What are the Inner Dimensions of Zakat?

“O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. And know that Allah is Rich, and worthy of all praise.” (Quran 2:267).

Seek the Worthy and Deserving

The eighth duty is to seek out the truly worthy recipient for one’s offering (Sadaqa), rather than be content with just anybody who happens to fall within the eight categories of legally qualified beneficiaries.

For among those generally eligible there are some with special qualities. Attention should be paid to these five qualities:

First, one should seek out those pious people who have renounced the world and devoted themselves exclusively to the business of the Hereafter.

Second, the recipient should be chosen from among the people of learning, to support him in his quest for knowledge. Learning is the noblest form of worship, so long as it is based on right intention.

Third, the recipient should be a person who kept his need to himself, not being given to fuss and complaint.

Fourth, the recipient should be someone with a large family or disabled by illness or some other cause.

Fifth, the recipient should be a close relative, whether paternal or maternal.

Each of these points should therefore be taken into consideration, for they represent the desired qualities. Within each quality there are further gradations, so one ought to seek the highest .

If anyone can be found in whom all these qualities are combined, that is the greatest treasure and the supreme prize. If one does one’s best and succeeds, one gets a double reward, but even if one fails, there is still a single reward for the effort.

NOTES

1. Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship.

2. “It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing.” (2, 177)

3. Bukhari, Muslim.

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America

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