Our religion commands and encourages working and views it as a high virtue; it forbids and disapproves laziness and begging.
It is the duty of a Muslim to give food to the poor and to offer the one who asks for something. However, begging, which impairs human honor and virtue, shatters personality and leads to the exploitation of benevolent people’s pure feelings, is regarded as an ugly act.
The Prophet stated that it is permitted to ask for something for only three categories of people. They are as follows: the people who are indebted because of acting as a guarantor for a person or a community and cannot pay their debts; people all of whose property was destroyed in a disaster; and people who became destitute and whose poverty is acknowledged by people who know them. It is not regarded permissible for people other than those who have a day’s food and the strength to work for livelihood to beg. (Muslim, Zakat, 109)
The Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, regarded begging which is taken as an occupation as disgrace and said:
“Some among you do not ever abandon begging. Finally, on the Day of Resurrection, that dishonorable person will meet Allah with no flesh left on his face.” (Muslim, Zakat, 103)
“Whoever continues to beg people for their property in order to accumulate much property, surely asks for a piece of fire…” (Muslim, Zakat, 105).
“It is better for one among you to bring a load of firewood on his back and give charity out of it (and satisfy his own need) and be independent of people, than that he should beg from people, whether they give him anything or refuse him (Muslim, Zakat, 107)
Islam does not deem Muslims who do not work, who sit idly, make do with a morsel and a coat, and who pose burden on other Muslims as good Muslims. As is understood in the hadiths above, it is strictly forbidden to beg and to take begging as an occupation.
Begging is no more than laziness and manipulating philanthropic feelings of the community. Such people do not even abstain from interpreting the idea of tawakkul (putting one’s trust in God) according to themselves. They deem it tawakkul to sit back idly and expect some things from others.
There is no other religion or moral system which teach humans the ways to preserve their integrity, morality and honor as much as Islam does. In Islam, the future of the community and its honor and integrity are important; similarly the honor of one’s self is important and must absolutely be preserved. Each Muslim is responsible to preserve that valuable trust. So, in order to preserve that trust, people are shown all the ways of virtue and are commanded to abstain from evil.
Each evil takes away certain things from one’s self and honor. And the situation of those begging without any need is even worse. It is because they cause their honor and respectability to decay and cause themselves to fall into the pit of spiritual bankruptcy. For this reason, Islam, which strongly commands helping the destitute and the weak, did forbid those who are not poor and are not in need from begging, just as strongly.
While The Prophet (PBUH) tried to keep Muslims away from such an evil as begging on the one hand, on the other hand, he advised them to work and he wanted no Muslim to prefer the ignominy of begging to the honor of working for one’s livelihood.
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Is it permissible to give money to beggars? If they are not in need, do the alms we give have rewards?
The help we offer for the sake of Allah’s acceptance and approval is not left without a reward. Whether the other party deserves it or not does not change this judgment. However, as much as possible, we should search for the real needy people and donate accordingly.
Whatever motive lies beneath begging, there is a bitter reality that we all will accept: That illness is an unyielding wound of the society.
As it seems, beggars fall into these categories: those deprived of a chance of finding a job and working because of such bodily handicaps as paralysis, physical disability, illness or old age; those who, though handicapped, do not make do with what they have and crave ample money; those who are physically and spiritually sound but choose begging as a means of livelihood and as a job.
Prophet Muhammad, who carried out radical and essential revolutions in society, brought about certain solutions to the illness of begging. The following anecdote reveals the responsibility laid on those who beg though they are in no need, and shows us in which circumstances begging can be permitted:
Anas bin Malik narrates:
One day, a person from Ansar came to The Prophet and asked for something. The Prophet asked him:
“Do you have anything at home?”
“Yes, Allah’s Messenger, we have a piece of cloth. We lay some of it beneath us, and with some of it we cover ourselves. We have a water pot; we drink water from it.”
“Then, get up immediately, bring both your cloth and water pot to me.”
The person fetched them both.
The Prophet took the cloth and the water pot in his hand, and showing them to the people who were present, he asked, “Is there anybody who will buy these two articles?”
One person among them said, “I will give one Dirham to both.”
The Prophet repeated a couple of times: “Is there not anybody who gives more than one Dirham?” Afterwards, someone else said, “I will buy them in return for two Dirhams.” The Prophet sold the cloth and the water pot to that person. He took the two Dirhams and gave it to the possessor of the articles; then he said:
“Buy food with one Dirham of this money and give it to your family; and with the other one Dirham, buy an axe and bring it to me.”
The man left, bought an axe and came back. The Prophet put a stick to the axe himself. Giving it to the man, he said: “Take this, go and cut some wood, gather it and sell. I should not see you for fifteen days.”
The man went away, cut wood, gathered and sold it. When he came to the presence of the Prophet, he had made fifteen Dirhams. With some of it, he bought clothes and with some, foods. Thereupon, The Prophet said:
“Instead of coming to the Day of Resurrection as a black point because of begging, this state of yours is better.
“Begging is permissible only for the following three kinds of people: 1. The one stricken by poverty which causes one ‘to sprawl on the earth’ (extreme poverty), 2. The one in insurmountable debt, 3. The one who took on blood money in order to reconcile people.” In another narration, there is a fourth condition: “The one who suffers a very painful chronic illness can ask for as much money as he is in need of.” 1
It is clearly understood from the hadith (saying of The Prophet) that only the one who is so distressed, handicapped and disabled to work - if there is no one to take care of him/her, and if the state does not help, either - can ask from others only so much money as to meet his/her essential needs, and beg for it. The state of being indebted should also be added to those conditions. Other than those requisite conditions, those who take begging as a means of livelihood incur a grave responsibility. The Prophet’s warnings for such people are as follows:
“Whoever asks from people their possessions in order to increase his/her possessions, s/he asks for but a piece of fire. Either for less of it, or for more, as s/he wills.” 2
That hadith views begging, without the need to do so, as non-permitted and forbidden, indicating that it results in punishment in Hell.
Therefore, such people’s proliferating should not be allowed so that the number of people committing such forbidden acts would not increase.
The intended meaning in one of the verses in the chapter ad-Duha in the Qur’an, meaning “Nor chide and drive away the petitioner.” is ‘not to turn down the one who asks a question of wisdom and who wants to learn something’. Otherwise, it should not be interpreted as not turning down anybody asking for something (3).This is because begging would be encouraged that way.
Helal – Haram (The Permitted – The Forbidden)
Calculation Of Zakat
Zakat must be paid by every free Muslim, man or woman, who has a nisab (the required amount of wealth). As for the insane and children who have a nisab, if their wealth is under disposal or in circulation, their guardians pay it on their behalf. If a person dies before paying it, it must be taken from the estate before paying off any debts, if there are any, and the heirs share the inheritance. Conditions for Nisab. Nisab is conditioned by the following:
* Nisab is the amount of wealth remaining after meeting all expenses for such vital necessities as food, clothes, housing, and a mount. Thus, one does not have to pay zakat on what he or she needs to make a living, such as tools or machines related to carpentry, farming, tailoring, or working as a doctor. All debts are subtracted from one's wealth. If one has enough secured credit to pay off the debt, it is added to one's wealth, and if the resultant wealth reaches the nisab, one must pay zakat.
* For many items subject to zakat (e.g., money, gold, silver, and cattle), a full year of the Islamic calendar should pass, starting from the day of the nisab's possession. If the wealth possessed decreases during the year but is still possessed one year later, zakat must be paid. What matters is the availability of nisab at the beginning and end of the year. However, this condition does not apply to plantations and fruits, for their zakat should be paid, or at least calculated, on the harvest day and include what has been consumed before the harvest.
* In short, there are two types of zakat: one grows by itself (e.g., crops and fruits), and the other is used for growing and production (e.g., money, merchandise, and cattle). In the former case, zakat should be paid at harvest time; in the later, at the end of the year.
* The wealth subject to zakat should be actively or potentially increasing, growing, or productive. This condition will be explained below.
* One must have private, doubtless ownership or possession and the right of disposal of the wealth liable to zakat.
Intention. Since paying zakat is an act of worship, its validity depends upon one's sincere intention to pay it for God's sake. If one pays it without making the intention, one can still intend while the wealth expended as zakat has not yet been consumed.
How can I calculate zakath on deposited money in Islamic bank?
You must pay alms via the latest total amount of money. So, you have to give alms the fortieth of both the capital money and its profit.
What is the importance of zakah (alms) in terms of the community?
* Zakah (alms) is the balance of power in ownership. It neither eliminates the property of its owner nor does it leave it all to its owner, depriving the poor from it. It divides the property between the poor and the rich based on certain rates.
* Zakah is a kind of social security and insurance. Among the aims of zakah are to help the needy, to support weak people like the poor, the destitute, those who are in debt and the travelers who cannot reach their destination. Everything that strengthens the personality of the individual that makes him economically strong and that improves his material and spiritual means strengthens the community, too.
* Zakah is an insurance that covers all classes that are in need all of their needs regarding their bodies, spirits and ethics. The first foundations of modern social security were laid in 1941. Representatives from the UK and the USA convened for the treaty of the Atlantic in 1941 and decided to set up a social security organization for individuals. However, Islam introduced the organization of zakah 14 centuries ago.
* Zakah eliminates the gaps and differences between the rich and the poor in the society. It decreases the distance between classes and enables the formation of the middle class.
The increase in the number of the middle class citizens will affect the market in the positive way. The property will not be something that is owned by one class only; the purchasing power of the poor will increase, too. Not only the rich but also a great portion of the community will be able to meet their needs and live comfortably in the community.
Verse 7 of the chapter of al-Hashr prohibits the property from being some wealth that is circulated among the rich only. This can be achieved only through zakah.
* Zakah prevents money from being stockpiled; it leads money to investment. For, it is given from the capital not from the profit; so it will decrease if it is not put in business. The owner will invest the money in order to prevent it from being decreased; and he will try to increase it.
* Zakah enables social balance. God Almighty created His servants differently in terms of both nature and living standards. Some of them are; rich some are poor and some are in between.
The following is stated in a verse:
"Allah has bestowed His gifts of sustenance more freely on some of you than on others." (an-Nahl, 71)
It is impossible for everyone to have the same amount of income because there are different duties and jobs in the society that are different from one another in terms of responsibilities and working conditions. If some duties and professions are neglected, its impacts will cause irreparable harms to the society. If all the duties had the same salaries, nobody would want to do the harder works; everybody would prefer the easier ones. Thus, the harder jobs and the jobs that encumber more responsibilities would be neglected and life system would be broken.
Therefore, it is a necessity for people to be different in terms of income and life standards. However, a bridge is necessary in order to prevent this difference from forming a cliff. This bridge is zakah.
* Zakah fastens together the individuals of a community.
Zakah fastens together the individuals since it is a kind of social solidarity. The rich will develop the feelings of love, compassion and mercy toward the poor. The poor will develop the feelings of obedience, respect, working carefully toward the rich. The feelings of jealousy, enmity, and envy will be soothed and even eliminated. The rich will not oppress the poor and put them under obligation; the poor will not develop the feelings of humility, slavery, grudge and enmity toward the rich. The following is stated in a hadith: "The heart makes a person love the one who does him a favor and makes a person dislike the one who treats him badly."
* Zakah prevents individuals from nurturing grudge and hatred and from cooperating with the enemies of the society and the subverters. If the rich do not meet the needs of the poor, necessity and financial difficulty will cause them to join the enemies of Muslims or will cause them to do evil deeds like stealing, robbing or killing.
* Zakah is a door to investment and a great initiative to development. Zakah has both social and economic aspects. Therefore, it is an initiative to development.
* The difference between the rich and the poor has always caused a struggle of classes that has been going on openly or secretly since the beginning of social life - The revolutions and bloody riots seen in history are all the manifestations of this struggle that is the struggle of "you have; I do not have". Islam introduced the institutions of zakah, sadaqah and foundations in order to soothe this struggle existing since the start of community life; it also trained its followers to have patience, content and consent to qadar. Neither the pride of wealth nor the envy caused by poverty is seen among believers who have been trained like that.
A question about Sadaqa
Sadaka or offering are good deeds, but not obligatory acts. They are just worship, pray and supplication to Allah Almighty. Allah is the True Healer alone. Sadaka should be offered just for the sake of Allah. Our intention should be like this in any case.
Furthermore, since man is subject to endless tribulations and afflicted with innumerable enemies despite his boundless impotence, and suffers from endless needs and has innumerable desires despite his boundless poverty, after belief, his fundamental innate duty is supplication. As for supplication, it is the basis of worship of God and servitude to Him. In order to secure a desire or wish he cannot obtain, a child will either cry or ask for it, that is, he will supplicate through the tongue of his impotence either actively or verbally, and will be successful in securing it. In the same way, man is like a delicate, petted child in the world of all living creatures. He has to either weep at the Court of the Most Merciful and Compassionate One through his weakness and impotence, or supplicate through his poverty and need, so that the things he wants may be made subject to him, or he may offer thanks for their being made so. Otherwise like a silly child who creates a fuss over a fly, saying: "With my own strength I subjugate things it is not possible to subjugate and things a thousand times more powerful, and I make them obey me through my own ideas and measures," he displays ingratitude for the bounties. And just as this is contrary to man's innate nature, so too he makes himself deserving of severe punishment.
Can a woman give her zakat to her maternal grandmother?
One cannot give alms (zakat) to his wife, to his usul (father, grandfather, mother, grandmother, etc.) and to his furu’ (children and grandchildren) even if they are poor. He cannot give alms to his wife who is in iddah (waiting) period (When a woman is divorced or her husband dies, she must wait for a prescribed period of time before she can remarry.) either, because the benefit of this zakat given to her partially belongs to him. However, this benefit must be totally away from him.
According to Imam Azam, a woman cannot give her zakat to her husband who is poor either, because according to the tradition, there is a partnership of benefit between the two. According to the two Imams, a woman can give her zakat to her husband who is poor.
Is it permissible to help the poor people regardless of their religion and race?
a. Sadaka can be given to any person regardless of his/her religion and race. So it is permissible to feed the poor non-Muslims in order to make their hearts reconcile with Islam. For more information about this subject please click on the link given below.
b. There is no any limit. You can feed as many people as you want for 60 days.
Is it necessary to pay the zakat of the goods that one has lent to others?
The ownership of goods and having them at hand at the same time
There are some conditions for the zakat of the goods to be wajib and it is also necessary to have them at hand. Then, along with owning some goods, it is necessary to have them at hand or at one’s proxy’s hands in reality or by default. It is not necessary to pay zakat of the goods that belong to the owner but that have been held by others and that are not expected to receive again. (1) Let us give some examples:
a) A debt that is denied,
b) Goods or money that have been grabbed by others
Even if the grabber accepts that he has grabbed the goods, it is not necessary to pay the zakat of them unless they are returned to the owner.
c) Goods or money that have been lost,
d) Goods or money that have been dropped into the sea,
e) Goods or money that have been buried in the desert but the place where they have been buried has been forgotten or has become uncertain,
The goods or money that have been buried in one’s house but that have been forgotten are excluded because it is possible to find them through a thorough search. (2) However, if the goods or money have been buried in the garden or field but have been forgotten, there are two views about it: According to some scholars, it is necessary to pay zakat of them because it is possible to find them. According to others, it is not necessary to pay zakat of them because it is very difficult to dig the whole field or the garden.
Similarly, it is necessary to pay the zakat of a debt to be received even if the person to pay it denies it if there is strong document or witnesses confirming it. If there is no document or witness, then it is not necessary. That is the sound view. (3)
If some documents or witnesses appear about a debt after years pass, it is not necessary to pay zakat for it. However, when one year passes after it is paid, the zakat of it is paid. According to some fiqh scholars, when the money is received, the zakat of that year is paid; the zakat for previous years is not paid. However, if the qadi (judge) of that period knows about that debt, that is, if it is confirmed through official documents, then the zakat of previous years is paid too. (4)
If the debtor has gone bankrupt :
If a debtor goes bankrupt and after some years improves and if the qadi knows about the state of bankruptcy, it is wajib to pay the zakat of the previous years if the debt is paid according to Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Abu Yusuf. (5)
If the debtor accepts that he owes when there is nobody else around but denies when other people are present:
If the debtor denies that he owes when other people are present and accepts that he owes when he is alone with the creditor, then it is not added to the amount of the money out of which zakat is paid; it is not necessary to pay zakat for it.
If the debtor accepts that he owes but denies it when he is in the presence of a judge, then it becomes necessary to listen to the witnesses; if the judge decides in favor of the creditor after listening to the witnesses, then the zakat of that debt is calculated beginning from the date of the decision. (6)
If the debtor flees: If the debtor flees so as not to pay his debt and if the creditor can catch him or makes a proxy catch him, then it is necessary to pay the zakat of that debt. If he cannot catch him, then it is not necessary to pay zakat for it. (7)
Debts are divided into three:
1- Strong debts. 2- Medium debts. 3- Weak debts
1- Strong debts: Money and commercial goods lent to someone are regarded as strong debts. If they are not denied by the debtor, or if they are denied but the creditor has bonds and witnesses about it, it is necessary to pay zakat of them. It is also necessary to pay the zakat of the previous years. However, the zakat can be delayed till the payment is received. Accordingly, if the gold you will receive is more than the amount of nisab (minimum number, quantity or amount of assets the possession or ownership of which makes a person liable to pay zakat), you need to pay zakat for each year.
2- Medium debts: The goods that are not commercial are medium debts: like used clothes, the rents of the houses, etc. The zakat of them is calculated beginning from the date they are received; zakat is not paid for them unless they are more than the amount of nisab.
3- Weak debts: They are the values that have no equivalents in terms of goods; like the inheritance, mahr (dowry) and diyya (blood money or ransom). Zakat is paid for those kinds of goods beginning from the date they are received only if they are more than the amount of nisab and after a year passes.
Is it permitted to deposit money in the bank without interest and to keep money in demand deposit in the bank?
Such a transaction is not interest and is permitted. However, it is more appropriate not to keep money in banks so as not to support the companies which perform interest-related transactions.
In our time, it is important that Muslims should be very careful about interest and interest-related transactions and that they should not engage in it in the slightest. This is because the market and commercial dealings have come to such a state that they force one into interest and give the assumption that they cannot carry on without interest.
So under such circumstances, it is vital that a believer behave watchfully and reasonably so that his/her faith is not harmed.
However, economical conditions and principles of our time bring traders face to face with interest-related companies even if indirectly. And this happens through taking and giving bank checks, collecting debts, sending money orders and so on.
In this case, selling the check or voucher which is not yet due for less amount than the amount written on it is not permitted, as it is a direct involvement in interest. However, as there is no other way in collecting check and voucher money or otherwise it would be very hard to carry out transactions, one does not involve in interest if one performs transaction by paying normal expenses of dealings. This is because in that there is no state like keeping the money and obtaining interest. To money orders, too, the same principles apply. When the money sent by the customer or by the debtor comes through money order of a bank, neither the customer nor the owner engages in interest in any way. Actually, the money order is notified on its due date, and the owner goes and withdraws his/her money.
All that said, it is best to carry out such dealings without opening an account. If commercial transactions do not function without opening a small account, as the accumulating interest will be left to the bank, this means support to an interest-related organization however little it is. It is most reasonable not to leave money in the bank.
Mehmed Paksu İbadet Hayatımız-1
How is Zakah Paid?
Zakah for gold, silver, cereals, domestic animals and commercial commodities that are subject to zakah can be paid by giving some of those goods themselves or their equivalents. It is up to the person who pays zakah. Accordingly, a person who has gold can pay its zakah as gold, fabrics, cereals, silver, etc. However, it is better to prefer the way that is more useful for the poor. Zakah for something that has reached the amount called nisab can be given to the poor without waiting for one year to pass because the amount of nisab, which is the cause for the obligation of zakah, is present. It is permissible to pay a debt before its time is due. It is a deed that is favorable for the poor. However, if that thing has not reached the amount of nisab, it is not permissible to pay zakah for it before its time is due. If something has reached the amount of nisab, it is permissible to pay zakah for a few years for that thing. If this amount is present at the end of the year, zakah will have been paid. If the amount is less than nisab amount, the money paid will be regarded as sadaqah. If it has increased, zakah is given for the difference.
* If zakah is given to a poor person who has a lot of children and if this amount is divided into the number of the family members, if no members receives as much as nisab amount, zakah given to them is not regarded as nisab amount. There is no drawback to such payments.
* If a person allows a poor person to live in his house freely with the intention of zakah, it is not regarded as zakah because the poor person is not given anything.
* In commercial corporations, each partner is not regarded as a person who has to pay zakah based on the total amount of goods. If the share of each partner reaches the amount of nisab, each one of them has to pay zakah. If the share of a partner does not reach the amount of nisab, he does not pay zakah if he has no other goods.
Is it permissible to regard receivables as zakah?
According to Hanafis, it is not appropriate toregard receivables as zakah because when zakah is given, it is necessary to own the money at that time and to give it with the intention of zakah. Therefore, the best thing to do for the creditor is to give zakah to his debtor and for the debtor to pay his debt to the creditor with this money. However, it is not appropriate to lay it as a condition while giving zakah. That is, it is not permissible for the creditor to say to a needy person who owes him some money, "I will give you zakah if you agree to pay your debt to me."
However, if both parties have this as an intention but do not lay it as a condition, the money the creditor gives to the debtor is regarded as zakah and when the debtor pays his debt with that money, he is relieved of his debt. If the debtor says to the creditor, "I am not good financially; if you give me zakah, I will pay your debt",and if the creditor gives him zakah and he pays his debt, it is permissible. For, the money is not given by laying a condition. A suggestion takes place. (al-Anwar, l/151)
Due to this property of the issue some scholars say, "It is necessary to give zakah to the debtor and then ask him to pay his debt immediately after giving it" to regard the receivable as zakah while other scholars say, "The debtor needs to borrow money from somebody else and pay it to the creditor; then, the creditor needs to give him zakah; thus, the debtor will be relieved of his debt." The practices in the past were like that. Such practices were done in the past in order to prevent regarding receivables as zakah and to apply the condition of owning the money while giving zakah.
However, this practice, which interprets owning the money in a narrow sense, can hurt the feelings of the debtor; therefore, according to the information given in Islamic Researches Catechism and the decrees showing the view of the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs, it can be enough to say to the debtor, “I regard your debt as my zakah; do not feel indebted to me. You do not owe anything to me.” There is no need to use the method of owning the money while giving zakah by giving the money first and asking the money back after it, which can offend the debtor. It is stated that to interpret owning the money in this wide sense is favorable for the needy people; therefore, it should be preferred.
Attention is drawn to the fact that this view relieves the debtor and makes it easy for the creditor to regard his receivables as zakah. If there is nothing else to do to settle the issue, and if the debtor is needy, this view can be used.
Can sadaqah, zakah, fitrah be given to poor non-Muslims?
As it is known, one of the groups zakah can be given to is “those whose hearts are to be reconciled with Islam". Therefore, if it is permissible to give zakah to some people, it is also permissible to give them sadaqah. Thus, they will warm toward Islam or will be prevented from harming Muslims. However, they should not use this sadaqah against Muslims; they should use it to meet their needs.
What are the frequently asked questions about zakat and fitrah and their answers?
In the dictionary, zakat 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.
Zakat, 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 Hegira. The following is stated in the Quran: “And be steadfast in prayer; give Zakat...” (al-Baqara, 2/43, 110; 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).
Who is obliged to give zakat?
A person must be a Muslim, free, sane, should have attained the age of puberty, he must have money or goods that increase, that is, which bring yield, more than his debts and his essential needs and equal to or more than the amount of nisab to be obliged to give zakat.
What does nisab mean? What is the amount of nisab?
Nisab is the criterion of richness determined for the kinds of worship like zakat, sadaqah al-fitr (fitrah) (sadaqah paid in Ramadan in order to purify the act of fasting), qurban (animal sacrifice). Nisab can also be defined as the minimum criterion of richness. If a person has money or goods equal to nisab apart from his debts and essential needs, he is regarded to be rich in terms of religion. Such a person cannot receive zakat or sadaqah, and he is obliged to give fitrah and sacrifice qurban. If that extra money or goods has the quality of increasing and if one year passes after owning it, it becomes necessary to pay zakat for it.
Nisab, the minimum limit of being rich, was determined by Hazrat Prophet (pbuh). Those minimum limits show the average standard of living and the criterion of richness of the Islamic community of that time. The amounts of nisab determined by hadiths can be listed as follows; 80,18 grams of gold or its equivalent in cash or goods, 40 sheep or goats, 30 head of cattle, 5 camels. It is clear that those goods that are used to determine the amount of nisab were the most common means of richness. The determination of nisab based on those goods was maintained in the future periods when the social and economic conditions did not change.
What are essential needs?
Essential needs are goods or property that meet the essential needs and therefore are not subject to zakat.
In Islam, the situation of the mukallaf (competent person obliged to observe the precepts of religion) is taken into consideration in zakat as it is the case in other bodily and financial responsibilities, and he is given a reasonable and affordable responsibility. Therefore, Islamic scholars laid it down as a condition to havemoney or goods more than one’s debts and his essential needs and equal to or more than the amount of nisab for a person to be a mukallaf for zakat and fitrah. The amount of essential needs does not bring about welfare or richness. The amount of essential needs is the amount that is necessary for a person to live.
Allah, the Exalted, says, “They ask thee how much they are to spend; say: "What is beyond your needs...”(al-Baqara 2/219). The following is stated in a hadith regarding the issue: "A man came to Hazrat Prophet (pbuh) and said, ‘I have a dinar. What shall I do with it? Hazrat Prophet said: Spend it on yourself. He again said: I have another. He said: Spend it on your family. He again said: I have another. He said: Spend it on your children. He again said: I have another. He replied: You know best’.” (Abu Dawud, Zakat, 45).
Essential goods are the things that man needs in order to protect his life and freedoms. They are generally things like livelihood, the house one lives in, household appliances, clothes, goods in return for debt, tools and machinery necessary for a trade, vehicles, books obtained for studying, etc.
As a matter of fact, essential needs change and develop with the change of time, environment and situation. What is valid here is the essential needs of the zakat mukallaf. Along with his own needs, the needs of the people he is obliged to take care of are included among the essential needs.
Is it necessary to give zakat for tools and materials?
The tools, materials and machinery that are necessary for a trade are regarded among essential needs and it is not necessary to give zakat for them. However, if those tools, materials and machinery are used for buying and selling, not for one’s trade, then it is necessary to pay zakat for them.
Can zakat be given before its due time?
Lunar calendar is used for calculating zakat as it is the case in the worships like fasting and hajj. One yearis necessary to pass after obtaining the goods or money equaI to the amount of nisab for zakat to be obligatory. However, the owner of the goods can give zakat for them before its due time if he wishes. The zakat that was due but not given in the past can be given at once; it is permissible and appropriate to be give the zakat which is due in the future now if there are some people who are really in need.
Can a rich person give a promissory note having a fixed term as zakat to a poor person?
Zakat can be given in kind like food and clothing items as well as in cash like money, foreign currency and gold. A promissory note is a document arranged between two people showing to whom a right, property or borrowed money belongs. Therefore, a rich person, who is a mukallaf of zakat, can give a promissory note that he definitely knows that will be paid in due time to a poor person as zakat.
Can zakat be paid in installments?
What is obligatory is giving zakat. Therefore, it can be paid all at once as well as in installments.
Is there a definite time to give zakat?
There is no definite time to give zakat; it is necessary to give it when it becomes fard (obligatory). Therefore, it is not necessary to wait for a certain month or the month of Ramadan. However, those who are obliged to give zakat should give it as soon as possible when it becomes obligatory.
Can the zakat of tradable goods be given as goods of the same kind?
The zakat of tradable goods can be given in cash by calculating their values or they can be given in kind.
How is the zakat of tradable goods calculated?
Zakat is a financial worship; it needs to be paid out of the available capital, not out of the probable profit to be made in the future. Therefore, when the zakat of the tradable goods are given, the value of the goods without profit need to be taken into consideration at the time of giving zakat.
How is the zakat of the receivables given?
The zakat of the receivables that is certain to be collected needs to be given every year. If the zakat of the receivables is not given before they are collected, the zakat for the previous years needs to be given when they are collected. It is not necessary to give the zakat of the denied receivables or the receivables that are impossible to be collected every year. Should such receivables be collected later, it is necessary to pay the zakat of it beginning from that year; it is not necessary to pay zakat for previous years.
Can the receivables be calculated as zakat?
If the debtor is one of the people that zakat can be given to, the receivables can be calculated as zakat.
Is it necessary to pay zakat out of the crops of a land?
It is necessary to pay zakat for all kinds of crops except wood, cane (except sugar cane) and grass if they reach the amount of nisab (about 650 kg). Allah, the Exalted, states the following in the Quran;“O ye who believe! Give of the good things which ye have (honourably) earned, and of the fruits of the earth which We have produced for you...” (al-Baqara 2/267);“It is He who produceth gardens, with trellises and without, and dates, and tilth with produce of all kinds and olives and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and different (in variety): eat of their fruit in their season, but render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered. But waste not by excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters.” (al-An’am 6/141). Hazrat Prophet (pbuh) stated the following, “On a land irrigated by rain water or by natural water channels Ushr (i.e. one-tenth) is compulsory (as Zakat); and on the land irrigated by the well, half of an Ushr (i.e. one-twentieth) is compulsory.”(Bukhari, Zakat, 55).
As it is stated in the hadith, cultivation of the land and the usage of water are taken into consideration in giving the zakat of the crop. Accordingly, if the land is irrigated by rain, river, stream, brook or their channels, that is without any effort, one-tenth of the crop is given as zakat; if the land is irrigated by buckets, by the well or by a motor, that is, by a way that causes expense, one-twentieth of the crop is given as zakat.
Are the expenses that are made in order to produce crops taken into consideration when paying ushr (one-tenth)?
Today, expenses like fertilizers, diesel and labor form a great amount in the cost of production. Therefore, it is necessary to give the zakat of the agricultural corps if the crop reaches the amount of nisab after the extra expenses caused by the agricultural conditions are deducted form the gross income as 1/10 for the land that is irrigated naturally and as 1/20 for the land that is irrigated by bucket, the well and motor, etc, that is by extra expenses or effort.
Who is obliged to give the zakat of the land cultivated as sharecropping?
The ushr (zakat) of the land crops is given by the owner of the crops, not by the owner of the land. Therefore, if the landowner lets someone cultivate his land without asking any money, the zakat of the obtained crop is paid by the person who cultivates the land. If the land is hired for a certain amount of money, the zakat (ushr) is paid by the person who pays the rent. If the land is rented as sharecropping, the owner of the land and the person cultivating the land pay zakat separately out of the shares of the crop.
Is it necessary to give the zakat of the crop that is destroyed?
The farmer whose crop is destroyed in the field does not have to pay zakat. Ushr becomes obligatory after the crop is harvested; so, if the crop is destroyed after harvesting, it is necessary to pay zakat. As a matter of fact, Allah, the Exalted, stated the following, "Render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered."(al-An'am 8/141).
Is it permissible to give the equivalent value of the animals instead of the animals as zakat?
The zakat of goods can be given in kind as well as in the form of other equivalents. Accordingly, a person who wants to give the zakat of his animals can give some of his animals or their equivalents as zakat. However, it is better to prefer the one which is more useful for the poor.
How is the zakat of tradable goods given?
The goods that are bought and sold in order to make profit are called tradable goods. A person who has tradable goods equivalent to 80.18 grams of gold has to give the zakat of those goods when one year passes after obtaining them as 1/40 (%2,5).
Is it necessary to give zakat for adornment (jewelry)?
The articles of adornment other than gold and silver are not subject to zakat.
According to the ijtihad of the majority of the scholars including the three madhhabs except Hanafis, adornment (jewelry) is regarded among the essential needs of women and they are not subject to zakat, that is, it is not necessary to pay zakat for them.
However, according to Hanafis, if the jewelry of a woman is equal to or more than the amount of nisab, it is necessary to pay zakat for them.
Are real estate agents obliged to pay zakat for the real estate they have?
The flats that real estate agents buy and sell in order to make profit are subject to zakat. The property that are owned by real estate agents except the office they work in and the house/flat they live in are subject to zakat, and it is necessary to pay zakat for them when one year passes after obtaining them after deducting their debts as 1/40.
How do the partners of a company pay zakat?
A person who is a partner of a company needs to pay zakat for the amount of the shares he has out of the current assets except the offices, tools, etc, if they are equal to or more than nisab after one year passes.
The fixed assets (production instruments, machinery, etc) of the companies in the sector of industry are exempt from zakat; the current assets ( semi-manufactured and manufactured goods, raw materials, cash, checks, etc) and the net profit are subject to zakat as 2,5% after the debts, materials, labor, production, marketing management and finance costs are deducted.
Are equity shares (stocks) subject to zakat?
A person who invests in the equity shares bought and sold in the stock exchange is obliged to give zakat if the value of his shares is equal to or more than nisab as 1/40 after one year passes after obtaining them.
To whom is zakat given?
It is stated in the Quran to whom is zakat given. (Chapter at-TawbahTevbe, 60). They are;the poor and the needy, those in bondage and in debt, those who are in the way (cause) of Allah, the wayfarer, those employed to administer the (funds) and those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth).
To whom is zakat not given?
It is not permissible to give zakat to the people and institutions apart from those mentioned in the 60th verse of Chapter at-Tawbah. In addition, it is not permissible to give zakat to one’s mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, son, children of one’s son, daughter, children of one’s daughters and their children.
Can zakat and fitrah be given to charitable institutions?
There is no religious drawback to giving zakat and fitrah to societies, institutions, solidarity funds that are known to collect them in a fund and give them to the people mentioned in the 60th verse of Chapter at-Tawbah and directed by reliable people.
Can zakat be given to people who work in return for wages and salaries?
In Islam, it is determined clearly to whom zakat can be and cannot be given regardless of their classes and occupations. Accordingly, a person who has a regular income but who cannot meet his needs with that income and who does not have any other assets can be given zakat.
How does a person who has gold of different carats calculate his zakat?
The difference of carat is not important in gold in terms of being subject to zakat because it does not matter what carat it is; gold is gold. Therefore, even if the carats are different, all kinds of gold is subject to zakat if the amount of the gold, alone or all together with different carats of gold, is equal to or more than 80,18 grams and the value of 22 carat if it meets the other conditions too. In that case, the zakat of the different carats of gold is calculated out of their values and is given as 2,5%.
Is it necessary to give zakat for the profit obtained illegitimately?
If the owner ofthe profit obtained illegitimately is known, it is necessary to return it to its owner; if the owner is not known, it should be given to the poor or charitable institutions without expecting any reward from it. Accordingly, since the profit obtained illegitimately needs to be returned to its owner or to be given to the poor or charitable institutions, giving zakat for it is not in question.
Is the money saved for essential needs subject to zakat?
Essential needs are the things that are necessary for the continuation of life securely and healthily such as a house, household appliances, clothes, transportation and food. It is not necessary to own them in order to meet those needs. If a person has given an oral or written undertaking with the money he saves to meet those needs, then he does not have to give zakat for it because when he has given an oral or written undertaking, it means he has spent that money for his essential needs. However, if there is no such undertaking, then it is necessary to give zakat if that money is equal to or more than nisab and if one year has passed after obtaining it.
Does a rich boy who has not reached the age of puberty have to give zakat of his property?
People who are not sane or who have notreached the age of puberty are not obliged to give zakat because they are not religiously responsible. However, since the poor have a right on the property of the rich, the guardians of such people should give zakat out of their property even ifpeople who are not sane or who have not reached the age of puberty are not obliged to give zakat. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in the Quran; "And in their wealth and possessions (was remembered) the right of the (needy), him who asked and him who (for some reason) was prevented (from asking)."(adh-Dhariyat 51/19).
Is a person who lives together with his father obliged to give zakat?
If a person who lives together with his father has property of his own and if he has the conditions for zakat, he is obliged to give zakat. However, if his property has not been separated from his father’s and if they earn money together and spend together, then the person who has the right and authority to use the money is obliged to pay zakat.
Can tax be regarded as zakat?
Tax is an obligation of citizenship; zakat is a religious responsibility. In addition, zakat and tax are different in terms of the authority of sanction, main purpose, rate and the places where they are spent. Therefore, the tax paid to the state cannot be regarded as zakat. Zakat has to be given separately.
Can zakat be paid through money order?
Zakat can be paid by hand, through a deputy or money order. What is important here is to transfer zakat to the person who will receive zakat.
Can zakat be given to the stepmother, stepfather and stepchildren?
If the father is dead, the stepmother can be given zakat; if the stepchild has reached puberty and has left the house, he can be given zakat; the stepfather can also be given zakat if they are poor. There is not a relation of offspring and ancestry between them, and the person giving zakat to them is not obliged to look after them.
Can the son-in-law and the daughter-in-law be given zakat?
The son-in-law can be given zakat if he is poor. Since the husband has to look after his wife, the zakat given to the daughter-in-law is like giving zakat to one’s son indirectly. Therefore, it is not appropriate to give zakat to the daughter-in-law.
If a person to whom zakat has been given turns out to be rich, what should be done?
The person who is obliged to pay zakat should search to whom he is giving zakat to. As a result of his search, if he has the opinion that that person can be given zakat, he can give zakat to that person; however, if he finds out that the man is rich later, his zakat is valid. If a person gives zakat to a person without searching and if he finds out that the man is rich later, his zakat is not valid, he needs to give zakat again.
Can a person give zakat to his mother-in-law and father-in-law?
Since themother-in-law and father-in-law are not among the people that a person is obliged to look after, they can be given zakat if they are poor.
Is zakat the dirty part of the goods?
Sometimes, zakat is described wrongly. The expressions like zakat is the dirty part of the goods because it purifies the goods of the rich are not right and they are contrary to Islam. Zakat is the right of the poor. It is given to the people described in the Quran.
The following is stated in the Quran: "And in their wealth and possessions (was remembered) the right of the (needy), him who asked and him who (for some reason) was prevented (from asking).." (see adh-Dhariyat, 19-24).
The cleanest thing in Islam is the thing that is the right. It is ugly and nonsense to call the right as something dirty. Zakat is the cleanest and most legitimate thing for the poor, if the person receiving it is really poor. A person who does not give zakat eats the right of the poor; so, he eats haram. Thus, haram mixes into his property. When a rich person gives zakat, he will protect his goods from haram since he gives the right of others.
Seen in this light, zakat cleans the goods. Otherwise, the zakat that a rich person gives is not the dirty part of his goods. No rich person has the right to say that zakat is taken from him unjustly. Questions about sadaqah al-fitr (fitrah)
What does fitrah mean, what is the decree about it?
Sadaqah al-fitr, which is named as fitrah by people, is a financial worship that is obligatory to be given by each Muslim that has goods at least equal to nisab except his essential needs and that reaches the end of Ramadan.
Sadaqah al-fitr is regarded as the zakat of the existence of man as a necessity of the mutual help and solidarity in the nature (creation) of man. Therefore,sadaqa al-fitr is also called “sadaqah of the soul” or “sadaqah of the body”. On the other hand, it plays an important role by meeting the needs of the poor and making them share the joy of the eid (festival) days.
Who is obliged to give sadaqa al-fitr?
Sadaqah al-fitris obligatory for eachMuslim that has goods at least equal to nisab except his essential needs and debts. The criterion of richness of an individual for sadaqah al-fitr is the same as that of zakat. However, the conditions that the goods must have the property of increasing and that one year has to pass after obtaining the goods, which are necessary for zakat, are not necessary for sadaqah al-fitr.
When is sadaqah al-fitr given?
Sadaqah al-fitr becomes obligatory with the break of the dawn on the first day of Ramadan Festival (eid al-fitr) but it can be given during the month of Ramadan too. It is better to give it before the eid so that the poor can meet their needs for the eid. However, if sadaqah al-fitr has not been paid until the morning of the eid, it is necessary to pay it on the days of the eid. The sadaqah al-fitr that has not been paid on time must be paid as soon as possible.
Is it necessary to give sadaqah al-fitr as wheat, barley, dates or grapes?
The amount of sadaqah al-fitr was determined as one sa’ (about 2197 grams) of wheat, barley, dates or grapes by hadiths. The fact that sadaqah al-fitr was determined in the form of those foods is based on the economic conditions and eating habits of that period. When the applications in the period of Hazrat Prophet and his Companions are taken into consideration, it is understood that the amount of sadaqah al-fitr aims to meet the food need of a middle class family in a community.
Accordingly, the amount that is enough to meet the average daily food need of a person can be given in kind or in cash. However, it is better to prefer the one that will be more useful for the poor.
Should a person working abroad give sadaqah al-fitr in accordance with conditions of the country he works in or his own country?
Since the standard of living are different in different countries and regions, the person that is obliged to give sadaqah al-fitr should give it in accordance with the standards of the average daily food need of a person in the country where he is.
How is sadaqah al-fitr that is not paid on time paid?
The obligation of sadaqah al-fitr must be carried out on time without delay, as it is the case in all other worships. However, if it has not been given on time, it must be paid as soon as possible.
To whom is sadaqah al-fitr given and not given?
Sadaqah al-fitr is given to the people whom zakat is given. (See ‘To whom is zakat given?’) It is not permissible to give sadaqah al-fitr to the people to whom zakat is not given. (See ‘To whom is zakat not given?’).
To whom is zakah given? What are the people and places that zakah can be given? Is it appropriate to give zakah to associations, charity organizations, Quran schools, students and student hostels?
There is no religious drawback to giving zakah and fitrah to the associations, institutions and solidarity funds that collect the zakah and fitrah in a fund, that are known to give them only to those mentioned in verse 60 of the chapter of at-Tawba and that are directed by trustworthy people.
If these organizations give the zakah to the necessary people, zakah can be given to them. The salaries of the people who work in order to collect and distribute zakah can be given from the money that is collected.
One group of the people to whom zakah is given are "those who are in the way of Allah (fi sabilillah)". When this phrase is explained in the fiqh books that are available, only the warriors that took part in jihad and hajjis who ran out of money to go home are mentioned. However, in famous tafsir books and reliable fiqh books, the issue is analyzed in a more detailed way.
We will give some examples from those books: Imam Qasani writes the following in his book called Badai as-Sanai:
"What is meant by those who are in the way of Allah is anything that makes man approach Allah. If it is necessary, anybody and any ways of charity that work in the way of Allah are included in this meaning." (Badai as-Sanai, II/451)
Fakhruddin ar-Razi generalizes the issue in his book called at-Tafsir al-Kabir with the following statement:
"The phrase fisabilillah is not confined to warriors only. Zakah is given to all ways of charity. Washing and enshrouding the dead bodies, building castles and mosques are included in this phrase. " (Fakhru'r-Razi at-Tafsir al-Kabir, Beirut: Ihyau at-Turathi'l-Arabi) XVI/113)
Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır quotes the same view and says that it is not appropriate to use it for all ways of charity. He says what is meant by those who are in the way of Allah are essentially mujahids, hajjis and students of ilm (science/knowledge). He continues as follows:
"However, all of the equipment and ammunition that mujahids need for jihad, that is, everything included within the scope of the verse "Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power" (al-Anfal, 8/60) and that "the requirements of jihad" that can be obtained by their own means are included in the spending of fi sabilillah. (...) When the person who gives zakah fi sabilillah gives it to mujahids who are in need or to their commander, he fulfills the duty of giving zakah. When the commander accepts it as a trustee and uses it for the jihad requirements of the mujahids properly, he will also fulfill his duty of trusteeship. Based on the property of the requirement, he might not give it to mujahids individually but use it as a whole. For instance, food and clothes can be given to individuals but heavy weapons are given to the military unit or under the control of the commander." (Hak Dini Kur'ân Dili, IV/2578-2581)
This explanation states that zakah cannot be given for constructing mosques, bridges etc but also states that it can be given in order to meet the needs of those who deserve to get zakah.
According to the example Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır gives, zakah can be given to charity organizations directly; the administrators of that organization can spend it for the needs of the organization.
Badiuzzaman Said Nursi expresses concisely where to make the fountain of zakah flow more. Answering a question directed at him, Badiuzzaman Said Nursi described zakah as an important fountain that will revive Islamic feelings and make Muslims powerful. We can summarize the views of Nursi regarding the issue as follows:
"There is a big fountain. It was used in wrong places by being flowed to barren land; it caused some beggars and weak people to green. Make a nice canal for this fountain. Pour your Islamic services into this pool. Then, water the garden of good deeds. It is an inexhaustible source."
In the statements that follow, he wants zakah to be spent for the benefit of the nation so that Islam will spread, the nation will make progress and reach the level of the developed countries: “If the intelligent people use the zakah of their intelligence and the rich even the zakah of their zakah for the benefit of the nation, our nation will catch up with other nations.” (Said Nursi, Münazarat, Sözler Yayınevi, 1977, p. 52)
Regarding zakah as a big source for meeting the needs of madrasahs, which became almost functionless, could not supply the service expected from them and started to retrogress in last period of the Ottoman State. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi states that if the rich give their zakah for madrasah, it will be enough for them to develop. (see ibid p, 74)
Yes, it has become an indispensable duty to spend zakah, which is the strongest charity institution of Islam, on improving Islamic services in this age. Will it not limit the acts of individuals and organizations serving Islam under hard conditions to give zakah only to some poor and needy people? What can be more natural than spending zakah, which is an institution established by Islam, in order to develop Islam? Therefore, it is the best and most appropriate to try to strengthen the organizations and foundations that help to educate Islamic youth, to spread Islam, and to defend and protect Islam by giving them zakah.
Note: We advise you to read the following article, too:
One of the Places to give zakah: FI SABILILLAH
Zakah, which is one of the five principles on which Islam was built, is the bridge of Islam. The Quran and hadiths encourage people to give zakah; the people to whom zakah is given are informed by a verse and the practices of the Prophet (pbuh) showed it to us. The following is stated in the Quran: “Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allah and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.” (at-Tawba, 9/60) The phrase translated as “in the way/cause of Allah” is “fi sabilillah” in Arabic. In this article, we will analyze this concept and try to search who is meant by it.
“Fi sabilillah” means “in the way of Allah”. Its most well known meanings are “jihad in the way of Allah, hajj, learning ilm/science, all kinds of good deeds that Allah orders, the way of guidance, everything that makes man approach Allah and righteous deeds.1 Many fiqh, tafsir and hadith scholars and mujtahids made various interpretations related to the meanings this concept includes.
Some scholars kept the scope of the meanings of this concept narrow while others kept it wide. They understood the concept “fi sabilillah” mentioned as the seventh group among the people and places zakah is given in verse 60 of the chapter of at-Tawba as “spending in the way of Allah, work and make jihad in the way of Allah, all kinds of efforts for Allah.”2 Islamic scholars dealt with this concept in terms of its etymological structure, and occasions, reasons, and contexts for the revelation; they put forward many views. Calling people to the way of Allah was in the form of jihad in certain periods; therefore, the verse was interpreted like that.
The reason why this concept, which basically has a wide range of meaning, is understood as the warriors who fight in the way of Allah is related to the sociopolitical conditions and international relations during the period of the spread of Islam, not to the way the verse is expressed. For, in that period, the most common and effective way of jihad at that period was attacks and hot wars; therefore, the scholars of Islam regarded it necessary to allocate money from zakah funds to those who fight for their religion and country 3; this interpretation was adopted by almost all scholars. Therefore, the concept “fi sabilillah” was regarded as identical to the concept of “jihad”. In conclusion, the general view at that time usually interpreted the concept “fi sabilillah” using the material aspect of jihad. In fact, when this concept is dealt with in terms of rules of language, tafsir, hadith and fiqh, it is understood that it is not a special definition meaning actual clash and that it contains many activities that will make man gain the consent of Allah.4
1. The Interpretations of tafsir scholars about the concept “fi sabilillah”
The concept “fi sabilillah” is mentioned in more than sixty verses of the Quran and tafsir scholars interpreted it in different ways. According to our determinations, this concept was mostly interpreted as wars in the way of Allah and the warriors that participated in them. In fact, it has many other meanings along with it. We think it will be useful to give some verses regarding the issue as examples:
“(Charity is) for those in need, who, in Allah's cause/way, are restricted (from travel) and cannot move about in the land…” (al-Baqara, 2/273)
The concept “fi sabilillah” in the verse above was interpreted as the religion of Islam and the way taking man to Allah by tafsir scholars.
“Those who reject Allah and hinder (men) from the Path of Allah― their deeds will Allah render astray (from their mark).” (Muhammad, 47/1)
The concept “fi sabilillah” in the verse above was interpreted as the true path introduced by Hz. Muhammad.
“David! We did indeed make thee a vicegerent on earth: so judge thou between men in truth (and justice): nor follow thou the lusts, (of thy heart), for they will mislead thee from the Path of Allah…” (Sad, 38/26)
The concept “fi sabilillah” in the verse above was interpreted as way to Paradise.
“Those who would hinder (men) from the path of Allah …” Qurtubi interpreted the concept “fi sabilillah” in the verse above as belief and worshipping.
It is possible to give more verses as examples. Contemporary scholars of Islam interpreted the phrase “fi sabilillah” with some differences of meaning though not very different. We can summarize some of the approaches of those scholars as follows:
Maraghi states that all kinds of ways that lead man to Allah's consent and gain rewards are in this concept and that the interests that are related to all Muslims, the acts that will keep the state standing and maintain it are all included in this concept.
Regarding the concept “fi sabilillah”, Sayyid Qutub emphasizes the profundity of the meaning of the verse and finds it sufficient to say “It is a wide gate; it includes everything that is beneficial to the community; consider the word Allah.”
The approach of Hamdi Yazır regarding the issue is as follows: “Fi sabilillah” is a general meaning and it includes all kinds of sadaqahs. The money or goods given to the poor and needy are included in this concept. Even what is given to muallafa al-qulub (those whose hearts are to be reconciled with or softened) is included in it. However, the reason why it is mentioned as “fi sabilillah” is special. This phrase first means jihad, then hajj and then learning knowledge/science for the sake of Allah. Jihad became famous in religious usage. Those who dedicate themselves to religious sciences like ahl as-suffah are included in the concept of “fi sabilillah”. In conclusion, there is a difference between the use of this phrase only as an adverb or attribute and as a nickname. The former is a general meaning and the latter is specific. According to the first meaning, all kinds of worshipping and charity are “fi sabilillah” (in the way of Allah). According to the second meaning, not all sadaqahs are “fi sabilillah”. Sadaqah in the way of Allah is a sadaqah that is given for a specific purpose especially given to those who work in order to spread the name of Allah.5
2. The concept “fi sabilillah” in hadiths
In the sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), the concept “fi sabilillah” exists in some hadiths. This phrase, which can be translated as the way of Allah, was given a wider meaning by hadith scholars than tafsir scholars.
The following is stated in a hadith in Tirmidhi:
“If a person sets off in order to learn ilm/science, he is in the way of Allah until he returns.”
According to this expression, to learn ilm for Allah with sincere intentions and with the thought of helping people is included in the concept “fi sabilillah”.
The following is stated in a hadith reported by Yazid Ibn Maryam: “While I was walking to the mosque for the Friday prayer, Abaya b. Rif’a’ came from behind and said to me, “Glad tidings to you! These steps you take are in the way of Allah. I heard from Abu Abs that the Messenger of Allah said,
“If a person's feet get dust in the way of Allah, those feet will be haram for hellfire.”6
Mubarakfuri, who explained the hadiths, described “fi sabilillah” as the way in which the consent of Allah is demanded.7
In another hadith included in the same chapter in Tirmidhi, the following narration is reported from the Messenger of Allah:
“There are two eyes that will not be touched by hellfire: one of them is the eye that cries due to fear of Allah and the other is the eye that keeps guard in the way of Allah.”
Mubarakfuri explained “fi sabilillah” in the hadith as the degrees of mujahids, hajj, learning ilm, jihad or worshipping. In the explanation of another hadith in Tirmidhi, it is stated that the concept “fi sabilillah” is used in the sense of struggling highwaymen, ordering what is good and prohibiting what is evil.8
In another hadith, the following is stated: "Graying one's hair in the way of Allah will be luminous light for that person on the Day of Judgment." Another hadith similar to this one is as follows: “If a person grays his hair in the way of practicing and spreading Islam, his gray hair willbe luminous light on the Day of Judgment.”
The word “Islam” in the hadith is mentioned with “the way of Allah”. In another hadith, the following is stated: “A person who makes jihad in the way of Allah is like a person who performs fasting during the day and performs prayers at night.” 9 It is quite significant that making jihad is likened to performing fasting and prayers in the hadith.
According to the narrations of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and Imam Ishaq, “Hajj is also included in the phrase of 'the way of Allah'.” For, the Prophet took some people to hajj with camels that were given as sadaqah; Ibn Umar said, "What is understood from this phrase is those who perform hajj and umrah." Acting upon the view of Ibn Abbas, Imam Muhammad holds the view that the group of people in the way of Allah are the people who became poor on the way to or returning from hajj.10
It is possible to include those who go to umrah and hajj in the scope of the concept “fi sabilillah” after the explanations above. However, when the concept “fi sabilillah” is viewed in terms of its relation with zakah, the Prophet must have allocated the camels of sadaqah to these people for hajj under the conditions of that period in order to encourage the people of that period and the period when Islam was spreading to go to hajj. For, under normal conditions, the people who go to hajj need to have some conditions like wealth, health and security. Otherwise, we cannot say that hajj is fard for the people who do not have these conditions.
3. The view of Islamic jurists on the concept of “fi sabilillah”
Muhammad Shaybani, a mujtahid of Hanafi madhhab, defined this concept as worshipping. According to him, this meaning becomes clear in the hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) “If a person grays his hair in the way of practicing and spreading Islam, his gray hair willbe luminous light on the Day of Judgment”and when Ata Ibn Abi Rabah asked the Prophet “What does it mean if a person tells his inheritors to spend one-third of his wealth 'in the way of Allah'?" , in his answer: “All kinds of worshipping are the way Allah; it is permissible to spend it on any kinds of worshipping.”
Acting upon the view of Shaybani, Jassas states that the phrase “fi sabilillah” means the people who set off to go to hajj because the Prophet said, “Both hajj and umrah are in the way of Allah.”
Qasani, who is a Hanafi fiqh scholar, states the following for the group of those 'in the way of Allah', “This expression means everything that makes man approach Allah. If it is necessary, everybody who works by obeying Allah and all kinds of charity are included in it.”
Ibnul-Athir states the following about the phrase “fi sabilillah”: “Approaching Allah by fulfilling fards and nafilahs and all kinds of good deeds, all of the sincere deeds that aim to attain His consent are in the way of Allah. However, when this phrase is used without any conditions, jihad is usually understood. It became a special phrase indicating jihad since it is mostly used in this sense.”
According to the expression of Firuzabadi, who is a fiqh, tafsir and lexicology scholar, "Sabilullah" means jihad, hajj, learning ilm/science and all kinds of good deeds ordered by Allah. In other sources, this concept means the way of guidance to which people are called, anything that makes man approach Allah and all of the things that are regarded as righteous deeds.”11
In his book called Ithaf as-Sadatil-Muttaqin, which is an explanation of Ihya, Zabidi explains the concept “fi sabilillah” as follows: “It is possible that Allah meant mujahids and giving money for jihad with this group. For, “fi sabilillah” customarily has this meaning. It is also possible that all of the ways of good deeds making man approach Allah was meant with it but this is so in terms of the meaning of the word "sabil". The way of Allah is the meaning that this name indicates apart from the other divine names. Therefore, this concept includes all of the deeds that the benefit of the community necessitates including any deeds of high ethics for the group of in the way of Allah, for animals and even for the trees that dry due to lack of water, without taking into consideration the group of other creatures. Accordingly, if a man has some money for zakah and waters a tree, saving it from lack of water, it is regarded as spending in the way of Allah. If mujahids are meant with this phrase, it is customarily known who mujahids are. Since mujahids themselves are in the way of Allah, they can be given zakah so that they will struggle against their souls. The following is stated in a hadith:
“You have returned from the greater jihad to the lesser jihad.”12
What is meant by this jihad is struggling against the soul and keeping it away from the desires that prevent him from attaining the consent of Allah. 13
Ibn Taymiyya states that the phrase fi sabilillah is a general expression, that it includes all good deeds and that it cannot be allocated to a special group. 14
Sharbasi states that “fi sabilillah” means the way that makes man approach the consent of Allah through deeds and creed, that it is a general phrase hence cannot be confined to a certain meaning and that it includes all good deeds from repairing mosques to building castles and bridges and to enshrouding the dead bodies.15
As it is seen, Islamic scholars expressed specific meanings related to this concept along with general meanings acting upon the etymological meaning of the phrase. We think these explanations can include many individual and corporate bodies as long as they are in the general purposes of Islam. Acting upon this, fiqh scholars give people a wide range of alternatives so that they will fulfill the duty of zakah.
4. Specific meanings of the phrase “fi sabilillah” and its relation with zakah
When Islamic resources are studied, it is possible to find various meanings for the phrase “fi sabilillah”. In this research, we will deal with a few of these meanings, the views of scholars regarding the issue and the relationship of this concept, which is one of the places where zakah is given, with zakah in terms of the content of its meaning.
a) The meaning of “those learning ilm/science/knowledge”
Some fiqh scholars interpreted the concept “fi sabilillah”, which is stated as one of the places where zakah is given, as those who are learning ilm and who are making efforts to do it. Those who serve ilm were regarded as those who struggled in the way of Allah and to revive Islam; so they were included in the scope of zakah in all periods. The statements regarding the issue are usually expressed acting upon a narration attributed to Imam Muhammad in some Hanafi resources. Some Hanafi fiqh scholars regarded learning ilm within the concept of “fi sabilillah” and stated that zakah can be given to scholars and students of ilm; they said it was because they dedicated their time to ilm and did not have enough time to earn money.
It is stated in Shafii resources that a student who works to earn his living may not study as it is necessary and be left behind hence it is halal to give zakah to him.16
The same writer shows the amount of money that the Messenger of Allah gave as a grant to Hz. Umar evidence in order to confirm the issue. Hz. Umar reports this hadith as follows: “Hz. Prophet used to give me something but I would say to him, "Would you give it to a poorer one than me? Once, he gave me some goods. I said to him, “Would you give it to a needier one than me?” Thereupon, the Prophet said,
“If you are given something from this property, without asking for it or having greed for it take it; and if not given, do not run for it.”17
The hadith reported by the writer above as evidence that zakah can be given to those learning ilm exists in Bukhari, Muslim and Nasai. When we examine the hadith, we see that the money given to Hz. Umar is not from the money collected by the state as zakah but from the grant the head of the state gives to people regardless of their being poor or rich. Besides, it is stated in sources that the money was not given to Hz. Umar because he needed money but in return for working as a zakah collector, based on a decree in the Quran.18
b) Public benefit societies and other places
Man's needs increase and change in every era. Affairs that are beneficial to public have always been regarded as charities and good deeds by the community and they have always been encouraged since they are related to general interests of the public. In the Islamic community, "sadaqah al-jariya (ongoing charity)", the good deeds that will make man gain rewards continuously, are regarded as charities in the way of Allah. When the previous and current needs of the Islamic community are considered and compared, we see that the difference between them is very big and variable in terms of today. Some fiqh scholars adopt the view that the fund of zakah can be used in order to meet the needs of the public benefit societies based on the conditions of the time they are living.
For, in the Islamic community, the individuals and groups that will benefit from zakah are a reality of that community. In terms of both the responsibilities of the individuals in fulfilling their financial worshipping and maintaining the stability in the community, the money spent az zakah will be used in the same community.
While mentioning the places zakah will be given within the scope of the concept “fi sabilillah”, Abu Yusuf, one of the most important imams of Hanafi madhhab, says building and repairing roads are included in it and holds the view that zakah can be spent on them. 19
As it was mentioned before, Qasani, one of Hanafi fiqh scholars, states that the group “fi sabilillah” means anything that makes man approach Allah and that anybody working by obeying Allah and even all ways of good deeds can be included in it. This view of Qasani's complies with the view of Imam Muhammad, one of Hanafi fiqh scholars. 20
In fact, it is possible, useful and can even be necessary to keep the content of this concept large based on various expressions in the Quran but it is necessary to be very careful while doing so. For, if the content of this concept is kept very large and is generalized, it may cause many doors of misuse to be opened and it may contain the other funds of zakah, which will make mentioning them insignificant. Therefore, the activities of teaching and training in the way of Allah can be included in this concept.
One of the most important purposes of zakah is to support the poor and needy people in the community financially and enable them to attain a living standard fitting human honor. When the Quran lists the people and places zakah needs to be given, the poor is put in the first place. However, different alternative groups are also listed for zakah after it since the whole zakah cannot be given to them. This concept includes many meanings.
Islamic scholars interpreted the concept “fi sabilillah” as warriors who make jihad. Today, the framework of the services in the way of Allah has enlarged a lot; the most important field of these services is the activities of education made in order to bring up a generation equipped with Islamic values and to spread Islam. Besides, jihad is the act of removing the barriers between Allah and His slaves and making people meet Allah.
I think it is important that the Quran mentioned eight groups for zakah, that it stated that zakah cannot be allocated only to the poor and the needy and that there are different alternatives for zakah payers. For, zakah payers might not always find poor people due to the places and conditions they live in. This situation should not be turned into a problem by the people who act responsibly. At this point, the groups that zakah can be given appear as different alternatives in order to ease this obligation. Therefore, all meanings that the concept “fi sabilillah” includes appear as places and people that zakah can be given to.
Even if it is supposed that there is no possibility of giving zakah to the other alternative places except the places meant by the phrase “fi sabilillah”, this concept, with an objective viewpoint, can encompass all of the other seven categories so that zakah payers will fulfill their responsibilities along with the meanings of its own phrase. Contemporary scholars state that this concept cannot be confined to one meaning only in general, that it includes all kinds of charity, and that zakah funds can be used specifically for the Quranic sciences, the sustenance of the people who study the other sciences that are beneficial for the community, charities for widows and orphans, spending money on students, schools and hospitals, establishing institutions to call people to the principles of Islam, establishing scientific publishing companies that can publish in all languages, and similar good deeds. 21
The concept “fi sabilillah” presents people several alternatives especially the people of our age in terms of their responsibility. The stimulating practices of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in the Era of Bliss are of different significance for the responsible people of the 21st century and even the coming centuries. We think humanity will be able to find the opportunity to know the life-giving breaths of Islam thanks to the activities of education funded by zakah and the other financial funds and the people will meet Allah. The financial donations in this way will be within the framework of the phrase “fi sabilillah”.
1. Ibnu’l-Athir, an-Nihaya fi Gharibi’l-Hadith wa’l-Athar, Beirut, nd., II, 338, 339; al-Qamusu’l-Fiqhiyya, Damascus 1982,ps. 209
2. Yazır, IV, 2572; Kur’ân-ı Hakîm ve Açıklamalı Meali, İstanbul, 2004; Çantay, Hasan Basri, Kur’ân-ı Hakim ve Meâli Kerim, İstanbul, 1984.
3. Ibn Rushd Bidayatu’l-Mujtahid fi Nihayati’l-Muqtasid, Beirut 1986, I, 277; Qurtubi, VIII, 186.
4. Zamakhshari, I, 398; Qurtubi, IX, 19; Nasafi, Abu’l-Barakat, Tafsiru’n-Nasafi, İstanbul 1984, I, 243; Mubarakfuri, W, 269, 298; Firuzabadi, III, 403; al-Mu’jamu’l-Wasit, I, 415.
5. Bakara, 273; Shirbini, I, 140; Yazir, II, 897; al-Baqara, 217; Nasafi, I, 108; Abu’s -Suud, Tafsiru Abi’s-Suud Abu’s-Suud, I, 217; Muhammad, 1; Qurtubi, XWI, 223; Sad, 26; Hud, 19; Qurtubi, XW, 177; Qurtubi, IX, 19; Maraghi, X, 145; Sayyid Qutub, Fi Zilali’l-Qur’an, X, 245;Yazır, IW, 2579.
6. Tirmidhi, Ilm, 2, Fadailu’l-Jihad, 7.
7. Mubarakfuri, W, 259 .
8. Tirmidhi, Fadailu’l-Jihad, 12; Mubarakfuri, W, 269, 298.
9. Buhari, Jihad wa’s-Siyar, 2; Mubarakfuri, W, 263
10. Marghinani I, 112.
11. Tirmizi, Fadailu’l-Jihad , 9, 10; Ajluni, II, 255; Shaybani, as-Siyaru’l-Kabir, II, 301; Jassas, III, 187; Darimi, Kitabu’l-Wasaya, 45; Sarakhsi, II, 203; see also, Bukhari, Zakah, 49; Qasani , II, 45; Ibnu’l-Athir, II, 338, 339; Firuzabadi, III, 403; Sa’di Abu Jayb, p.166.
12. Ajluni, I, 424.
13. Zabidi, Murtaza Muhammad, Ithafu’s-Sadati’l-Muttaqin, IW, 151.
14. Ibn Taymiyya, Fathu’l-Bayan, IW, 151.
15. Sharbasi Ahmad, Yas’alunaka fi’d-Dini wa’l-Hayat, III, 68, I, 150.
16. Damad, I, 214; Ibn Abidin, II, 364; Tahtawi, s. 472; Nawawi, al-Majmu, IW, 190.
17. Bukhari, Zakah, 5.
18. Ayni, IX, 56; Nawawi, III, 63; Qastalani, III; Ibn Hajar, IW, 80.
19. Abu Yusuf, Kitabu’l-Kharaj, Cairo 1396, p. 81.
20. Qasani,, II, 45
21. Sharbasi, I, 149, 150; Sayyid Sabiq, I, 334; Muhammad Mahluf, Fatawa-i Shariyya, Cairo, 1971, 296; Hazin, II, 240; Razi, XWI, 113; Muhammad Mahluf, Fatawa-i Shariyya, cairo, 1971, 296; Hazin, II, 240; Hamidullah, İslam Peygamberi (trnsl by. Salih Tuğ), II, 978; Qardawi, Fiqhu’z-Zakah, II, 635-669.
(see Doç. Dr. Murtaza Köse , Yeni Ümit, June-July-August 2007, Issue :77 Year :20)
To whom is zakah given? Can we deduct the things that we give as gifts from the amount of zakah?
A gift can be given to anybody, whether rich or poor but zakah is the right of the poor. Therefore, the gifts given to the rich people cannot be regarded as zakah.
The people to whom zakah can be given are certain. You can regard the gifts or sadaqahs you give to them as zakah.
The people to whom zakah is given are listed in verse 60 of the chapter of at-Tawbah as follows:
“Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer...”
1. and 2. The Poor and the Needy:
A poor person is a person that does not have nisab amount of wealth and whose income does not meet his needs and is not enough for his sustenance. A needy person is one that has no wealth and income.
Zakah is given to a poor or needy person that will be enough to meet his needs, to pay his debts and to save him from the needy state. It is makruh to make a poor person rich with zakah and to give him more money than his debts and needs that will amount to more than nisab amount.
3. Those Employed to Administer Zakah:
In an Islamic state, zakah is collected by the state. The determination of the goods and products that are subject to zakah, the amount of zakah to be paid, collecting and storing it are carried out by the people who are appointed by the state. Those who do these tasks are given a share from zakah. Even if they are not poor, this share is their right because of their service.
4. Those whose Hearts are to be Reconciled with Islam:
These people, who are known as “muallafa al-qulub”, are the people whose hearts are wanted to be reconciled with Islam, whose harms are tried to be avoided or who are expected to help Muslims. Acting upon an ijtihad of Hz. Umar, Hanafi fiqh scholars say that this practice was annulled after the death of the Prophet (pbuh). Hanbali scholars say that the decree about muallafa al-qulub is permanent and a certain share of zakah can be given to them. Some contemporary Islamic scholars say that there are some people who can be regarded as muallafa al-qulub today and that it is necessary to allocated a certain share of zakah to them.
They are the male and female slaves that made a contract with their masters to be freed in return for a certain amount of money. Today, individual slavery has ended in the world. It can be seen from this fact the importance Islam gives to human honor, his freedoms and rights. Islam used the institution of zakah, which is a great worshipping and solidarity deed, as a means of support in order to abolish a custom like slavery which is contrary to human nature.
6. Those who are in Debt:
A debtor is a person who does not have nisab amount of wealth other than his debt.If the people who get into debt in order to meet their basic needs like food, drink and clothing, who are hit by a misfortune like fire, flood and earthquake, who become ill and are indebted due to these reasons can be given zakah to meet their needs if they are in need. Those who get into debt due to a legitimate reason and need like getting married, marrying one's child off, buying a house or household appliances are included in this group. When zakah is given, the people who are in debt are given priority over the other poor people.
7. Mujahids (Those who Fight in the Cause of Allah):
What is meant by it is a person who wants to make jihad but who is deprived of food, weapons and other things. Zakah can be given to such a person so that he will meet his needs. It is called "infaq fi sabilillah = spending money in the way of Allah".
The people who leave their homeland due to reasons like jihad, hajj, earning money and studying and who become needy in foreign land are included in this group. If they are actually rich but have become needy for that time, they can be given the amount that they will meet their needs; if they are poor, they can be given more.
(see Mehmed Paksu, İbadet Hayatımız-I)
Is zakah paid for luxurious houses and cars? Is there a limit for their material value?
Zakah is not paid for the things that are regarded as basic necessities like a house and a car no matter how expensive they are.
The rate of zakah given by a person increases based on his financial situation. A person who lives in a waterside has a high income. He has to pay zakah from his income in a certain amount. The zakah paid by that person will be more than the zakah paid by a person who lives in a cheaper house and has a lower income.
Is the money given to non-Muslims to help them or as charity regarded as sadaqah? Or, should we give it to others?
Sadaqah can be given to non-Muslims. The charity you have mentioned is regarded as sadaqah.
However, it is more appropriate for that kind of charity to be done by the organizations of Muslims.
Thus, it will cause the hearts of the non-Muslims who will receive the help to be reconciled with Islam.
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