Learn about Zakah: Islam’s Third Pillar

Learn about Zakah: Islam’s Third Pillar

Islam stands on the five pillars that are foundational to the religion. Muslims should adhere to these five key practices for a lifetime of peace and fulfillment. 

As the Quran states, five pillars of Islam are 1. Shahada (There is only one god, Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger), 2. Salat (A Muslim is required to pray five times a day), 3. Zakah (A Muslim must give a certain portion of his profits to the one in need), Sawm (fasting during the holy month of Ramadan), Pilgrimage (Visiting Hajj once in a lifetime)

Believers should live by these five principles to secure the blessings of Allah. They not only tie the Muslim community together, but also build a solid foundation for an ideal Muslim life. Five pillars of Islam essentially define a Muslim in the divinest way, in terms of their practices, religious beliefs and faith in the Allah. 

As per Quran, Zakah is the third pillar upon which Islam progresses. 

Simply, Zakah is two and half percent of one’s savings of the year, which must be donated to the needy. Every Muslim must view Zakah as a faithful duty and accomplish it to receive Allah’s kindness. 

There exists a criteria in Islam that can be used to determine one’s eligibility to contribute Zakah. To pay it, one should be an adult and exceed the threshold of Nisab. Nisab is the minimum amount of wealth a Muslim should have to contribute Zakat. It can be measured in the amount of gold and silver or its cash equivalent.

The gold standard for Nisab is 87.48 grams, while for silver it is 612.36 grams. Any Muslim owning wealth above this threshold is eligible to contribute through Zakah. If your income exceeds Nisab, two and half percent of your surplus must be paid to the less fortunate ones. As long as your assets meet the requirements of Nisab, you should continue to pay to Zakah.

Evidently, Zakah is more than charity. Every Muslim has a responsibility towards Allah. It is an obligation that must be fulfilled every year throughout the life of Muslims. 

Allah is ultimately the owner of everything, of both our lives and our wealth. By donating part of this wealth, you help Allah himself. Muslims learn how to be charitable by giving away this portion of profits. Wealth is certainly the most lucrative desire. Sharing this wealth with needy is not only an obligation to Allah, but also an act valuable to a Muslim community. Zakah is a way to strengthen the brotherhood from within, both financially and divinely. 

As the Quran itself says, 

“And establish prayer and give Zakah, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah.” 

True to its words, it is believed that whatever you donate through Zakah comes a hundred fold back in your after life. Allah’s mercy shall always be betrothed upon the true followers of Islam’s five pillars, Zakah being one of the most valued ones. 

However, the cost of extreme greediness and refusing to give the obligatory portion of wealth can be unpleasant. Wealthy Muslims who do not pay Zakah may not suffer while living, but are bound to punishment in the afterlife. 

As Abu Huraira reports, 

“No owner of the treasure who does not pay Zakat (would be spared) but (his hoards) would be heated in the Fire of Hell, and these would be made into plates. With these sides, his forehead would be cauterized till Allah would pronounce judgment among His servants during a day, the extent of which would be fifty thousand years.”

Importance of Zakah goes beyond its purpose in religious service. It is a valuable learning of letting go of greed and establishing harmony with charitable acts, eventually finding the peace within. Zakah serves as relief to those truly in need, allowing them to feel gratitude towards their community and Allah himself. 

The honest ones to their Allah know what it is to be the true devotee. Believers who contribute their share of Zakah for a significant share of their lives will find prosperity and paradise afterlife. But even life itself has something, if not more, to learn from the religious duties. Gratitude, charity, gratefulness and devotion are some experiences worth mentioning. Along the way of years of adherence to five pillars, devotees are certain to find divinity, the Allah himself.

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