Zakath in reality eliminates poverty
MP, (Batticaloa District)
Deputy Minister of Co-operatives and Internal Trade
Zakath is one of the five great pillars in Islam. The word Zakath
carries a number of literary meanings, of which ‘Purified’ can be taken
as the essence. It also means, increase and enlarge. This is because of
the result in the purification of the properties and assets, from which
it is given and that increases through Almighty Allah’s blessings.
Allah has commanded the payment of Zakath, in order to prevent human
beings from humility, pride, arrogance and greed. And also Allah
commands to eliminate many other adverse and unfortunate circumstances
through Zakath. This institution of Zakath is mentioned 27 times,
together with the establishment of the daily prayers, in the Holy Quran.
It is exactly a financial and economical obligation imposed upon
Muslims, which is leviable from every person who possesses a certain
minimum quantity of cash and kind or any other nature of assets. This
too is both collective and individual and both prescribed and voluntary.
The distribution of Zakath and charity is authentically performed
during the month of Ramadhan (Fasting month). The rate of Zakath is two
and half percent on commercial capital, individual assets and profits.
The assessment on commercial capital and profit is not as light as it
appears. The assessment on commercial enterprises is levied on both
capital and profits.
The object of this institution is not only to provide means for the
relief of distressed and the promotion of the welfare of the
economically less favoured section of the community, but also it
discourages hoarding of money and commodities and thus ensures a brisk
circulation of both, in resulting healthy economic adjustments.
Charity (Zakath) given with an enthusiastic and generous heart, helps
to establish a bond of love, devotion and sincerity between the rich and
poor and above all, with the Creator.
The Holy Quran expounds in detail, the principles upon which human
relationship or dealing ought to be based. It stresses the need of
co-operation and defines the limit of individual and collective right
and obligations. It regulates the relationship between master and
servant and lays down principles that ought to govern international
Alms and charity
The Holy Quran expressly enjoins that wealth should not be permitted
to accumulate and it ought to be kept constantly in circulation. It does
not permit any person to leave the whole of his property to one out of
several heirs, and even to augment the share of one heir at the expense
of another. It seeks to bring about equitable adjustments in
distribution of wealth, through Zakath, alms and charity.
Through these means, it provides for the economic prosperity and
stability of all sections of people.
On the occasion of ‘Id-ul-Fitr’ (Festival of Fast), it is obligatory
upon every Muslim, man and woman, adult and child, before taking part in
‘Id-ul-Fitr’ prayers, to offer 2 1/2 kgs of rice, wheat or corn,
consumed by the people of the particular nation, as contribution towards
helping the poor. This is called ‘Sadakathul-Fitr’.
Even the poorest person is not exempted from this obligation. He who
is able to afford, must nevertheless provide the contribution out that
with which he may receive as charity on that day.
Zakath and charity invariably enhance fellow feelings, because fellow
feeling is the first step towards the moral elevation of man, who often
feels impelled from within, without reference to any law.
Islam is a stabilized way of life. It also advises the rich and
wealthy to contribute generously for the poor and needy and for those
who are eligible to receive charity.
At the same time it advises poor and all in general to work hard for
their sustenance and not to resort to begging.