Alms-Tax (Zakat)

Alms-Tax (Zakat1) الزَّكاة

The Obligatory Alms-Tax


1ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): ما فَرَضَ اللّه‏ُ عَزّ ذِكرُهُ على هذهِ الاُمّةِ أشَدَّ علَيهِم مِنَ الزَّكاةِ ، وما تَهلِكُ عامَّتُهُم إلاّ فيها.

1– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, 'Allah – exalted be His remembrance – has not obligated anything more difficult for this community than paying the alms-tax, and the downfall of the majority of people lies in [their failure to pay] it.’[Amali al-Tusi, p. 693, no. 1474]

2ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): لا صلاةَ لِمَن لا زكاةَ لَهُ ، ولا زكاةَ لِمَن لا وَرَعَ لَهُ.

2– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, 'The prayer of one who does not give the alms-tax is void, and the alms-tax of the impious is void.’[Mishkat al-Anwar, no. 46]

3ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إنّما وُضِعَتِ الزَّكاةُ اِختِباراً للأغنِياءِ ومَعُونَةً لِلفُقَراءِ ، ولَو أنَّ الناسَ أدَّوا زكاةَ أموالِهِم ما بَقِيَ مسلمٌ فَقيراً مُحتاجاً، ولاَسْتَغنى بما فَرَضَ اللّه‏ُ عزّوجلّ لَهُ ، وإنّ الناسَ ما افتَقَرُوا ، ولا احتاجُوا ، ولا جاعُوا ، ولا عَرُوا إلّا بِذُنوبِ الأغنياءِ .

3– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, 'The alms-tax has been prescribed as a test for the rich and an aid to the poor. If people duly paid the alms-tax on their wealth, there would not remain a single poor or needy Muslim, and all would suffice themselves through what Allah has prescribed. Verily people are only impoverished, needy, hungry and naked as a result of the sins of the wealthy.’[al-Faqih, v. 2, p. 7, no. 1579]

The Role of the Alms-Tax in the Increase of Wealth

دَورُ الزَّكاةِ في نَماءِ المالِ

4ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): إذا أرَدتَ أن يُثرِيَ اللّه‏ُ مالَكَ فَزَكِّهِ.

4– The Prophet (S) said, 'If you want Allah to enrich your wealth then give the alms-tax from it.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 96, p. 23, no. 54]

5ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): حَصِّنُوا أموالَكُم بالزَّكاةِ.

5– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, 'Strengthen your capital by paying the alms-tax.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 78, p. 60, no. 138]

6ـ الإمامُ الحسنُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): ما نَقَصَتْ زكاةٌ مِن مالٍ قَطُّ.

6– Imam al-Hasan (a.s.) said, 'The giving of the alms-tax never diminishes wealth.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 96, p. 23, no. 56]

7ـ الإمامُ الباقرُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): وَجَدنا في كتابِ رسولِ‏اللّه‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ) ... إذا مَنَعُوا الزَّكاةَ مَنَعَتِ الأرضُ بَرَكَتَها مِنَ الزَّرعِ والثِّمارِ والمَعادِنِ كُلِّها.

7– Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) narrated, 'We found the following written in the book of the Prophet (S): …When the alms-tax is withheld, the earth withholds all its yield of plants, fruits and minerals.’[al-Kafi, v. 2, p. 374, no. 2]

8ـ الإمامُ الكاظمُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إنّ اللّه‏َ عزّوجلّ وَضَعَ الزَّكاةَ قُوتاً للفُقَراءِ وتَوفِيرا لِأموالِكُم .

8– Imam al-Kazim (a.s.) said, 'Verily Allah has fixed the alms-tax as a provision for the poor and a proliferation of your wealth.’[al-Kafi, v. 3, p. 498, no. 6]

9ـ الإمامُ الرِّضا (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إذا حُبِسَتِ الزَّكاةُ ماتَتِ المَواشِي .

9– Imam Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, 'When the alms-tax is not paid, livestock die as a result.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 73, p. 373, no. 8]

The One Who Refuses to Pay the Alms-Tax

مانِعُ الزَّكاةِ

10ـ الإمامُ الباقرُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): الذي يَمنَعُ الزَّكاةَ يُحَوِّلُ اللّه‏ُ مالَهُ يَومَ القِيامَةِ شُجاعاً مِن نارٍ لَهُ رِيمَتانِ فَيُطَوِّقُهُ إيّاهُ ثُمّ يقالُ لَهُ: اِلزَمْهُ كما لَزِمَكَ في الدنيا ، وهُو قولُ اللّه‏ِ «سَيُطَوَّقُونَ ما بَخِلُوا بِهِ يَوم القيامة».

10– Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) said, 'He who refuses to pay the alms-tax, on the Day of Resurrection Allah will transform his wealth into a cobra with two venom glands that will coil itself around him and be told, 'Tighten your grip on him just as he was tight-fisted with you in the world.’ This is in accordance with Allah's verse in the Qur’an: "They will be collared with what they grudge…"[Qur’an 3:180]

11ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): مَن مَنَعَ الزَّكاةَ سَألَ الرَّجعَةَ عندَ المَوتِ، وهُو قولُ اللّه‏ِ عزّوجلّ: «حَتّى إذا جاءَ أحَدَهُمُ المَوْتُ قالَ رَبِّ ارْجِعُونِ لَعَلِّي أعْمَلُ صالِحا فيما تَرَكْتُ».

11– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, 'Those who refuse to pay the alms-tax ask to be returned to the world at the time of death, as per Allah's verse in the Qur’an: "When death comes to one of them, he says, 'My Lord! Take me back, that I may act righteously in what I have left behind.”[Qur’an 23:99]

12ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): السُّرّاقُ ثلاثةٌ: مانعُ الزَّكاةِ ، ومُستَحِلُّ مُهُورِ النِّساءِ ، وكذلكَ مَنِ استَدانَ ولَم يَنوِ قَضاءَهُ.

12– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, 'There are three types of people that are considered thieves: the one who refuses to pay the alms-tax, the one who spends his wife's dowry unlawfully, and the one who takes a loan with no intention to repay it.’[Bihar al-Anwar, p. 12, no. 15]

13ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): مَن مَنَعَ قِيراطاً مِنَ الزَّكاةِ فَلْيَمُتْ إن شاءَ يَهُوديّاً وإن شاءَ نَصرانيّاً.

13– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, 'He who refuses to pay [as meagre an amount as] a sixteen of a dirham in alms-tax may as well die a Jew or a Christian.’[Thawab al-A’amal, p. 281, no. 7]

Those Who are Entitled to Receive the Alms-Tax

المُستَحِقُّونَ لِلزَّكاةِ

14ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ في قولِهِ تعالى: «إنّما الصَّدَقاتُ للفُقَراءِ ...» ـ: الفَقيرُ الذي لا يَسأ لُ الناسَ ، والمِسكينُ أجهَدُ مِنهُ ، والبائسُ أجهَدُهُم.

14– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.), with regards to Allah's verse in the Qur’an: "Charities are only for the poor..." [Qur’an 9:60], said, 'The poor man is he who does not beg from people [despite his poverty], the destitute lives in even harsher conditions than him, and the wretched one lives in the most straitened circumstances of all.’[al-Kafi, v. 3, p. 501, no. 16]

There is a zakat for Everything

لِكُلِّ شَيءٍ زَكاةٌ

15ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): زكاةُ القُدرَةِ ، الإنصافُ .

15– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, 'The zakat of power is equity.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 5448]

16ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): زكاةُ الجَمالِ ، العَفافُ .

16– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, 'The zakat of beauty is chastity.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 5449]

17ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): زكاةُ اليَسارِ ، بِرُّ الجِيرانِ وصِلَةُ الأرحامِ .

17– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, 'The zakat of prosperity is goodness to one's neighbours and maintaining relations with one's kin.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 5453]

18ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): زكاةُ الصِّحَّةِ ، السَّعيُ في طاعَةِ اللّه‏ِ.

18– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, 'The zakat of health is exerting oneself in Allah's obedience.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 5454]

19ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): زكاةُ الشَّجاعةِ ، الجِهادُ في سبيلِ اللّه‏ِ.

19– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, 'The zakat of courage is fighting in the way of Allah.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 5455]

20ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): علَيكَ بالصَّومِ ؛ فَإنّهُ زكاةُ البَدَنِ.

20– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, 'Fast, for that is the zakat of the body.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 78, p. 99, no. 1]

21ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إنَّ لِكُلِّ شَيءٍ زكاةً ، وزكاةُ العِلمِ أن يُعَلِّمَهُ أهلَهُ.

21– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, 'Verily upon everything is its zakat, and the zakat of knowledge is to teach it to those who are worthy of it.’[Bihar al-Anwar, p. 247, no. 77]

22ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): المَعروفُ زكاةُ النِّعَمِ ، والشَّفاعةُ زكاةُ الجاهِ ، والعِلَلُ زكاةُ الأبدانِ ، والعَفوُ زَكاةُ الظَّفَرِ ، وما أدّيتَ زكاتَهُ فهُو مَأمونُ السَّلْبِ .

22– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, 'Good moral conduct is the zakat of bounties, intercession is the zakat of high status, ailments are the zakat of the body, amnesty is the zakat of victory, and all that you give out zakat on is protected from being snatched away from you.’[Bihar al-Anwar, p. 268, no. 182]

Obligatory Alms-Tax Payable on ‘Ahd al-Fitr

Obligatory Alms-Tax Payable on ‘Ahd al-Fitr2

زَكاةُ الفِطرَةِ

23ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): مَن أدّى زكاةَ الفِطرَةِ تَمَّمَ اللّه‏ُ لَهُ بها ما نَقَصَ مِن زكاةِ مالِهِ .

23– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, 'He who pays the obligatory alms-tax at the end of Ramadhan, Allah uses it to make up for any deficit in the alms-tax paid on his wealth.’[Wasa’il al-Shi’ah, v. 6, p. 220, no. 4]

24ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إنّ مِن تَمامِ الصَّومِ إعطاءَ الزَّكاةِ ـ يعني الفِطرَةَ ـ كما أنَّ الصَّلاةَ على النبِيّ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ) مِن تَمامِ الصّلاةِ ، لأ نّه مَن صامَ ولَم يُؤَدِّ الزَّكاةَ فلا صَومَ لَهُ إذا تَرَكَها مُتَعَمِّداً.

24– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, 'Giving the alms-tax at the end of the month of Ramadhan constitutes fasting just as sending blessings on the Prophet (S) at the end of the prayer completes and constitutes the prayer. Verily the one who fasts and yet intentionally does not pay the alms-tax due, his fasting is invalid.’[al-Faqih, v. 2, p. 183,no. 2085]

  • 1. zakat: in general Islamic terminology and specifically in Islamic jurisprudence and law, this refers to the alms-tax payable on one's wealth or property. Semantically, the word itself means 'purity' and comes from the root zaka (to purify, increase, augment, make thrive). Therefore zakat is that which is given out from something in order to purify it and increase its worth, and the traditions in this section indicate that in addition to the zakat payable on wealth, there is also a zakat payable on all other bounties of Allah that He has bestowed on man, in order to purify them, increase their worth and make them thrive. In this section, therefore, the word zakat has been left in the Arabic to differentiate it from the juristic term ‘alms-tax’ (ed.)
  • 2. termed zakat al-fitra. ‘Ahd al-Fitr: festival marking the end of the month of Ramadhan (ed.)