What are the Inner Dimensions of Zakat?

According to one Hadith, the Prophet said, “Seven people will be shaded under Allah’s Throne on the Day on which there will be no other shade: a just ruler, a young person who worships Almighty Allah, a person whose heart is attached to Masajid, two people who love one another for the sake of Allah, and who come together and part for His sake, a man who is called by a beautiful woman of good family, but refuses her, saying ‘I fear Allah’, a person who gives his money in charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives, and someone who remembers Allah privately, so that his eyes brim with tears.”3

According to one of the scholars, “Three things are accounted among the treasures of righteousness, one of them being to give Alms in secret.”

Whenever fame is the donor’s objective, his work will be in vain, since the purpose of alms giving is to eliminate miserliness and to weaken the love of wealth. But the love of status has a stronger hold over the soul than the love of wealth, and both of them have deadly consequences in the Hereafter.

Give openly

The fourth duty, when one knows that such conduct will tend to encourage others to follow suit, is to let one’s giving be seen.

In doing so, however, one must be inwardly on guard against hypocritical motives.

Apart from the expectation of gratitude and the risk of hypocrisy, there is another danger in visible alms giving, namely that of offending a poor man’s dignity. It may be hurtful to him to be seen to be needy.

But someone who begs in public is bringing the disgrace upon himself; there is therefore no sense in being wary.

Avoid Taunting and Hurting

The fifth duty is not to invalidate one’s alms giving through taunting and hurting.

As Allah said, “Do not make your Alms giving void by taunting and hurting.”(part of Quran 2: 264).

Taunting is reminding a person of a favor, while hurt lies in making it known. According to others taunting is to exploit a person in return of a gift, while hurt lies in making him feel ashamed of his poverty.

Still others say that taunting means making one’s gift an excuse for arrogant behavior.

One should therefore realize that giving alms is actually paying Allah, Great and Glorious is He, what is due, while the poor person is actually receiving his sustenance from Allah.

Anyone who grasps the significance of the three points mentioned above while discussing the purpose and importance of the Zakat, or even one of them, realizes that he is a benefactor only to himself , through spending his wealth either to demonstrate his love of Allah or to purge himself or herself of the voice miserliness, or to give thanks for the blessing of wealth in the hope of receiving more.

Adopt humility

The sixth duty to think little of one’s donation, for to regard it highly is to invite that pride which is one of the deadly sins, making good deeds worthless.

It must be recognized that ten of two and-a-half percent is a tiny fraction, and that to pay only this is to content oneself with the least generous level of expense as we have explained above.

This is something to be ashamed of rather to boast about. Even if one rose to the highest level, disbursing all or most of one’s wealth, one should still reflect on where it came from in the first place, and for what purpose it is being spent.

For all wealth belongs to Allah. It is to Him that one should be grateful for for being given it and being enabled to spend it, so why pride ourselves on spending for the sake of Allah when it is actually His property?

And, if one’s situation is such that one must look to the Hereafter, spending for the sake of spiritual reward, why boast of giving what one expects to receive many many times over?

As for action, one’s giving should be done with a sense of shame at one’s meanness in holding back the rest of one’s wealth from God, Great and Glorious is He.

One’s demeanor should be humble and abashed, like that of someone who is asked to hand back a deposit but returns only part of it and holds on the rest.

For all wealth belongs to Allah and He would prefer to see us give all we possess. If He has not commanded His servant to do so, it is only because that would be too hard on them by reason of their greed.

As Allah says: “If He were to ask you of it, and press you, you would covetously withhold, and he will bring out all your (secret) ill wills'” (Quran 47:37).

Give the best and the dearest

The seventh duty is to select from one’s wealth what is best and dearest to one: the finest and most excellent part, for God,exalted is He. Allah is good and accepts only what is good.

If the offering has been acquired by dubious means, it may not strictly belong to the donor and will then be disqualified.

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