excess." Instead we learn that it is a known percentage (70:24), which is to be paid out on the same day we receive any income (6:141). We also see that Zakat is specifically mentioned by name (ZAKAT) or expressed as "haqq," meaning "duty," or "haqqun ma'luum," meaning "known duty," and also occasionally described as "Nafaqa" (unifiquun), meaning "to spend," as in 2:215.

Here are the verses of the Quran on the subject of Zakat and charity

Common names for optional charity in the Quran, some of them apply to Zakat also:

  1. Sadaqa or its roots 2:196, 2:263, 2:264, 2:271, 4:114, 9:60, 9:79, 9:103, 9:104 and 58:12
  2. Nafaqa or its roots : 2:219, (these can also be applied to Zakat) 2:261, 2:262, 2:267, 2:265, 2:272, 2:273, 2:274, 3:134, 8:3, 9:121, 22:35, 28:54, 32:16, 63:10.....etc

Common names for Zakat in the Quran (in addition to the shared verses above) :

  1. Zakat 2:43, 2:83, 2:110, 2:177, 2:277, 4:77, 4:162, 5:12, 5:55, 7:156, 9:5, 9:11, 9:18, 9:71, 19:31, 19:55, 21:73, 22:41, 22:78, 24:37, 24:56, 27:3, 31:4, 33:33, 41:7, 58:13, 73:20, and 98:5
  2. Haqq or Haqqahu as in 6:141, 17:26, and 51:19
  3. Haqqun Ma'luum as in 70:24

It is interesting to notice the following;

6:141 is the only verse that sets the timing of Zakat.

70:24 is the only verse that refers to the percentage. It says that it is Ma'luum = Known.

This means Zakat percentage was known at the time of Muhammad, and did not necessitate any correction by God in the Quran. This is exactly the case with the number of rakats of salat and other aspects of it that were not restored in the Quran.

Zakat is the obligatory charity set as 2.5% of the net income, paid year around whenever the person receives an income. It is described in the Quran as a known and obligatory portion of the income. God will not call it known if it was not.

Zakat follows the pattern of all rituals of Islam (Submission), given to Abraham, followed by Muhammad and confirmed again after 1400 years by the messenger of the covenant as being correct and unaltered. God is in full charge of His religion and rituals.