Even A Smile ...
or a kind word is considered charity
By Ælfwine Mischler

What do money, a good word, and removing something

harmful from the road have in common?


Giving charity is such an important part of Islam that even the Arabic word tasaddaqa (to give charity) comes from the root sadaqa meaning to speak the truth, to be sincere. Sadaqah (voluntary charity) is different from zakah (please read below), the compulsory alms that are collected every year.

A Muslim shows his sincerity of faith and attains piety by being generous:

"Ye will not attain unto piety until ye spend of that which ye love. And whatsoever ye spend, Allah is aware thereof." (Aal `Imran 3:92)

There are dozens of verses in the Qur’an in which Allah tells Muslims to give in charity. Sometimes this charity is in expiation for a wrongdoing, and other times it is an acknowledgment that everything one “owns” is in fact a trust from Allah and that anything spent in the way of Allah will be paid back in full and multiplied on the Day of Judgment. In fact, the Qur’an in places calls this spending “a beautiful loan.”

Muslims are enjoined to give charity without reproach to the recipient. It is also better for them to give secretly rather than openly, so that their intention is entirely to gain the pleasure of Allah and not to gain the admiration of people.

"A kind word with forgiveness is better than alms giving followed by injury. Allah is Absolute, Clement. O ye who believe! Render not vain your alms giving by reproach and injury, like him who spendeth his wealth only to be seen of men and believeth not in Allah and the Last Day…."  (Al-Baqarah 2:263 – 64)

It is easy to give money as charity when one is wealthy, but the best charity is given when one fears poverty, for one must then sincerely trust in Allah’s reward.

When the Prophet Muhammad was asked which charity is best, he replied, "That you should give charity (in a state when you are) healthy, closefisted, haunted by fear of poverty and hoping to become rich (charity in such a state of health and mind is the best). And you must not defer (charity to such a length) that you are about to die and would be saying: This is for so and so, and this is for so and so. Lo, it has alreadt come into (the possession of so and so)." (Reported by Muslim).

Even the money that a person spends on his family counts as charity if his intention is for Allah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “When a Muslim spends on his family seeking reward for it from Allah, it counts for him as charity." (Reported by Muslim).

 And a woman may give charity of her husband’s earnings. `A’ishah, the wife of the Prophet reported that he said, “When a woman gives in charity some of the food in her house, without causing any damage, there is reward for her for whatever she has given, and a reward for her husband for what he earned. The same applies to the Trustee. In no respect does the one diminish the reward of the other." (Reported by Muslim).

In fact, Prophet Muhammad told his followers that sadaqah (voluntary charity) is incumbent upon them every single day. But this sadaqah can take many forms:

There is a (compulsory) sadaqah (charity) to be given for every joint of the human body (as a sign of gratitude to Allah everyday the sun rises. To judge justly between two persons is regarded as sadaqah; and to help a man concerning his riding animal, by helping him to mount it or by lifting his luggage on to it, is also regarded as sadaqah; and (saying) a good word is also sadaqah; and every step taken on one's way to offer the compulsory prayer (in the mosque) is also sadaqah; and to remove a harmful thing from the way is also sadaqah.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Thus, even those who have little or no extra money can give charity. For them, there is still reward in good deeds done for the pleasure of Allah with no expectation of remuneration in this life. Elsewhere, the Prophet told even more ways that Muslims can give charity.

The Prophet said, "Giving charity is obligatory upon each Muslim." It was asked, "What do you say of him who does not find (the means) to do so?" He said, "Let him do manual work, thus doing benefit to himself and give charity." It was asked, "What about one who does not have (the means) to do so?" He said, "Then let him assist the needy, the aggrieved." It was asked, "What do you say of one who cannot even do this?" He said, "Then he should enjoin what is reputable or what is good." He asked, "What if he cannot do that?" He (the Prophet) said, "He should then abstain from evil, for verily that is charity on his behalf." (Reported by Muslim).

Muslims are also encouraged to establish an ongoing charity whose rewards they will continue to reap after their deaths. This can be knowledge that is passed on in a book or other form, fruit trees from which the poor may eat, or an endowment.

Thus sadaqah, in whatever form, should be a part of the Muslim’s daily life. Such charity strengthens the Muslim’s piety, turns his intentions to his Creator, and spreads wealth and goodwill among the community. http://www.islamonline.net/english/introducingislam/Worship/Zakah/article04.shtml                                                         DDPF



Taking Alms of Their Wealth
Zakat al-Mal
By Magda Azzam

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Islam is based on five (principles): to testify that there is no deity but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger; to offer the compulsory Prayers (salah) dutifully and perfectly; to pay zakah (obligatory charity); to perform Hajj (pilgrimage to the Ka`bah in Makkah); to observe fast during the month of Ramadan.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)  

The Muslim individual is required to pay zakah as an expression of obedience to Allah. It goes hand in hand with salah (ritual Prayers); one is the bodily expression of submission to the Creator, the other is the financial expression of the same. Therefore, zakah is obligatory for Muslims.

In the Qur’an, Allah says what means:

"Take alms of their wealth, wherewith thou mayst purify them and mayst make them grow, and pray for them. Lo! thy prayer is an assuagement for them. Allah is Nearer, Knower." (At-Tawbah 9:103)

A man once came to the Prophet Muhammad while he was sitting with his Companions and said, “I ask you by your Lord and the Lord of those who were before you, has Allah ordered you to take zakah from our rich people and distribute it among our poor people?”  The Prophet replied, “By Allah, yes.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

In addition to helping the poor, the system of zakah also encourages Muslims to invest and use their wealth. The second caliph, `Umar ibn Al-Khattab, advised the Muslims, “Trade with the property of orphans before it will be eaten away by zakah.” (Reported by Malik)

Two Types of Zakah

Zakat al-fitr (zakah of breaking the fast) is a fixed amount that has to be paid—by rich and poor alike—by the head of the household for every member of his or her family before the `Eid Prayers at the end of Ramadan. Zakat al-mal (zakah of wealth), on the other hand, can be paid anytime and each individual is responsible to pay his or her own zakah. The amount of zakah is variable according to the person’s wealth.

Islam considers the woman as an independent legal entity with rights and duties of her own. Therefore, every Muslim man or woman, child or adult—whose wealth exceeds the nisab (the minimum zakatable amount) and who has had this amount for a whole lunar year must pay zakat al-mal.

When to Pay Zakah

Generally, if a Muslim has had the nisab for a lunar year, the zakah is due. However, the zakah on agricultural products is due at harvest time. Likewise, the zakah on metals/minerals that are mined is due at the time of extraction.

Many Muslims choose to pay their zakah in Ramadan, for during this month their good deeds receive greater reward than at other times. Many also make Ramadan the end of their fiscal year and keep their financial records according to the Islamic calendar. If records are kept according to the Gregorian calendar, the rate of zakah will be slightly higher to compensate for the extra days in the solar year.

It should be noted that if a Muslim dies before paying the zakah, his or her heirs must pay it before dividing the legacy.

Nisab and Rate of Zakah

If a person’s wealth (over and above his/her needs) reaches the nisab which is the value of 85 grams of gold, whether in savings, property, jewels, land, produce, or livestock, he or she must pay zakah.

How much to pay in zakah is probably the first question that comes to mind.

  • For savings, stocks, mutual funds, gold and jewelry that is kept (not worn), the amount to pay is 2.5% (based on the lunar calendar) on the marked value of the assets.

  • Land which is bought as an investment to be sold later for a profit should be appraised annually, and 2.5% (based on the lunar calendar) of the value is paid as zakah.

  • If land is bought to build a house on it, zakah is not required on it. But if later the property is rented, then zakah is due.

  • Zakah is due on produce such as vegetables, fruits or grains if the nisab is attained, which is 650 kilograms (1,433 pounds). The rate of zakah is 5% (of the crop or its value) if the land is irrigated with a mechanical device or with purchased water, and 10% if the land is watered naturally without the use of artificial means.

  • Zakah is payable on livestock, but the nisab (the minimum number of animals) and the amount of payment varies according to the type of animal.

  • Zakah is due on metals/minerals that are mined and buried treasures that are found at the rate of 20% (one-fifth) of the value, payable when they are mined or found.

  • There are two opinions on whether or not zakah is due on pearls, coral, and other wealth from the sea after the nisab (minimum zakatable amount) is reached.

  • If one has a factory or business, zakah is paid on the raw materials, goods in process, and stock for trade. Zakah is not paid on the land, buildings, or machinery and other fixed assets. If one has a service business, zakah is paid on the annual profits.

Who Can Receive Zakah

In the Qur’an, Allah says what means: "The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is Knower, Wise." (At-Tawbah 9: 60)

Needy relatives such as brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, etc. can receive the zakah if they are poor and need help. Indeed, giving to them is both an act of charity and of maintaining family ties. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Charity given to a poor is charity and charity given to a relative is charity and maintaining family ties.” (Reported by Ahmad and An-Nasa’i) However, zakah cannot be given to one’s wife, children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents because it is one’s duty to take care of them first.

One category of zakah recipients is fi sabil lillah (for the cause of Allah), which leaves the Muslim a wider scope to pay the zakah. http://www.islamonline.net/english/introducingislam/Worship/Zakah/article02.shtml

Note: For the calculation of zakah you can rely on a zakah calculator available online at



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