Table of Contents

Lesson 10: The Two Forgotten Obligations

First: Islamic Tax (Zakat)

{إِنَّمَا ٱلصَّدَقَٰتُ لِلْفُقَرَآءِ وَٱلْمَسَٰكِينِ وَٱلْعَٰمِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَٱلْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَٱلْغَٰرِمِينَ وَفِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱبْنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ}

The freewill offerings (zakat) are for the poor and needy, those who work to collect them, those whose hearts are brought together, the ransoming of slaves, debtors, in God's way, and the traveller; so God ordains; God is All-knowing, All-wise. (Tawbah 9:60).

The commandment for Islamic Tax (Zakat) came down in Mecca, however due to the very few Muslims and limited wealth for the giving of Islamic Tax (Zakat), people would pay themselves. After the forming of the Islamic government in Medina, Islamic Tax (Zakat) was collected from people and placed in the Islamic Treasury (Bayt-ul-Mal) and the wealth was concentrated under the control of an Islamic governor.

{خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً}

Take of their wealth a freewill offering (Tawba 9:103).

Islamic Tax (Zakat) is not specific to Islam, rather was also a present in religions prior to it. Prophet Jesus× said in his cradle:

{وَأَوْصَانِي بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ}

and He has enjoined me to pray, and to give the alms (Maryam 19:31).

And Prophet Moses(pbuh) stated Bani Israel

{وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ}

And perform the prayer, and pay the alms (Al Baqarah 2:43).

And with regards to Prophethood in general, we read

{وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ فِعْلَ الْخَيْرَاتِ وَإِقَامَ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءَ الزَّكَاةِ}

And appointed them to be leaders guiding by our command, and we revealed to them the doing of good deeds, and to perform the prayer, and to pay the alms (Anbiyah 21:73).

In the Qur’an, four expressions have been used for Islamic Tax (Zakat):

1. Giving of one’s wealth.

{وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ}

To give of one's substance, however cherished, to kinsmen.
(Al Baqarah 2:177).

2. Freewill offering (Al Tawbah 9:103, see above)

3. Expend

{يُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُنفِقُوا}

They perform the prayer, and expend (Abraham 14:31).

4. Islamic Tax (Zakat).

{يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ}

Perform the prayer and pay the alms (Al Maidah 5:55).

The Importance Of Islamic Tax (Zakat)

Generally, in the Holy Qur’an Islamic Tax (Zakat) comes alongside prayer and there is no other obligatory deed that has been so strongly associated with prayer, and according to narrations, the condition in which prayers are accepted are the payments of Islamic Tax (Zakat). This relationship delivers the link between the connection with Allahﷻ and the connection with people.

It is forbidden for Saddat1 to receive Islamic Tax (Zakat), when a group of people from Bani Hashim2 requested from the Prophet (pbuh) that they be in charge of collecting the Islamic Tax (Zakat) of cattle, and from that be able to be paid a portion of the Islamic Tax (Zakat) for their collection work, the Prophet (pbuh) stated that Islamic Tax (Zakat) is forbidden upon you and I, unless it be that both the recipient and giver are both Saddat.

The law of Islamic Tax (Zakat) is not for Islam to be inclined towards having a group of poor people be recipients while the rich be donors, but rather is a solution to an outside problem in society. The rich are also afflicted with such phenomena as theft, fire, collisions, war and captivity, and in the Islamic system there must be a budgetary measure for social security.

In the narrations, it says that Allahﷻ has placed a certain amount of wealth in the hands of the rich for the purpose of solving the problems of the poor and if it is known that this was insufficient, the wealth would be increased for them. If the rights of the poor are all paid to them the lives of all will be good and if the rich paid the Islamic Tax (Zakat) of the poor, there would be no existence of poverty3.

Contrary to the beliefs of some with regards to limiting the growth of individual income and limiting its growth, Islam believes that we must give a proportion of our freedom so that mankind struggles to work hard, initiate, and reaps rewards the rewards of nature to grow, but also to pay taxes. The condition of paying the Islamic Tax (Zakat) “in the way of Allahﷻ” is not just for the poor, but for any cause that will assist the sovereign line of Islam.

For the sake of saving society from the evil of the wicked, we can use Islamic Tax (Zakat) to our benefit and this spending would be considered part of “Softening of the Hearts4” spending.

If someone has upon their neck a blood money debt to pay which they cannot pay, this can be considered “Debt”5 and Islamic Tax (Zakat) money can be used to assist them.

Perhaps the term “Upon the necks”6 can also be considered part of Islamic Tax (Zakat) spending towards freeing prisoners and securing their expenditure.

The spending of Islamic Tax (Zakat) need not be equally distributed amongst its allowable expenditure, but rather, can be at the discretion of the Islamic jurist and be distributed according to the needs and necessities.

Islamic Tax (Zakat), is a means of adjusting the distribution of wealth.

Islamic Tax (Zakat), is an act of thankfulness to the divine blessings.

Islamic Tax (Zakat), diminishes socio-economic classes and removes hatred between the rich and the poor.

Islamic Tax (Zakat), develops the soul of generosity and mercy in mankind, and reduces material desires and dependence.

Islamic Tax (Zakat), is the bankroll to the security of the deprived in society. To the poor it says don’t worry, to the bankrupt it says renew your efforts, to the traveller it says don’t be afraid of becoming stranded, to the workers it says your share is protected, and to the slaves - it gives the promise of freedom, it booms the market for the divine mercy and the hearts of others are attracted to Islam.

Neglecting Allahﷻ, human exploitation, hard heartedness, tyranny and debauchery, is the fruit of rivalry in worldly matters and wealth, while Islamic Tax (Zakat) is the medicine for this disease.

Islamic Tax (Zakat), as well as reducing deprivation, it orientates others towards Islam or at least it prevents leaning towards working with the enemies of Islam. Just as noted in the narrations, sometimes those with weak faith can have their faith made firm through a little financial help and by being closer to Islam.

Islamic Tax (Zakat), being part of the schematic of the Islamic system, is the foundation of societal justice, elimination of poverty, security for workers, international popular relations, freedom of slaves and the imprisoned, movement of potential energy and protecting the religion and royalty of Muslims and the spread of its services in general.

Second: Khums

According to narrations and the Shia belief, Ayah 41 of Surah Al Anfaal covers all forms of income broader than business, work, and trade and one source of khums has been mentioned in this Ayah while others have been mentioned in the narrations

{وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا غَنِمْتُم مِّن شَيْءٍ فَأَنَّ لِلَّـهِ خُمُسَهُ}

Know that, whatever booty you take, the fifth of it is God's
(Al Anfal 8:41).

Khums, in the narrations, is of such importance that it is said that anyone who does not pay Khums of their wealth, their wealth is not lawful to them and they are not allowed to utilise their wealth, and the clothes worn in prayers which has not had its khums paid is problematic.

The jurists have identified seven items in which khums needs to be paid on:

1. Profit and benefits of business and annual income

2. Treasure

3. Minerals

4. Gem stones obtained through sea-diving

5. Unlawful wealth mixed with lawful wealth

6. Land purchased by a non-warring disbeliever buys from a Muslim

7. War spoils7

It’s clearly obvious that Allahﷻ is not in need of khums, but rather Allah’s portion is to be used for the governance of Allah’s Law and the government of the Prophet, propagation and deliverance of the call of Islam to the ears of the world, saving those who are oppressed and weak and preventing corruption.

Based on narrations, Gods portion is under the authority of the Prophet along with the Prophets share, and after him, under the authority of the Imam. And these are, during the time of occultation, under the authority of the specified representatives of the general representatives of the Imam, meaning the jurist with all the conditions fulfilled, and the jurisprudential judge.

Of other spending that khums can be utilized for as per the narrations, the impoverished and those stranded in travel that are of the Bani Hashim heir, it is forbidden for impoverished Saddat to receive Islamic Tax (Zakat), they are able to utilise the khums stream of funds to secure their needs8. In fact, Islam has made obligatory two things which would eradicate poverty in society: The first is Islamic Tax (Zakat) which is in relation to all societies poor, and the other is khums, part of which has been dedicated to the needy Saddat, and both khums and Islamic Tax (Zakat) payable is to be as much as one years’ worth of their needs, no more.

  • 1. Saddat are people who are linked to the Prophet through paternal linkage.
  • 2. Who themselves are Saddat.
  • 3. ( Wasa'il Al Shia وسائل الشيعة‎ ) V6 P4
  • 4. المؤلفة القلوبهم
  • 5. والغارمین
  • 6. و فی الرقاب
  • 7. (Tafsir Safi تـفـسيـر الـصـافـي )
  • 8. ( Wasa'il Al Shia وسائل الشيعة‎ ) V6 The Chapter of Khums