There is a great benefit in giving zakat, and in this article, we will examine just some of the benefits derived from it. Many people wonder what they should do with their wealth and improve themselves, e.g., by learning more about their religion or doing good deeds that may get them nearer to Allah (SWT). Giving zakat is one way of achieving these goals because it has been decreed by Allah (SWT) as one of the five pillars of Islam upon which our faith is based. This means that giving zakat is not an option but rather an obligation upon every male that reaches a certain age and possesses a certain amount of wealth.
Allah states in the Quran: “O you who believe! Spend of that with which We have provided for you before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. And it is the disbelievers who are the wrong-doers.” [Al-Quran 2:254]
Allah (SWT) also states in another verse: “And establish prayer and give Zakat and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience].” [Al-Qur’an 2:43]
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So every male has to pay this tax when he has savings of over $371 or when his wealth reaches the level of nisab ($3,482). He should not think that he will only pay zakat once because if his wealth exceeds the nisab level regularly (e.g., he has an income of more than $371 per year), he should continue to give zakat until he continues it is no longer possible for him to do so.
The Prophet (SAW) said: “The wealthy person is not the one who has an abundance of wealth but the one who gives away (spends in Allah’s cause) what he loves.” And, “The best act of charity is that which every wealthy person spends out of his portion of wealth upon himself and also upon all those people who are poor like him.”
Another reason why you should pay zakat is that paying zakat is to be seen as purification for your wealth because Allah (SWT) does not accept charity given with impurities. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri narrated that the Prophet said: “A man became very rich, but he did not pay zakat on his wealth. When his death approached, he asked his sons to give him to drink from a vessel, and they did so. Then it was taken to the Prophet (SAW).
When he had received it, he called those present in the house and told them about its contents and then said: ‘This is what we call as sadaqa.'” The Companions asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Is there any reward for us if we drink it?” He replied: “Yes, there would be a reward for you. Then they all drank from it and brought the vessel back to him, and he put it on his bed to make clear its contents. He then died without paying zakat on his wealth.” [Muslim]
Therefore, if your money is purified by giving away a small portion of it, you should pay the remaining amount to be forgiven for any shortfalls that may have occurred before this moment. Zakat means ‘to grow’ or ‘to become prosperous.’ So when you give zakat, Allah (SWT) makes your wealth grow – not only in terms of what you have given but also through the extensive rewards that one gets from Allah (SWT). In addition, zakat is a means of purification for your wealth. It expiates any shortfall that may have occurred before the time that you paid it.
Allah (SWT) also says, “And establish prayer and give zakat, and whatever good you send forth for yourselves before you, you shall find it with Allah; surely Allah sees what you do.” [Al-Quran 2:110]
The Prophet said: “Pay zakat when one of you thinks himself to be self-sufficient.” [Abu Dawud] This shows that giving zakat does not only mean giving in charity, but it requires paying attention to one’s own needs to become free from greed. If he has enough, he should give away from what Allah has provided for him.
In another hadith, the Prophet said: “Give zakat and be free from the dependence of other people because you would carry your burden.” [Abu Dawud]