What is zakah (alms)? What is the importance of zakah for the person who gives and who receives it?

What is zakah?

Lexically, zakah means, increase, cleaning, abundance, good manners and praise; as a religious term, it means giving away some part of certain goods to certain people in order to please Allah.

Zakah, which is one of the financial worships, is one of the five pillars of Islam; it became obligatory in Madinah in the second year of the Hegira. The following is stated in the Quran: “And be steadfast in prayer; give Zakat...” (al-Baqara, 2/43, 110; al-Hajj, 22/78; an-Nur, 24/56; al-Mujadala, 58/13; al-Muzzammil, 73/20); “Of their wealth take alms, that so thou mightest purify and sanctify them; and pray on their behalf. Verily thy prayers are a source of security for them: and Allah is One Who heareth and knoweth.” (at-Tawbah, 9/103).

The importance of zakah (alms) for the person who receives it

* Zakah saves the person who receives it from becoming the slave of his vital needs. There is nothing more humiliating for a person to be in a state of contempt and misery and needing others because of not being able to meet his vital needs. Therefore, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stated the following in one of his prayers: "O Allah! I ask taqwa, chastity and wealth from you."

* Zakah makes the poor work. The following is stated in hadiths: "The hand that gives is superior to the hand that receives." "A strong believer is better than a weak believer." A poor person will try to be a hand that gives not a hand that receives; he will try to be strong not weak. Besides, the following hadith also encourages believers to work: "Nobody has eaten a better meal than what he has earned by working."

* Zakah deadens the feeling of jealousy in the poor. It eliminates the enmity to be felt against the wealthy. Thus, there will be no discrimination between the poor and the rich in the community.

* Zakah elevates the prestige of the poor in the community. For, zakah is the right of the poor. It is not a donation of the rich. The rich cannot be freed of the responsibility unless they find the poor and give zakah. Since the poor free the rich of the responsibility of zakah, the prestige of the poor is higher in the community. 

The importance of zakah (alms) for the person who gives it 

* Zakah saves the individual from adoring matter. It breaks the chain of passion in man. It prevents the heart from hardening and the soul from getting wild.

* Zakah is the key to compassion for people.

* Zakah eternalizes one's property. The property spent for the good of the public in the way of Allah will not be lost but eternalized.  

* Zakah forms and maintains the balance between the spirit and the body.

* Zakah is an expression of high thanks to Allah. Thanks uttered by the tongue only will not fulfill the duty of thanking for the property. Thanking for the property is fulfilled through zakah and sadaqah.  

* Zakah cleans the property. Zakah purifies the individual of stinginess and his property of enmity, jealousy, theft and evil eyes. Thus, it provides security of property and life for man.  

* Zakah protects the owner from being the slave of the property and liberates him. The following is stated in a hadith:

"Those who adore gold, silver (money) and velvet (luxury) will be destroyed."

* Zakah develops the personality of the rich and leads them to goodness. It increases their value and prestige in the community.  

* Zakah increases property. It causes the property to grow and to be abundant. There is a promise given by Allah regarding the issue.

Not giving zakah causes the property to decrease and diminish.

* Zakah encourages the individual to invest.

* Zakah is a remedy for the love of the world in the heart.  

* Zakah protects Muslims from the mischief (testing) of property. The following is stated in a verse:

"Your riches and your children may be but a trial: but in the Presence of Allah is the highest Reward." (at-Taghabun, 15).

The following is stated in a hadith:

"There is a mischief (testing) for every ummah. The mischief of my ummah is property."

* Zakah makes a Muslim disciplined in terms of finance.

* Zakah reminds the individual of the importance of financial power.

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