The Obligatory Charity (Zakat)
Cont’d from page 1
This is one of the verses where kindness is encouraged and it seems to me that being charitable is one form of kindness in that verse. It is also a reminder to give the charity in a kind manner.
Giving Zakat is also a way of showing our appreciation for God’s blessings.
[108:1-2] We have blessed you with many a bounty. Therefore, you shall pray to your Lord (Salat), and give to charity.
The worship practices bond us as sisters and brothers in faith (9:11, 9:71, 5:55). Being a unified community of Submitters can help us be steadfast in our faith and strive in the cause of God at higher levels (3:104, 3:200).
[9:11] If they repent and observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), then they are your brethren in religion. We thus explain the revelations for people who know.
[3:200] O you who believe, you shall be steadfast, you shall persevere, you shall be united, you shall observe GOD, that you may succeed.
The importance of Zakat is reflected in the following verse:
Requirements For Attaining God's Mercy: The Importance of Zakat
[7:156] "And decree for us righteousness in this world, and in the Hereafter. … He said, “… My mercy encompasses all things. However, I will specify it for those who (1) lead a righteous life, (2) give the obligatory charity (Zakat),* (3) believe in our revelations …”
*7:156 The importance of the obligatory charity (Zakat) cannot be over emphasized. As instituted in 6:141, Zakat must be given away upon receiving any income—2.5% of one's net income must be given to the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor, and the traveling alien, in this order (see 2:215).
Giving Zakat is part of the criteria for earning God’s mercy as the following verses also show:
Formula for Success
[24:56] You shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and obey the messenger, that you may attain mercy.
[9:71] The believing men and women are allies of one another. They advocate righteousness and forbid evil, they observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and they obey GOD and His messenger. These will be showered by GOD's mercy. GOD is Almighty, Most Wise.
It is a blessing to be able to give Zakat. The rewards are immense both in this life and in the Hereafter.
How do Submitters give Zakat?
All the worship practices, including Zakat, were passed down to us from Abraham (21:72-73, 22:78, 16:123). We know from the Quran that Jesus (19:31) and the Children of Israel were also enjoined to observe Zakat (2:83, 5:12).
The percentage that was passed down to us from Abraham was 2.5%. This was clarified for us by Dr. Rashad Khalifa, God’s Messenger of the Covenant (Appendix 15).
Abraham: Delivered All Religious Duties of Islam
[21:73] We made them imams who guided in accordance with our commandments, and we taught them how to work righteousness, and how to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and the obligatory charity (Zakat).* To us, they were devoted worshipers.
*21:73 When the Quran was revealed, all religious duties were already established through Abraham (2:128, 16:123, 22:78).
Who do we give zakat to?
Recipients of Charity
[2:215] They ask you about giving: say, “The charity you give shall go to the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor, and the traveling alien.” Any good you do, GOD is fully aware thereof.
The verse above outlines the recipients of charity and Zakat is Obligatory Charity. This verse also specifies the order of giving.
If someone does not know anyone in need, she or he may give Zakat to an organization or mosque with the purpose of helping poor people (Appendix 15).
When do we give zakat?
We are commanded to give Zakat on the day of harvest or the day we receive the provisions:
Zakat Must Be Given
“On The Day Of Harvest”*
[6:141] He is the One who established gardens, trellised and untrellised, and palm trees, and crops with different tastes, and olives, and pomegranate —fruits that are similar, yet dissimilar. Eat from their fruits, and give the due alms on the day of harvest,* and do not waste anything. He does not love the wasters.
*6:141 Zakat charity is so important, the Most Merciful has restricted His mercy to those who give it (7:156). Yet, the corrupted Muslims have lost this most important commandment; they give Zakat only once a year. We see here that Zakat must be given away “On the day we receive income.” The proportion that came to us through Abraham is 2.5% of our net income.
God promises a great reward for those who follow His path. May we be among them.
[4:162] As for those among them who are well founded in knowledge, and the believers, they believe in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed before you. They are observers of the Contact Prayers (Salat), and givers of the obligatory charity (Zakat); they are believers in GOD and the Last Day. We grant these a great recompense.
 Reference for verses, subtitles, footnotes and appendices: Quran: The Final Testament (Authorized English Version) translated by Dr. Rashad Khalifa
Acknowledgement: Thanks to the Submitters who shared their input and understanding on this topic as this article was being written.