The Five Pillars of Islam

Suhel Farooq Khan


Zakah (Poor due Charity)

Islam is not against prosperity and does not restrict it; yet social equality is one of its basic principles. Sharing is a great Islamic virtue. Allah (God) has also commanded not to be extravagant. Allah (God) wants the prosperous people to respond in a responsible manner. They have to spare a thought for the deprived and try to help them as much as possible.


Zakah (Poor due Charity) is the fourth most important pillar of Islam. Zakah (Poor due Charity) means to purify, to increase, and to grow. But in the terminology of Shari’ah, it is a kind of financial worship, which purifies the wealth of a Muslim.  

Zakah (Poor due Charity) was made obligatory in 8 Hijrah. But it was promulgated from Muharram 9 Hijrah

The importance of Zakah (Poor due Charity) can be gauged from the fact that wherever the Qur-an has emphasized about the observance of the prayer, it has side by side stressed the need to pay the Zakah (Poor due Charity) as well. In all, the Qur-an has mentioned the word, Zakah (Poor due Charity), at 82 places, mostly with the commandment of prayer. 

The Holy Qur-an states:

“And perform prayer and give Zakah, and bow down along with the people who bow (ar-Rake’in)”
Surah (Chapter) Al-Baqarah (The Cow) Qur-an 2:43

At another place, Qur-an equates spending in the way of Allah with manifold increase:

“The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All Knower.”
Surah (Chapter) Al-Baqarah (The Cow) Qur-an 2:261

At another place, Allah promises increase in the wealth if
(Poor due Charity) is paid: 

“And that which you give in gift to others, in order that it may increase (your wealth by expecting to get a better one in return) from other people’s property, has no increase with Allah; but that which you give in Zakat seeking Allah’s pleasure, then those they shall have manifold increase.”
Surah (Chapter) Ar-Rum Qur-an 30:39

Zakah (Poor due Charity) is obligatory upon every wealthy Sahibun Nisab Muslim. Anyone who denies its obligatory status is a non-believer. 

Sahibun Nisab is that person who has extra wealth than the prescribed amount by Shari’ah. According to Shari’ah those people are considered wealthy who possesses the required Nisab, and a complete year is passed over it. 

During the time of the Messenger those people were considered wealthy who possessed dates orchards, camels and silver or gold coins. These people were supposed to pay Zakah (Poor due Charity).  

Regarding Nisab, the Messenger is reported to have said:
“There is no Zakah (Poor due Charity) in less than five Wasaq dates, less than five Auqiya of silver or gold and in less than five camels.”

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