Zakat: The Inward and Outward Dimensions
As Muslims, we inherit a profoundly spiritual tradition and a practical tradition, meant not only for personal development but also for human connectivity. Namely, Zakat.
Zakat is the 3rd pillar of Islam that upholds our faith as believers and serves as the necessary foundation for living our lives.
Some acts of Islam consist of inward benefits, while some consist of outward. Zakat, uniquely offers both inward and outward benefits, but how?
Does Zakat Mean Charity?
Well, yes and no.
Zakat is often referred to as charity or a tax on a portion of your wealth, and while that is true, it’s not the whole answer.
Zakat literally means to purify. When we understand the meaning of words, we can start to understand their significance. We unlock a whole new perspective and approach altogether.
Is this mentioned in the Quran? Yes! “Successful indeed are those who purify themselves.” (87:14) The term purify here comes from the word Zakat.
In another verse, “Take from their wealth O’ Prophet charity to purify and increase them, and pray for them—surely your prayer is a source of comfort for them. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (9:103)
Rest assured, when you give your Zakat, your wealth is purified, and you will be increased! This has an immense inward and outward blessing on the soul and the wealth that you have accrued.
Two Close Friends: Salah and Zakat
Zakat and Salah (prayer) are paired together in the Quran over 3 dozen times! The wisdom is to emphasize the importance of both and how closely linked they are.
“And establish prayer and give zakah, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with God. Indeed, God of what you do, is Seeing.” (2:110)
The balance of both the inward spiritual development through prayer, and the outward social responsibility of Zakat serve as a balance to ensure equity between oneself and the world around us. We all know how important prayer is. When you’re in search of Zakat in the Quran, expect to frequently find it next to Salah.
Why? Because they are timeless acts of righteousness. Salah is a form of spiritual consciousness, while Zakat is a communal and social awareness. The two paired together to embody the inner and outward state of a Muslim. One involves self-development, while the other consists in being able to give and serve others.
Understanding the beauty of Zakat as an obligatory act of service gives us a more meaningful purpose when we give.
Zakat: Our Connection to Humanity
The 3rd pillar of Islam is uniquely different from the other pillars. It concerns us with our Creator (inward) and other humans and our connection to society (outward).
Zakat sets the standard for establishing a community that can thrive. It ensures the most vulnerable are taken care of by the rest of society. It embraces a connection between human beings and serves local and global social welfare.
It creates a bond between those receiving and giving and allows those in unfortunate situations not to feel alone. It creates a sense of belonging to the community and paves the way for a society devoted to God.
“As for the believing men and the believing women—all [of them] are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. Moreover, they [duly] establish the prayer and give the Zakât-Charity, and they obey God and His Messenger. It is these upon whom God shall have mercy. Indeed, God is overpowering, all-wise.” (9:71)
Zakat is mentioned right along with describing those who enjoin in the right and forbid the wrong. This magnifies the significance of giving to unify our community. But the monetary value isn’t what makes Zakat so vital. It is the human connection built between the giver and the community when one gives.
In a famous Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever (Bukhari).”
Islam provides a life of spiritual fulfillment with a means of embracing and serving all other humans.
It’s why at Human Concern International, we do what we do. We are an organization motivated by faith concerned for our fellow humans that live in dire situations.
We take your Zakat very seriously and ensure it goes to those who need your support the most.
Check out our Zakat page, and donate today!