Mohamed A Khalfan (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
Zakat is an Obligation Prescribed, Yet None is Paid in Entire Life.
The indisputable result is self-evident. While Salaat is observed, Zakat is not paid. The wealthy live and die having paid no Zakat in their life time while the poor, in teeming millions – are desperate and their dues denied in their entire life – until they too die, wondering if there was life before death. The poor eventually become free of their earthly suffering and the rich too free of their earthly wealth. All this – woefully culminating in a quick duration that will ruefully seem like a life of “one hour” (see Q.30:55) while what we now see deceptively as a long free-wheeling mortal life.
The verses on Zakat are more numerous for emphasis; explicit in command; definitive and logical in purpose and decisive in practical aspects than for any other obligations, and yet all the practical aspects necessary for compliance are clipped off to render Zakat non-functional and almost nullified, and its purpose defied and defeated.
There are as many as 27 separate and interspersed verses in the Qur’an and each verse links the obligation of Salaat to Zakat. These verses are in a form of twin-obligations. “Aqeemu Swalaat wa Aatu Zakaat’. No wonder, according to Ahaadith, Salaat is not accepted if Zakat is not paid.
One example is a hadith of Imam Ja’far as Sadiq (a.s.) recorded about more than a century after the passing away of the Prophet (s)– It says: “There is no Salaat (accepted) for one paying no Zakat and there is no Zakat (accepted) for one there is no piety” (Bihar al Anwar, Vol. 81, p.252). There is a similar one in Mishkat el Anwar, No. 212 Page 96.
What is more, there are almost that many other separate verses which mention Zakat without linkage to Salaat. There are also verses which differentiate Zakat from Sad’qah as two different issues; and there is also a mention of “amwal” (wealth) which attracts Zakat.
Let us take the example of the verse 02:177. It explains very clearly that in addition to giving away wealth out of love for Allah swt, (meaning Sadaqah), there is again the mention of the twin obligation of keeping up Salaat and paying Zakat, among other things enjoined in the same verse. The verse ends as “……these are they who are true (to themselves) and these are they who are “muttaqoon” (who guard ‘against evil’).”
Therefore, a voluntary Sadaqah paid out of love for Allah swt is not the same as Zakat or a substitute for Zakat when Zakat is wajib and paid out of fear of Allah swt so as not to incur His wrath and chastisement. A person who is acknowledged by Allah swt as a muttaqi in the conduct of his life, never fails to pay Zakat from his wealth.