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Utilization of Zakah: Scope & Dimension

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SHAH ABDUL HALIM

zakah-imageSADAQAH is only for the poor [fuqaraa] and the needy [masakin] and for those employed to collect the funds [‘amilina ‘alayha] and for bringing the hearts together for Islam [mu ‘allafah qulub] and for freeing captives [fir-riqab] and for those in debt [gharimin] and for the cause of Allah [fi sabilil-lah] and for the wayfarer [ibn as-sabil] – an obligation imposed by Allah [faridatam-minal-lah]. And Allah is Knowing and Wise [Al Qur’an 9:60. The Qur’an Arabic Text with Corresponding English Meanings, Saheeh International, Abulqasim Publishing House, Riyadh, 1997, p 254].

Zakah is a very important. It is in a way fundamental, central, vital and integral component of Muslim life and economy. There is, however, some misunderstanding, misperception and confusion among the people as to the meaning of this verse [Al Qur’an 9: 60] and what expenditure is endorsed, allowed and permitted under the purview of this verse of the Qur’an.
Here in this article, an effort has been made to explain the verse 9: 60 of the Qur’an quoted above. In explaining the verse, earlier scholars of Islam have been quoted to delve deep and extract greater meanings of the verse while expounding and clarifying it. The best way of explaining a verse of the Qur’an is to take help and assistance of another verse of the Qur’an. That has been followed in explaining verse 9: 60 of the Qur’an.

It needs to be clarified why the word used in verse 9: 60 is sadaqah not Zakah. This needs to be addressed to satisfy the query of a section of people. It needs to be observed that this verse ends with the words: faridatam-minal-lah [thus is it] ordained by Allah [Al Qur’an 9:60. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, Amana Corporation, Brentwood, Maryland, U. S. A., p 456].

The word ordained indicates an obligation. That means the sadaqh referred in this verse is obligatory in nature and not voluntary. It is obligatory on the part of Muslim community to make organized efforts to realize Zakah. It is a matter of raising public fund, whose management should primarily be in the hands of a public body.

Verse 9: 60 of the Qur’an, if read together with verse 9: 103 [Take O Muhammad from their wealth a charity. The Qur’an, Arabic Text with Corresponding English Meanings, p 263] then it becomes clear that collection and distribution of Zakah is the responsibility of the Islamic state. This is the view of some prominent scholars and jurists. Prof. Dr. Yusuf al Qaradawi, Dean of the Faculty of Shariah, Qatar University holds the same view [Yusuf al Qaradawi, Poverty and It’s Solution in Islam, Adam Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi – 110002, 2004, pp 139-140].

But the scope of distributing Zakah at the individual level cannot be denied. The Prophet’s Companion Mughirah may Allah be pleased with him narrated that his servant handed over a portion of Zakah to the sultan meaning the representative of the state or government and some Zakah he distributed [Yusuf al Qaradawi, Poverty and It’s Solution in Islam, pp 138-139].

The state collected Zakah of the wealth and property that is visible. But personal property like ornaments, Zakah against such wealth and property were distributed by the possessors themselves.

The obligatory nature of sadaqah mentioned in this verse is reflected from the position taken by Abu Bakr may Allah be pleased with him, the first caliph, when he took up position that he would wage war against any person refusing to pay Zakah and making difference between prayer, Salah and Zakah [Bukhari and Muslim].

Incidentally it is called Zakah because one’s wealth grows through blessings of giving it and prayers of those who receives it, and because it purifies its giver of sin and extols him by testifying to the genuineness of his faith [Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (fourteenth century shafi faqeeh), Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, tr. into English and Edited by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, amana publications, Beltsville, Maryland, U.S.A., 1997, p 246].

That the verse [Al Qur’an 9: 60] contained instruction regarding collection and the management of Zakah [‘amilina ‘alayha] proves the rationality of the teachings of Islam and how pragmatic is its ordinances. Allah just did not leave the realization of this obligatory charity as a mere wish but made ordinance, arrangement by which the realization of Zakah has become possible and effective, a practical phenomenon.

Fuqaraa – masakin: As regards distributing Zakah money among the fuqaraa and masakin – poor and needy, the prevailing view among a section of people and also a section of ulama, religious scholars, is that the amount of Zakah shall have to be distributed strictly among the poor Muslim and needy Muslims although the verse is silent in this respect. Nobody can say Allah forgot to mention the qualifying word Muslim before poor and needy [nauzu billah – I seek refuge in Allah]. The Qur’an has not sanctioned payment of Zakah in view of the recipient’s claim to faith.

Moreover, if we read instruction of this verse [Al Qur’an 9: 60] together with verse 2:126 of the Qur’an in which Allah responded to the prayers of Prophet Ibrahim peace and blessings be upon him and said that He will also provide disbelievers sustenance then it becomes clear that Zakah money can be paid to any poor and needy irrespective of whether such a person is a believing Muslim or not. Sheikh-ul-Islam Allama Shabbir Ahmad Usmani commenting on the verse 2: 126 of the Qur’an in his commentary Tafseer Usmani, expressed the view that the unbelievers would also be given food in the world [The Noble Quran, Tafseer Usmani, English tr. Mohammad Ashfaq Ahmad, Maktaba-e-Matloob, Karachi, Footnote 185, p 51]

The money of the Zakah is not only for Muslims, but such money can be spent on anyone who lives under the control of the Islamic government [Yusuf al Qaradawi, Poverty and It’s Solution in Islam, p 167]. Caliph Umar bin Khattab was of the opinion that it was lawful to pay Zakah to the Christian and Jews [Yusuf al Qaradawi, Fiqhuz Zakah Bengali tr. Islaamer Zakat Bidhan, Islamic Foundation Bangladesh, Vol II, p 210].

From this point of view, establishing charitable trusts with Zakah money to look after poor, needy, orphan and widow, irrespective of religious faith, also deem to be permissible, as also the related expenditure for materializing the objectives.

The verse 9:60 of the Qur’an regarding distributing Zakah money among the poor and needy if read together with verse 2: 245 [yuqridul-laha qardan hasana – who is it that will offer up unto Allah a goodly loan – meaning sacrificing one’s life in, or devoting it to, His cause. Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’an, Dar Al Andalus, Gibraltar, Note 234, p 54], 5: 12 [aqradtumul-laha qardan hasana – and loan to Allah a beautiful loan – the phrase means spending in the cause of Allah. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, Note 710, p 250 or offer up unto Allah a goodly loan – meaning doing righteous deeds. Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’an, Note 23, p 144], and 57:11 [yuqridul-laha qardan hasana – offer up unto Allah goodly loan – the meaning is apparently wider, applying to all that man may do selflessly, for the sake of Allah alone. Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’an, Note 11, p 837] makes it clear that there is no scope of taking a narrow view on the category of recipient of Zakah money. These three verses of the Qur’an underlined the broad the approach of Islam.
Moreover, the sadaqah money has to be distributed secretly for that is better [Al Qur’an 2: 271, Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’an, p 60 and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan & Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Interpretation of the Meanings of The Noble Qur’an (a summarized version of At-Tabari , Al-Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir with comments of Sahih Al-Bukhari), Dar-us-Salam Publications, Saudi Arabia, p 93] and without any fanfare for Allah does not love those who spend their possessions on others only to be seen and praised by men [Al Qur’an 4: 38, Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’an, p 111] or show-off as Allama Shabbir Ahmad Usmani puts it [Noble Quran,Tafseer Usmani, Note 59, p 339] or as Sayyid Qutb puts it: Allah does not love those who spend their wealth for the sake of ostentation [In the Shade of the Qur’an Fi Zilal al Qur’an, The Islamic Foundation, Markfield, U.K., Vol. III, p 141].

Some recipient of the Zakah has to be recognized identifying them from their mark for some will never ask for help or will not beg because of modesty [Al Qur’an 2:273] or as Sayyid Qutb puts it: In every generation there will be people not able, for various reasons, to earn their livelihood, but who insist on preserving their modesty and personal dignity by not becoming a burden on anyone else. They do their utmost to hide their poverty and distress, and only a few people are able to detect and appreciate their predicament [In the Shade of the Qur’an Fi Zilal al Qur’an, Vol. I, p 446].

Allama Shabbir Ahmad Usmani explaining the verse 2: 273 of the Qur’an – thou shalt know them by their face puts it: For the propagation of Islam a group of proficient scholars … required in the Muslim society. Their life ought to be dedicated to Islam only. When busy in the grand service of Islam, they can’t pay heed to the economic activities. The divided attention could not bring about perfect results. Hence Muslim society is bound to serve such persons …Today it is incumbent on the Muslims to help such persons – students memorizing the Quran, learning the Islamic sciences, or scholars teaching the Muslim community … Such souls have distinct color and can be known by their enlightened faces, their self-mortified behavior, their contented gesture not begging of men importunately [Noble Quran,Tafseer Usmani, Note 441, p 157].

Ahmad ibn Naqib al Mistri explaining the verse 2: 273 of the Qur’an puts it: If … he is engaged in attaining a knowledge of some subject in Sacred Law such that turning to earning a living would prevent the acquisition of this knowledge then it is permissible for him to take Zakah because the attainment of knowledge is a communal obligation [Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, tr. into English and Edited by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, p 268].
In this connection, it would be appropriate to mention verse 51: 19 of the Qur’an [and in their wealth and possession has a right of the needy who ask and the mahrum – poor who does not ask] and verse 70: 24-25 of the Qur’an [in whose possessions there is a due share for such as ask for help and such as are deprived who do not and cannot beg]. In the above verses of the Qur’an, in recognizing the right of the poor who asks and poor who does not ask, Allah in His Infinite Mercy and Wisdom did not make it a condition that only Muslims poor and Muslim needy would have right over the property of the rich.

Imam Razi equated the poor as the dependent of Allah [Al Razi, al-Tafsir al-Kabir, Vol. 16, pp 103 quoted in Yusuf al Qarawadi’s book Poverty and it’s Solutions in Islam, p 132]. When poor are the dependent of Allah how we can deny Zakah to the poor and needy.

Moreover, as Zakah is a social security system, non-Muslims cannot be excluded from its benefit. In fact the social security of Islam encompasses the entire community, no matter believer or disbeliever.

Naturally questions may be raised if Zakah can be paid for the purposes of mu ‘allafah qulub – to win hearts of non-Muslims, how reasonable it would be to raise objection to distribute Zakah among the poor and needy non-Muslims.

Explaining the verse 5: 8 [witness to truth in all equity, Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Quran, p 143, just witness, Muhammad Muhsin Khan and Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Interpretation of the Meanings of The Noble Qur’an, p 176 or witness to fair dealing, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, p 248 or bearing witness with Justice, Muhammad Mohor Ali, A Word for Word Meaning of the Qur’an, Ipswich, Jam’iyatIhyaa’ Minhaaj al Sunnah, 2003,Vol. 1, p 332] Ibn al Arabi said that treating the peacefully coexisting non-Muslim with qist does not mean mere justice. It means, rather, that you should give them some of your own wealth as a means of maintaining good relationship with them. What is meant by qist is not justice (adl), for justice is required in treating one who fights against Muslims as well as one who does not fight [Al Qurtubi, 59, quoted in Dr. Jamal Badawi’s Inviting People of Other Faith Communities to Islam: Prophet’s Daw’ah Methodology.

www.onislam.net/english/reading-islam/research-studies/comptrhensive-religion/424836.html]. If sharing wealth with non-Muslims is recommended, how reasonable it would be to oppose the distribution of Zakah among the poor and needy non-Muslims.
As regards poor and needy it would be appropriate to mention hadith qudsi narrated by Abu Horayrah may Allah be pleased with him. Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him said, Allah will ask on the Day of Judgment: O children of Adam, I asked you for drink but you did not give Me drink. The son of Adam will say: O my Lord, You are the Lord of the worlds, how can I give You drink. Allah will say: Such of My servant asked for drink but you did not give him drink. If you would have given him drink, you would have got it from Me [i.e. he would get the return from Allah in the Day of Judgment] [Muslim abridged]. From this it becomes clear how close the poor and needy are to Allah whether they are believers or disbelievers.
Mu ‘allafah qulub: And those whose hearts are to be won over [Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’an p 269] or to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined towards Islam [Muhammad Muhsin Khan and Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Interpretation of the Meanings of The Noble Qur’an, p 288] or for those whose hearts have been recently reconciled to the truth [Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, p 456], I believe that such works fall within the purview of fi sabilil-lah – way of Allah as it is part of the da’wah work, calling people to the teachings and guidance of Islam.

There seems to be no valid basis for making distinction between sinful Muslims and unbelievers as far as the need to reconcile faith is concerned. In fact a person’s sinfulness does not disqualify him from receiving help. My understanding is that it is permissible to use Zakah money to win heart of any people, even non-practicing Muslim, and also the related expenditure for preaching the teachings of Islam and strengthen their faith. Such expenditure may be for publication and distribution of Islamic reading materials, establishing libraries, holding seminars, workshops and training programs to disseminate the teachings of Islam.

Establish such centers as New Muslim Care Malaysia and Islam Pracher Samity Bangladesh that concentrates on the training of the newly converted Muslims and invite agnostics towards the teachings of Islam, even those Muslims who are interested to know more about Islam with Zakah money are permissible.

To materialize this objective, funding from Zakah money for all activities related to these is also permissible. These include publication and distribution of books, publication of periodicals; publication of newspapers and establish television channels [like Peace TV India. Deen TV] to spread the message and teachings of Islam worldwide, establishment of institutions including buildings for these purposes and patronization of literary and cultural activities whose very objective is to inspire people towards Islam, consolidate their belief, tradition, culture and heritage.

In this regard we must keep in our mind the principle of usul, rules of interpretation, according to which whatever is required to be done to fulfill an obligation is also an obligation.

Use of Zakah money to save young Muslims from the mal-propaganda against Islam, its faith and belief, tradition and culture and to strengthen their faith or bring their hearts together for Islam is also permissible, in my view.

Some scholars are of opinion that Zakah money can be used to dissuade people who are engaged in activities against Islam and to neutralize such people and secure their support and backing.

Fir-riqab: As for freeing the captives [Muhammad Muhsin Khan and Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Interpretation of the Meanings of The Noble Qur’an,p 288] or for freeing the human beings from bondage [Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’an, p 269], I would like to expound it further to include such people as are prisoner of western propaganda, intellectually prisoner of un-Islamic ideas, and prisoner of unacceptable existing social order. I think that Zakah money can also be spent for such purposes and for such tools that may be required to freeing people from such captivity or bondage.

Abdullah Yusuf Ali while explaining the verse 9:60 of the Qur’an commented: The bondage of ignorance or superstition or unfavorable environment should be helped to freedom [The Holy Qur’an, p 456].

Verse 9: 60 of the Qur’an if read together with verse 90: 13 of the Qur’an, the scenario becomes further clear. Abdullah Yusuf Ali explaining the verse freeing the bondman [Al Qur’an 90:13] commented: As regards the bondman, we are to understand not only a reference to legal slavery, but many other kinds of slavery which flourish especially in advanced societies. There is political slavery, industrial slavery, and social slavery. There is slavery of conventions, of ignorance, and of superstition. There is slavery to wealth or passions or power [The Holy Qur’an, Note 6140, p 1651].

As for freeing captives [Al Qur’an 9:60] if read together with verse 90:13 of the Qur’an – freeing one’s neck, it will mean – as explained by Muhammad Aasd: The phrase fakk raqabah may be rendered as the freeing of a human being from bondage … with the latter term covering all those forms of subjugation and exploitation – social, economic or political – which can be rightly described as slavery [The Message of the Qur’an, Note 7, p 953].

However, under the existing international laws, treaties, agreements and conventions to which Muslim countries are signatories along with other countries, the prisoners of war have to be exchanged and there is no scope of holding prisoners for indefinite period. The Muslim countries are bound to honor treaty obligations [Al Qur’an 5: 1 – fulfill all obligation. Abdullah Yusuf Ali explained the verse to mean that states have to discharge treaty obligation faithfully. The Holy Qur’an, Note 682, p 243].

Moreover, verse 47: 4 of the Qur’an makes it obligatory to set the prisoner free either by the act of grace or against ransom [Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’an, p 778]. Abdullah Yusuf Ali holds the same view and recommended the release of the prisoner of war without ransom or with ransom [The Holy Qur’an, Note 4822, p 1316]. In the Quran there is no provision for taking prisoners as slave.

Gharimin: Explaining the verse freeing those in debt [Al Qur’an 9:60] Abdullah Yusuf Ali commented: Those who are held in the grip of debt should be helped to economic freedom [The Holy Qur’an, Note 1320, p 456]. Muhammad Asad explaining the verse those in debt [Al Qur’an 9:60] commented: The term al-gharimun describes people who are overburdened with debts contracted in good faith, which – through no fault of their own – they are subsequently unable to redeem [The Message of the Qur’an, Note 85, p 270].

My understanding of the verse – freeing people in debt – is that the recipient of such category of people should be paid handsome amount to make them solvent and uproot the causes of poverty, in other words to salvage them from the cycle of debt instead of the existing system of distributing Zakah.

Fi sablil-lah: Verse 9:60 of the Qur’an specifically mentions fi sablil-lah – for the cause of Allah [Muhammad Muhsin Khan and Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Interpretation of the Meanings of The Noble Qur’an, p 288] or for every struggle in the cause of Allah [Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’an p 270] as an independent head of expenditure and not mixed up with other heads of expenditure as discussed above. Here, I shall make an attempt to elaborate the verse further.

We all know that Qur’an is free of meaningless repetition and, therefore, we have to treat fi sabilil-lah as separate and independent head of expenditure distinct from other heads of expenditure of Zakah. Under this head, all welfare activities may be financed from Zakah funds other than those clearly covered by the other seven heads of Zakah expenditure.

The expression in the way of Allah has a wide and general connotation and encompasses all good deeds which please Allah. Some scholars, therefore, believe that Zakah may be spent on all good purposes.

Our duty is to come out of the prevailing narrow, stringent and inflexible outlook and approach and embrace the broad road of Islam while interpreting the Text, a comprehensive stance.

If we look at the dictionary meaning of fi sablil-lah, etymologically sabil means road and sabilil-lah means road to earn the pleasure of Allah. It is those activities that bring good and well-being to the people and take man close to Allah.
The core and inherent meanings of fi sabilil-lah include all those activities by which common people are benefitted, all kinds of activities the purpose of which is human wellbeing.

Jihad is more general and comprehensive than military defense. It encompasses intellectual, academic, scientific, cultural, social, economic, educational, health, medical, environmental and civilizational fields and includes media jihad.

The objective of jihad is to educate the ignorant, employ the unemployed, train workers, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, treat the ill, achieve self-sufficiency for the needy, build schools for pupils, universities for students, mosques for worshippers, clubs for gymnastic.

The need is for huge number of competent preachers, teachers and media experts, all ably trained to call people towards the teachings and guidance of Islam – jihad by da’wah and address contemporary world issues and challenges and meet the threat of military and cultural invasion.

Those who stand in defense of Islam are also entitled to receive Zakah for the very purpose is fi sabilil-lah. The vast majority of the scholars state that the category of Zakah recipients for the sake of Allah is restricted to those participating in jihad who are not receiving a stipend from the public treasury or whose stipend is not sufficient for their needs. There was no standing army at that time and volunteers of jihad were paid stipend.

They are of the view that Zakah money can be spent to build cantonments, to purchase armaments including aircraft, tanks, armored carriers, ships, aircraft-carrier and to build and repair military airports, roads, bridges, culverts, rail line for the movements of troops.

In my understanding jihad includes jihad with words also. Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him said: Telling the truth to a despotic ruler is jihad [Fiqh al Jihad, p 173]. In another narration Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said: One who will fight by using tongue i.e. protest by using words is a believer [abridged Muslim]. It is an all-embracing concept.

It is sanctioned to use Zakah funds for those who are working in the field of da’wah and to support and assist their efforts. They are included in the recipient category, for the sake of Allah, mentioned in the verse. This is the resolution of the Fiqh Academy of Rabetat al Alam al Islami, the Muslim World League. Those who are engaged to fight the onslaught of anti-Islamic propaganda to defend Islam – ghuzaat – are also entitled to receive Zakah. Ghuzaat by other scholars of Islam has been explained as assisting Islamic cause.

In the military defense today, it is most important to prepare the Muslim nations against the psychological war of the enemy and defend the cultural frontier. People involved in defense are the preachers, poets, writers, researchers and filmmakers. They come forward to establish the truth of the rightful cause by their thought provoking writings and ideas in opposing the propaganda of the enemies against Islam and Muslims. Today it is most important to establish institutions that will train manpower to meet the western military and ideological challenges and the threats of missionary activities side by side by producing highly skilled dayees – the preachers of Islam who will call people towards the teaching of Islam and defend the cultural frontier.

For all these purposes Zakah money may be spent for the objective of armed-jihad and those that are mentioned above i.e. jihad by words, preaching or publicity is the same. Here the reason or illat is the same.

The essential objective of fi sabilil-lah is to ensure common good such as to pursue education, support scholars for they are the inheritors of prophets, al ulamu warasatul ambiaa and establish educational institutions – religious schools – madrasa and Islamic libraries to face the mal-propaganda of the missionaries. This is important for educational curriculum in the public institutions are controlled by such people who are basically secular, not paying any attention to religious studies and some educational institutions are controlled by Christian missionaries who are active in pursuing their own agenda.
We must not forget that like military-jihad, efforts to safeguard religion and aqeedah- belief is also a jihad which is no less important and not less important than ibadah, worship and establishing institutions like masjid where people can learn Islam. It is also important to establish orphanages and hospitals for the Christian missionaries are using such institutions to blackmail the backward members of the Muslim community to forward their agenda. Such institutions can be established by using the Zakah money for the very purpose or the illat is to preserve and safeguard Islam.

As mentioned earlier, jihad includes jihad with words, therefore, any verbal da’wah, preaching or even writing a piece for the cause of Islam is also jihad. Da’wah is one of the recognized fields of jihad as jihad can be exercised through purifying one’s self, educating others using one’s tongue or pen and – with the fulfillment of certain prerequisites – through striving against evil. Spending Zakah money for cultural activity, establish cultural center and center to train muballig, highly qualified and competent preacher of Islamic call and guidance and publish book that will uphold the beauty and superiority of Islam, which will at the same time answer all unfounded allegations against Islam and will completely remove smokescreen, all misgivings about Islam from the people’s mind no doubt fall within the purview of fi sabilil-lah where Zakah money can be spent without any doubt and hesitation. I think spending Zakah money for cultural activity and publicity purposes should get priority and it would be better to spend Zakah money for such purposes. Jihad fi sabilil-lah is not limited to military defense only.

Muhammad Asad explaining the verse for every struggle in the cause of Allah [Al Qur’an 9: 60] commented: The expression in the cause of Allah embraces every kind of struggle in righteous causes, both in war and peace, including expenditure for the propagation of Islam and for all charitable purposes [The Message of the Qur’an, Note 85, p 270 ]. Abdullah Yusuf Ali explaining the verse 9: 60 of the Qur’an commented: Those who are struggling and striving in Allah’s cause by teaching … who are thus unable to earn their ordinary living … have a claim on charity [The Holy Qur’an, Note 1320, p 456]. In my understanding, teaching means preaching.

Ibn as-sabil: As for assisting the wayfarer, can this be elaborated to mean that we can use Zakah money for people who are engaged in research as being part of fi sabilil-lah, wayfarer cut off from everything and living for Islam only. Prof. Dr. Yusuf al Qaradawi is of the opinion: If one is totally engaged in pursuit of knowledge and cannot afford time to continue quest for earning, such a seeker of knowledge can consume Zakah money to the extent necessary for the benefit of such endeavors is not limited to the recipient but largely affects the Muslim ummah as a whole [Yusuf al Qaradawi, Poverty and its Solution Islam, p 151]. Qaradawi further elaborated: It is for this reason that Imam Ghazzali, Shatibi and many other eminent scholars found nothing wrong in spending Zakah not only for acquiring religious knowledge but for acquiring knowledge of the other fields that is necessary for worldly life. They favored spending Zakah for people who are exclusively engaged in the pursuit of knowledge [ibid p 158].

Explaining the verse 2: 177 Muhammad Asad commented: The expression ibn as-sabil (lit., “son of the road”) denotes any person who is far from his home … In its wider sense, it describes a person who, for any reason whatsoever, is unable to return home … for instance, a political exile or refugee [The Message of the Qur’an, Note 145, p 36]. Thus in today’s world situation Zakah can be a tool to mitigate the sufferings of the refugees who are displaced in many parts of the world due to political unrest and turmoil.

Hopefully these few lines will suffice to clarify some of the misperception among the people. In explaining the verse 9: 60 of the Qur’an I have tried to be careful as much as humanly possible. My intention is not to overstep in any way in explaining the meaning of the verse and while trying to expound the verse. May Allah forgive me for any mistake done or wrong committed in this respect. Allah knows the best.

I want to conclude making an appeal to the readers of this article that whoever pays Zakah, particularly those who pay substantial amount of Zakah, they should spread over the amount among all the eight heads of expenditure of Zakah so that no sector is neglected or ignored. We must not forget that Allah in His Infinite Mercy and Wisdom has planned all these sectors keeping in view the eternal need. So let us follow instruction of Allah as ordained.

Lastly, my understanding is that if the Zakah of the Muslims of the whole world, no matter wherever they live, could be collected and gathered at one place, establishing a central control, this would have indeed played vital role in minimizing much of the sufferings of the humankind, there is no doubt about it, and many problems of humans could have been tackled. #

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22. Yusuf al Qaradawi, Poverty and It’s Solution in Islam, Adam publishers & Distributors, New Delhi- 110002, 2004.
23. Yusuf al Qaradawi, Islamer Zakat Bidhan, Islamic Foundation Bangladesh, Vol. I & II, August 2008.
24. Rashid al Ghannoushi and Rajab Abu Maleeh, Book Review – Yusuf al Qaradawi’s book Fiqh al Jihad, Internet, 20 September 2015.

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