Lesson Cancellations

18 12 2009

Assalamu ‘alaykum,

Unfortunately, today’s lesson (18/12/09) is canceled due to the flooding of the youth club.

Next week’s lesson is also canceled due to the Ustadh being away.

The next lesson will therefore be on the 1st of January insha’allah. If you cannot make the lesson due to public transport being closed, you can listen to the lecture that very night (approx 11pm) on this blog.

Wassalamu ‘alaykum.


17 12 2009

“And it may be that you dislike a thing in which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allaah (swt) knows but you do not know” [2:216]

Al-Hasan al-Basree (ra) said: “Do not resent the calamities that come and disasters that occur, for perhaps in something that you dislike will be your salvation and perhaps in something that you prefer will be your doom”.

“And when someone puts ALL his trust in Allaah (swt), He will be enough for him” [65:3]

“The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allaah (swt) loves a people, He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His pleasure but whoever is discontent with that earns His wrath” [at-Tirmidhee]

“Rememeber death in your prayer, for the man who remembers death during his prayer will surely pray correctly and pray the prayer of a man who does not think that he will pray any other prayer” [as-Silsilah as-Saheehah {1421}]

Fulaan ibn Fulaan

The Importance of Zakaah

13 12 2009

‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar narrated that he heard the Messenger of Allaah (saw) say,

“Islaam is built upon five [foundations]: The testimony that none is worthy of worship save Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, the establishment of the prayer, the giving of the zakah, the pilgrimage to the House and the fast of Ramadhan.”
(recorded by al-Bukhaari and Muslim).

In the famous hadith of the Angel Jibreel coming to the Prophet (saw) to sk him questions in order to teach the people about the religion, he asked the Prophet (saw), “What is Islaam?” The Prophet (saw) answered “Islaam is that you testify that there is none worthy of worship save Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, that you establish the prayer, that you give the zakah, that you fast Ramadhan, and that you make the pilgrimage to the House if you have the means to do so” (Muslim).

This is what Islaam is built upon. These are the foundations of one’s Islaam. If these foundations or pillars are strong, Allaah willing, the rest of one’s faith and religion will also be sound, correct and strong. However if these pillars are weak or not sound, it is not surprising that there may be some problems further on down the line. In fact, one should expect that there will be some problems or weaknesses in the person’s submission to Allaah and his faith.

The most important is the shahadatayn, the testifying that there is none worthy of worship save Allaah and that Muhammad (saw) is His Messenger. Hopefully, every Muslim is aware of how important that pillar is and does his best to make sure that he understands and fulfils his testimony to the best of his ability.

In most people’s minds, obviously, second in importance comes the prayer. In fact, a number of scholars are of the opinion that the one who does not pray becomes a disbeliever.

What comes next? Everyone is well familiar with Ramadhan since we fast it together and everyone prepares for its arrival. Similarly, the pilgrimage is something that is well-known and some people prepare their lives or save for a number of years in order to complete the pilgrimage to Makkah.

But what comes most alongside prayer in the Qur’aan? It is not the fasting of Ramadhan or the pilgrimage. Instead, it is the payment of zakah. Many Muslims have a tendency to overlook this important pillar, perhaps because it is not done by the community all at once or because there is no celebration after its payment.

But look how Allaah describes it. Note the following verse of the Qur’aan where Allaah orders the Companions to fight the mushrikeen wherever we can:

“Then when the sacred months have passed, kill the polytheists wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them and prepare for them each and every ambush. But if they repent and offer prayer and give zakah, then leave their way free. Verily Allaah is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful”
(at-Tawbah, 5)

In this verse, Allaah orders the Companions to fight them until when? Allaah explicitly states that they will be left free from fighting only after they repent, establish the prayer and pay the zakah.

Shortly afterwards in the same surah, following the same line of discussion, Allaah says:

“But if they repent, offer prayer and give the zakah, then they are your brethren in religion” (at-Tawbah, 11)

In these two verses one can catch a glimpse of the importance of zakah in Allaah’s sight. The disbelievers will become our brethren in the religion – that is, they will truly be part of this religion – when they repent, pray and give the zakah.

In fact, if someone believes in zakah yet he refuses to pay it, he can be fought. This is exactly what happened during the time of the Companions. After the death of the Prophet (saw) some of the tribes apostatised and others refused to pay the zakah. Abu Bakr, the first khalifah, fought them and declared, “By Allaah, I will fight anyone who distinguishes between prayer and zakah. Zakah is the compulsory right to be taken from the property. By Allaah! If they refuse to pay me even a she-kid which they used to pay at the time of Allaah’s Messenger (saw), I would fight them for withholding it”.

Therefore, zakah is a very serious matter. It truly is something essential to this religion of ours. It is one of its pillars. If we do not tend to it or if we are negligent of it, then we are being negligent with respect to one of the foundations of our faith. Indeed, in the opinion of a small number of scholars, this is the only other act – other than prayers – that if one does not perform it due to laziness or such, then he is a disbeliever.

What kind of result do you expect from such negligence? Allaah has made it clear that there is a great punishment for such an act. The following verse of the Qur’aan is first and foremost a reference to those who do not pay the zakah on their wealth:

“And let not those who covetously withhold of that which Allaah has bestowed on them of His Bounty (wealth) think that it is good for them. Nay, it will be worse for them. The things which they covetously withheld shall be tied to their necks like a collar on the Day of Resurrection. And to Allaah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth, and Allaah is Well-Acquainted with all that you do”. (al-‘Imraan, 180)

The Prophet (saw) described the punishment that will come to those who do not pay the proper zakah on their wealth. In one hadith in Sahih al-Bukhaari, Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet (saw) said,

“[On the Day of Resurrection] camels will come to their owner in the best state of health they have ever had (in the world) and if he had not paid their zakah on them, they would tread him with their feet, and similarly, sheep will come to their owner in the best state of health they ever had in this world and, if he had not paid their zakah, would tread him with their hooves and would butt him with their horns… I do not want anyone of you to come to me on the Day of Resurrection carrying over his neck a sheep that will be bleating. Then he says, “O Muhammad (please intercede for me)”. I will say, “I cant help you for I conveyed Allaah’s message to you”

Yes, the Prophet (saw) conveyed Allaah’s message to us. He stressed that the zakah is one of the pillars of Islaam. He also clearly warned of the consequences of not paying such zakah. Note the following hadith from Sahih al-Bukhaari:

“Whoever is made wealthy by Allaah and does not pay zakah of his wealth, then on the Day of Resurrection his wealth will be made like a bald-headed poisonous snake with two poisonous glands. It will encircle his neck and bite his cheeks and say, “I am your wealth, I am your treasure”.

After stating that, the Prophet (saw) then recited the above verse from Surah al-‘Imraan.
In another verse, Allaah also says,

“[There are] those who hoard up gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allaah – announce unto them a painful torment. On the Day when that wealth will be heated in the fire of hell and it will brand their foreheads, flanks and backs. [It will be said to them], “This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard”. (at-Tawbah, 34-35)

In fact, Muslims who do not pay their zakah are not only harming themselves but they can actually harm the entire Muslim ummah. The Messenger of Allaah (saw) said,

“A people do not keep from giving the zakah on their wealth except that they will be kept from having rain from the sky. If it were not for the animals, it would not rain at all”. (Ibn Maajah, according to al-Albaani it is sahih, see Silsilat al-Hadeeth as-Saheehah, vol.1, hadith no. 106)

But how many Muslims today know the conditions and rules of zakah? How many of us have taken the time to study the fiqh of zakah? How many of us even know if we are required to give zakah? This is knowledge that each and every one of us must seek and desire. In fact, if you have any wealth this is all part of the knowledge that one is required to have and is responsible for. We should never be satisfied being ignorant of such an important matter – something related to the foundation of our faith.

For example, many brothers and sisters own businesses. Do they know about the zakah on their inventory?

What about our wealth? Many of us may think that we do not have much money so we do not have to pay zakah. But in order to say that about ourselves, we must at least learn what is the minimum amount or nisab that requires us to pay zakah. How many of us actually know what that nisab is? Wouldn’t it be sad if we did not know what that nisab is? That means, that we would not even know if we are required to fulfil one of the pillars of our faith?

What about that money that you may have laying around for a year’s time – sometimes even in an old bank account that you may not pay much attention to. Do you even keep track or are you conscious of whether you have the nisab amount? This requires some taqwaa and checking on your part. If the money in your possession for a year’s time – you have sitting around, money in accounts not yet closed, money in accounts here and overseas perhaps – if added together exceed the amount of the nisab, you must pay. In fact, for the Hanafi madhab, it is sufficient that you went above the nisab at one point in time and were also above the nisab at the point in time one year from that original date. All of this is information that we must be aware of if we truly desire to implement this pillar of Islaam.

What about your wife’s jewellery? How many of you have even considered whether or not it is obligatory to pay zakah on your wife’s gold and silver? According to some scholars, you must also pay zakah on that. The important point I wish to highlight here is whether or not you ever took the time to investigate that issue.

This is all information that you must seek. Unfortunately many times, it is not a matter of ignorance but it is a matter of negligence. The information about zakah is available and easily accessible – if you truly want to know it. But you must first realise that you are responsible for getting that knowledge about this pillar of Islaam and foundation of your faith.

Some people actually give some money and then say, “I am not sure if I am supposed to pay or how much. If I am, that should cover it, otherwise it is a sadaqa from me”. This is like going to the mosque at dhuhr time and praying two, four or six rak’ahs and then saying, “I am not sure how much I was supposed to pray. If I prayed
more then it will be nafilah (supererogatory) from me”. The clear intention that the money he is paying is being paid to fulfil his obligation and the pillar of zakah. Furthermore perhaps it is the case that you actually did not give enough as zakah.

Some people actually give sadaqah or voluntary charity and have never considered if they are supposed to give zakah. This is a grave error. In fact, one must fulfil the obligatory acts before one performs the voluntary acts. It is the obligatory acts that are the most beloved to Allaah. A hadith qudsi states, “My servant does not get close to me by anything more beloved to me than acts that I have made obligatory upon him”. (al-Bukhaari) This is a mistake that many people make. First one must fulfil the obligatory duties. These are the most important acts and that is why Allaah has made them obligatory upon us.

Finally, there comes the question of whom to give the zakah to. Many people actually do pay zakah but, in fact, they give it to people – or to organisations and institutions – that do not fit the requirements for those who may be given zakah. Allaah has made it very clear to whom it may be given to:

“Alms are only for the poor, and needy and those employed to collect the funds, and those who hearts have been inclined (towards Islaam) and to free the captives, and to those in debt, and for Allaah’s cause (those fighting in the way of Allaah) and for the wayfarer, a duty imposed by Allaah. And Allaah is All-Knower, All-Wise” (at-Tawbah, 60)

Zakah cannot be given to one you are financially responsible for. I know of cases where a person has given zakah to his own wife. That is simply unacceptable and, in so doing, you do not meet your requirements of paying zakah.

Finally, as a community, the local mosques should set up institutions or committees through which they collect the obligatory zakah and distribute it to those in need. Many times one may have zakah and not know who to give it to, so the money is sent to a distance far away while, in fact, someone close by is deserving and in need of the money. Every community should establish those means by which they look after each other. They should know who is in need. The local mosque or zakah committee should encourage people to pay their zakah and teach them how to pay it. They should then take that zakah and distribute it in the proper way. All of this will be a means, Allaah willing, of making this foundation of Islaam a strong foundation.

Dear brothers, this is a very important matter. It relates to one of the pillars of Islaam. Allaah describes the taking of zakah in the following manner:

“Take (O Muhammad) alms from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it” (at-Tawbah, 103)

Zakah should purify us of stinginess. It should help meet the needs of our poor brothers. It should make us realise that all the wealth we possess is from Allaah and that we must use it in the proper manner.

As I said before, it is one of the foundations of Islaam. If the foundation is weak, then that weak foundation will have ramifications for other aspects of our lives.

Today, how many Muslims in the world honestly, sincerely and properly pay zakah to purify their wealth and to help their Muslim brethren. Since we are missing, lacking or very weak in that foundation, is it any surprise that:

So many Muslims are starving and in need today

So much Muslim wealth is wasted on luxury

So much Muslim wealth is spent on forbidden items

So little Muslim wealth is spent in jihaad and sacrificing for the sake of Allaah.

The Messenger of Allaah (saw) was ordered to fight the people until they make the shahaada, established prayer and paid zakah. Abu Bakr continued that teaching after him. What does that mean for us today? Does that mean if they were alive today, we would be from those who would be fighting alongside them or would we be from those whom they would be fighting?

Let us make sure that we pay the zakah and fulfil all of the other pillars of Islaam correctly and sincerely for Allaah’s sake, so that our Islaam as a whole will be strong and Allaah will be pleased with us.

By Shaykh J.Zarabozo