Allah’s Word commanding “… and estabilish regular Salaat and give regular Zakat” are referred to in many parts of the Qur’an. From this we can conclude that after Salaat, Zakaat is the most important act in Islam.
The following are some verses from the Holy Qur’an and some Ahadith showing the importance and benefits of Zakat.
Verses from the Holy Qur’an about zakat/zakah:
1. The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn. It grows seven ears and each ear has hundred grains. Allah increases manifold to whom He pleases.” (al-Baqarah:261)
2. By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give (freely) of that which you love; and Allah knows well whatever you give”. (Aal-i-lmran: 92)
3. “And nothing do you spend in the least (in His cause) but He replaces it, for He is the Best of those who grant Sustenance.” (Sabaa: 39)
4. “And let not those who covetously withhold of the gifts, which Allah has given them of His Grace, think that it is good for them. No, it will be worse for them. Soon shall the things, which they covetously withheld, be tied to their necks like a twisted collar, on the Day of Judgment. To Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth. And Allah knows all that you do.” (Aal-i-lmran: 180)
5. “Of their good take alms, so that you might purify and sanctify them …” (Tauba: 103)
Ahadith-e-Mubarakah about zakat (Sayings of Holy Prophet S.A.W.W):
1. Hazrat Umar Farooq (radi Allahu anhu) narrated that our beloved Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said that the loss of wealth that one suffers on land or sea is due to not paying Zakat. (Tibraani)
2. Abu Hurairah (radi Allahu anhu) narrated that our beloved Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said that three persons would enter the Hell first. One of them, is the person who does not give Allah’s rightful share (Zakaat & Sadaqah) from his wealth. (Ibn-e-Khazema & Habaan)
3. Hazrat Abu Hurairah (radi Allahu anhu) narrated that our beloved Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said that wealth does not decrease when you give Sadaqah; and Allah increases the esteem of the one who forgives other people’s mistakes; and Allah raises the status of the one who practices humbleness for His sake. (Bukhari & Muslim)
4. Hazrat Abu Ayyub (radi Allahu anhu) narrated that a man asked the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) about a deed that would take him to Heaven. Our beloved Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) replied: Pray to Allah. Do not commit Shirk (do not hold any partners with Him), keep performing Salaah, give Zakat, and be kind to everyone. (Riyad-us-Saliheen)
5. Hazrat Abdullah bin Masu’d (radi Allahu anhu) has said that we were commanded to perform Salaah and give Zakat, and that Salah is not accepted of the person who does not give Zakat despite eligibility. (Tibraani)
6. Bazzaz narrated from Hazrat Alqamah (radi Allahu anhu) reporting that our beloved Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has said that the completion of one’s Islam is dependent upon giving away Zakat from one’s wealth.
It is stated in the Hadith that by giving Zakat the following benefits are derived:
1. Gain the pleasure of Allah,
2. Increase in wealth and protection from losses,
3. Allah’s forgiveness and blessings,
4. Protection from the wrath of Allah and from a bad death,
5. A shelter on the Day of Judgment,
6. Security from seventy misfortunes.
Just as Salaat is the most important act of worship, which has to be performed bodily, so is Zakat the main act of worship which has to be performed monetarily.
Those who fulfill this duty have been promised abundant reward in this world and Hereafter. Whoever evades Zakaat has been sternly warned in the Qur’an and Hadith of the consequences. Linguistically, Zakat has two meanings: purification and growth.
Technically, it means to purify one’s possession of wealth by distributing a prescribed amount to the poor, the indigent, the slaves or captives, and the wayfarer.
Major benefits of giving Zakat:
1. It reminds Muslims of the fact that whatever wealth they may possess is due to the blessings of Allah and as such it is to be spent according to His Commands.
2. Zakat functions as a social security for all. Those who have enough money today pay for what they have. If they need money tomorrow they will get what is necessary to help them live decently.
3. The Zakat payer pays his dues to Allah as an act of worship, a tof submission and an acknowledgment of gratitude. The receiver of Zakat receives it as a grant from Allah out of His bounty, a favour for which he is
thankful to Allah.
4. Economically, Zakat is the best check against hoarding. Those who do not invest their wealth but prefer to save or hoard it would see their wealth dwindling year after year at the rate of the payable Zakat. This helps increase production and stimulates supply because it is a redistribution of income that enhances the demand by putting more real purchasing power in the hands of poor.