Rightly warned by the Holy Prophet: “Human beings are asleep; When they die, they wake up” (to the truth), But then after death, the time is up for a fate which is irreversible – eternal, with no room for ‘bargaining or friendship’ Khalaas! (2:254). Those who sinned would wish they had swapped their positions with those sinned at – right in this world during their earthly life. Some would wish they could return and amend their deeds.
We cannot say that we never came across the following verses in the Qur’an and got warned:
“Lest a soul should say: ‘O Woe to me! For what I fell short of my duty to Allah, and most surely I was of those who laughed to scorn” (39:56)
“Or it (soul) should say had Allah guided me I should certainly have been of those who guard (against evil)” (39:57) and against the sin.
“Or it (soul) should say when it sees the punishment: Were there only a returning for me, I should be of the doers of good” (39:58)
“Aye! My communications (ayaat) came to you but you rejected them, and you were proud and you were one of the disbelievers” (39:59)
And yet one more: “… …Or could we be sent back so that we should act other than did we act? Indeed they have lost their souls and that which they forged has gone away from them” (7:53). A forge against wajibat.
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s) said:
One who avoids paying Zakat equal to (even) one carat (four grains of barley) is neither a believer nor a Muslim. He is the same whose condition at the time of death is mentioned by Allah that he shall say, “Send me back my Lord, send me back, haply I may do good in that which I left.” (Wasael-ush-Shia Vol.6 pg18)
But then, if all this is clearly warned in the Qur’an, the arrogant (mustakbireen) will say for now: “so what”? How true then that the Prophet will complain before Allah that his people have treated this Qur’an as a forsaken thing. (See 25:30)
And Allah says: “Do they not then reflect on the Quran? Nay, on the hearts there are locks.” (47:24)
The community on Zanzibar (Unguja Island) with two generations passed is one example given in this article.. There is however, poverty in every generation of our community and in other regions too and the fate of people waking up to the truth only upon dying continues even now. There can be no returning for any soul after death which seals the fate. The past case of Zanzibar is a Wake Up Call for all – every where – for all the time.
So again the same question that should haunt us is: If Zakaat is wajib, if it is the dues for the poor, and if there are poor and needy amidst us, how is it that we never pay Zakaat which need to be precisely calculated annually like any other debts, and paid with the express niyyat of Zakaat to clear these annual debts?
Even a more daunting question is: What is the fate of our parents, and other near and dear dead ones who are now dead and never paid the wajib dues of Zakaat though they may have paid the voluntary sadaqaat or infaq which are not substitutes for the obligatory Zakaat – and they dies leaving wealth behind to their heirs, which included the dues unpaid to the poor?
However, these two questions, crucial as they are to our fate after death, will linger on begging the answers that will never come as each of us falls a prey to death, and upon death, to wake up to the truth when it is of no use.
The answer to the “lack of two answers” can be derived from the Qur’anic verses 96:6 and 7. There arise in man arrogance and rebellion against Allah in what He asks for in return of His bounties. When a person thinks he is not needy and looks upon himself self dependent, he disowns any divine obligations, like Zakaat, attached to a wealth he calls entirely his. He enjoys lavishly his self deception reinforced my the misguidance which is contradictory to the Qur’an. He clings to the mis-guidance as if his life hangs on to because it nourishes well his arrogance and rebellion. The wealth spells doom for him.
The poor on the other hand with no wealth escapes the burden of the obligation of Zakaat on his head and therefore he safely becomes exempt from the test that dooms the soul of the rich who was arrogant and rebellious. At the end, by the grace of Allah s.w.t, the poor still survives the poverty in his life which is a mere fleeting moment. The rish will wish he had swapped the positions with the poor.
Now the one good news in concluding this dastan of the poor – there were some brothers and sisters who did meet their obligations while alive by paying Zakaat as the “welcome price” for being rich and secured the divine guarantee of “no fear and no grief” (Q 2:227); and there are those who do the same while they await death and the number of such Allah fearing the people in the community is slowly increasing.
This is because Zakaat is on “wealth” (the Qur’anic word “amwaal”) in whatever forms it is now, as it was before, and for the poor also now as it was before, The wajibaat if Zakaat, like that of Khums, is relevant for all the times. Nullifying the relevance of any one of the two is putting into doubt the relevance of the other also for modern times!
Any attempt to nullify the relevance of Zakaat to the present modern form of wealth is like claiming falsely that the rich of the modern time are also happily exempt from a painful punishment if they do not spend in Allah’s ways from the wealth they accumulate, hoard and bank or invest because the verse 9:34 warns of the punishment for those who are “hoarding up gold and silver” which constituted wealth during the time of its revelation and not the wealth of modern times.