Volume 3

Fiqh 3.55 - 3.108

Fiqh 3.55: Loss of the Holdings after Zakah is Due

Once zakah becomes payable on the holdings either because of the completion of a year or harvest time, and the holdings or part of them are lost, the owner still has to pay it. Whether the loss occured owing to negligence or not does not matter.

This is the opinion of Ibn Hazm and the better opinion of the Hanbaliyyah. Abu Hanifah holds that it vitiates the payment of zakah if all the property perishes without the owner's role in its destruction. When part of it perishes, the perished portion is not subject to zakah. This is in accordance with the rule that zakah is associated with the property itself. However, when the property is deliberately destroyed by the owner, zakah has to be paid. Ash-Shaf'i, alHassan ibn Salih, Ishaq, Abu Thaur, and Ibn al-Munzhir hold that if the nisab perishes before zakah is paid, then the owner owes nothing. However, if it perishes subsequent to the accumulation of the nisab, the owner has to pay it. Ibn Qudamah supports this view and says it vitiates the payment of zakah if the property perishes without any negligence on the part of the owner. This is because it is obligatory for the sake of beneficence, which presupposes the existence of the property--and not with the purpose of impoverishing the payers of zakah.

Negligence in this context implies that the owner had accumulated the nisab and thus it was possible for him to pay zakah, but he did not and the property perished. On the contrary, if he did not have the nisab, or the holdings were not in his possession, or they were to be purchased and he could not, then this does not constitute an act of negligence.

Likewise, if it is presumed that the obligation to pay zakah remains even after the holdings are lost, and the owner has the means to pay it, then he must do so. Otherwise, he should be granted a respite in order to fulfill his obligation to pay zakah. This is akin to a debt one owes to someone but the debt owed to Allah should be considered more important.

Fiqh 3.56: The Loss of Zakah After it is Set Aside

When a person sets aside zakah for distribution among the poor and all of it or some of it is lost, he must repay it because it is still his responsibility.

Ibn Hazm says: "We received a narration from Ibn Abi Shaibah on the authority of Hafs ibn Ghayath, Jarir, al-Mu'tamir ibn Sulaiman at-Taymi, Zaid ibn al-Hubab, and 'Abdulwahhab ibn 'Ata; also from Hafs, who narrated on the authority of Hisham ibn Hassan from al-Hassan al-Basri; Jarir who reported, on the authority of alMughirah from his companions; and al-Mu'tamir who reported from Mu'amar from Hammad; and Zaid who reported from Shu'bah from al-Hakam; and 'Abdulwahhab who reported on the authority of Ibn Abi 'Urubah from Hammad from Ibrahim an-Nakha'i that whoever sets aside zakah from his property and then it is lost, his obligation to pay zakah still remains to be discharged, and he must set it aside again."

There exists, however, another opinion on it: "We received a narration on the authority of 'Ata' that the obligation will be discharged [if set aside and lost]," says Ibn Hazm.

Fiqh 3.57: Delaying of Zakah (Payment) Does Not Void it

Ash-Shaf'i holds that anyone who does not pay zakah for a number of years must pay it all together. Whether or not he is aware of its obligation or he happens to be in a Muslim or non-Muslim land, makes no difference. Based on the opinion of Malik, ash-Shaf'i and Abu Thaur, Ibn al-Munzhir says: "When unjust people rule a country and the people of that country do not pay their zakah for a number of years, then their new leader should take it from them."

  • Fiqh 3.57 a: The Payment of the Value Instead of Paying the Item Itself

    It is not permissible to pay the value instead of the item itself, except in the case of non-existence, for zakah is an act of worship which can only be fulfilled according to the specified manner, with the rich sharing their wealth with the poor

    Mu'azh reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, sent him to Yemen and told him: "Take grain from grain, sheep from sheep, camels from camels, and cows from cows." This hadith is narrated by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, al-Baihaqi, and al-Hakim. It should be noted that there is an interruption in the chain of this hadith, since 'Ata' did not hear it from Mu'azh.

    Disapproving of substitution, ash-Shaukani says: "The truth of the matter is that zakah is obligatory on the item itself and should not be substituted for its value except where there is a valid excuse."

    Abu Hanifah permits the acceptance of the value whether the individual owing could pay it in the items itself or not because zakah is the right of the poor, and he believed that it made no difference whether it was paid in the item or in something else of equal value. AlBukhari reports, with a firm statement, that Mu'azh asked the people of Yemen to give him either goods or clothes of silk or garments as zakah instead of barley and corn because it was more convenient for them. The companions of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, were also given the choice in Madinah.

    Fiqh 3.58: Zakah on Shared Property

    When holdings are shared between two or more partners, zakah is not obligatory on either one until all of them attain a nisab individually. This is the opinion of most scholars. This does not include the combination of animals, which has been discussed earlier.

  • Fiqh 3.58 a: Evading the Payment of Zakah

    The opinion of Malik, al-Auza'i, Ishaq, Ahmad, and Abu 'Ubaid is that whoever possesses a nisab of any kind of property and then sells it before the completion of the year hawl, or gives it away as a gift, or damages part of it with the intention of avoiding its zakah, he still must pay its zakah. If he engages himself in any of the preceding acts at a time when his obligation to pay zakah is about to mature, he will be forced to pay it. If, however, any of the preceding acts happen at the beginning of the hawl, this will not constitute an evasion, and he will be (legally) free from his obligation to pay zakah.

    Abu Hanifah and ash-Shaf'i hold that since the amount decreased before the end of the hawl, zakah will not be paid on it. He would still be considered a wrongdoer and disobedient to Allah for attempting to escape it. The early Muslims based their rationale on the 'ayahs in which Allah, the Exalted One, says: "Lo! We have tried them as We tried the owners of the garden when they vowed they would pluck its fruit the next morning, and made no reservation [for the will of Allah]. Then a visitation from your Lord came upon it while they were asleep. So the garden became a dark and desolate spot in the morning, as if it were plucked" [alMulk 17-20]. Allah punished those people for avoiding their obligation to the poor.

    Zakah, as such, will still be due and the person has to pay it because his intention was to deprive the poor of their share in his wealth. This would be similar to the case of a man who divorces his wife during his terminal illness. His evil intention calls for punishment as a redemptive act. Another case of a similar nature would be that of a person who kills his benefactor so that he could have his inheritance. In that case, Allah punishes him by depriving him of his inheritance.

    Fiqh 3.59: The Recipients of Zakah

    There are eight categories of the beneficiaries of zakah which Allah specifies in the Qur'an: "The alms are only for the poor and the needy, for those who collect them, for those whose hearts are to be reconciled, for the freedom of those who are captives and in debt, for the cause of Allah, and for the wayfarers; [it is] a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is the Knower, the Wise" [at-Taubah 60]. Ziyad ibn alHarith as-Suda'i reported: "I came to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and pledged allegience to him. Then a man came and said to the Messenger: 'Give me some of the collected sadaqah.' The Messenger replied: 'Allah did not leave the matter of sadaqat to be decided by a prophet nor to others ... He Himself classified it into eight categories. If you fit into any of these categories, I will give you your due.' " It was narrated by Abu Dawud although in its chain of transmission there is 'Abdurrahman al-'Afriqi, who is of questionable merits.

    The following is an elaboration upon the preceding eight categories:

    -1- The Poor (al-Fuqara').

    -2- The Needy (al-Masakin): The needy, along with the poor mentioned above, are those who do not even have basic needs fulfilled. This categroy parallels the category of the rich who have all they need. As mentioned elsewhere, a person is considered rich if he possesses the nisab--that is, an arnount in excess of his essential needs or those of his children with regard to food, drink, clothing, housing, animals, tools of his trade, and similar other necessities. Thus, one who lacks all these is considered poor (fuqura') and qualifies for zakah.

    A hadith attributed to Mu'azh instructs: "Take from the rich [that is those who are self-sufficient] and give to their poor." Thus, zakah should be taken from the rich who own a nisab and given to those who are not so fortunate.

    No difference has been made here between the poor (fuqura') and the needy (nasakin) as far as their needs, their poverty, and their qualification for receiving zakah are concerned. The two are brought together in the preceding Qur'anic 'ayah with the necessary conjunction so that they could be differentiated from each other. This does not contradict our categorizing the masakin as a subgroup of the fuqura'. In the following hadith, the text indicates that the needy are the poor who are not noticed by the people because they abstain from begging. The Qur'an takes note of them because they, perhaps due to their modesty, go unnoticed.

    Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "The needy person (miskin) is not one who goes around asking the people for a date or two, or for a mouthful or two, but the one who is too embarrassed to ask. Read if you wish: 'They do not beg from men importunately' [alBaqarah 273]." In a variant of this report, it is related: "The needy person is not one who goes around asking people for a mouthful or two or a date or two, but the one who has not enough [money] to satisfy his needs and whose condition is not known to others. Thus, sadaqah is given to him and he does not beg from the people." This is narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

    Fiqh 3.60: The amount of zakah given to a poor person

    Zakah aims at supporting the poor by satisfying their needs. A specified amount is therefore given to them on a continuous basis to alleviate their state of poverty. This amount differs depending on circumstances and individuals. 'Umar reported: "If you happen to give [alms], you should give to satisfy one's needs." Qadi 'Abdulwahhab says that Malik never stipulated a limit to the amount that can be given. To him, zakah may even be given to one who has a house, a servant, and a mount to ride, provided he is in need. The import of the preceding hadith is clear-- that is, asking for help is permissible for a person who is poor until he gets what he needs for his livelihood and is freed from his needs.

    Qabisah ibn Mukhariq al-Hilali reported: "I had a debt. I went to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and asked for his help. He answered: 'Wait until we have funds for sadaqah, then we will give you some.' He also said: 'O Qabisah, sadaqah is justified only for the following three: first, a man who is in debt, for his case makes it permissible to receive [alms] until his difficulty is resolved; second, a man who is struck by calamity which destroys his holdings, which also makes it permissible for him to receive [alms] until he is in a position to earn a sustenance [or he said, '... what satisfies his needs and makes him self-sufficient']; and third, a man who has been reduced to poverty and three persons of caliber from among his people testify to his desperate situation will receive until he finds for himself a means of support [or he said, '... what satisfies his needs and makes him self-sufficient']. Other than these cases, O Qabisah, it is not permissible (sahat). A person receiving it (sadaqah) will be consuming forbidden holdings.' " This is narrated by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and anNasa'i.

    Fiqh 3.61: Is zakah given to a person who can work?

    Individuals strong in body and earning their living are not entitled to zakah. Their position is similar to that of the rich.

    -1- 'Ubaidullah ibn 'Adiyy al-Khiyar reported: "Two men told me that they went to the Prophet, upon whom be peace, during the Farewell Pilgrimage while he was distributing charity. They asked him for help. He gave them a look from the head down and then found them to be sturdy and strong. Then he said: 'If you desire, I shall give it to you. But, there is no zakah for one who is rich, neither for the one who is strong and earning.' " This is related by Abu Dawud and anNasa'i.

    Concerning the merits of this hadith, al-Khattabi says that it provides the criterion that if a person is not known to have means, it will be presumed that he has none. The hadith also provides the rule that one who appears to be sturdy is not excluded from receiving the zakah unless his income is determined, for there are some people who are strong in body but for one reason or another are unable to work. Such people may receive charity according to this hadith.

    -2- It is related from Rayhan ibn Yazid from 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "Sadaqah is neither permissible for the rich nor for the one who is of energetic disposition, sound body, and healthy limbs." This is related by Abu Dawud and atTirmizhi. The latter grades it as sound (sahih). Ash-Shaf'i, Ishaq, Abu 'Ubaid, and Ahmad uphold it. The Hanafiyyah say a strong and healthy person is allowed to take sadaqah, provided he does not possess 200 dirhams or more. An-Nawawi says: "I asked al-Ghazzali if an able-bodied person who comes from a rich family and is not used to physical labor in earning his living can be entitled to zakah. He answered that he could." This is a sound rule which takes into consideration a person's vocation.

    For example, someone had 200 dirhams and did not pay zakah on the sum for two years. The opinion which says that zakah is due on the property itself means that the amount due is for one year only since it decreased by five dirhams, which was the amount due for zakah at the end of the first year. The second opinion, that zakah is the responsibility of the owner, means that he should pay zakah twice, one for each year, as zakah is the responsibility of the owner and is not affected by the decrease of the nisab.

    Fiqh 3.62: The owner who lacks self-sufficiency

    One whose possessions reach a nisab but are still insufficient for his needs, due to the size of his family or the high cost of living, will be considered well-off and subject to zakah. He is also considered poor because his possessions are not enough for his needs. As such, he should also be given zakah. AnNawawi says that one who possesses a piece of real estate but does not have enough income to meet his needs should be considered poor and eligible for that amount of zakah which would satisfy his needs. In this way, he would not have to sell his real estate. Al-Mughni mentions that al-Maymum said: "I had a talk with Abu 'Abdullah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and I said: 'A man may possess camels and sheep on which zakah is due and be considered poor. He may possess forty sheep or even a landed estate (day'ah), not enough for his needs. Would he be allowed to receive alms?' He answered: 'Yes, because he does not possess what is sufficient for him and he is not able to earn what he needs. In that case, he is permitted to receive zakah, if what he possesses does not qualify for zakah.' "

  • Fiqh 3.62 a: Collectors of Zakah:

    Zakah collectors are officials appointed by the leader or his deputy to collect it from the rich. Among them are the custodians of zakah, shepherds and clerks for its administration. They must be Muslims and should consist of those who are potentially not eligible for zakah. This includes the family of the Prophet--that is, Banu 'Abdul Mutallib. It is related by al-Muttalib ibn Rabi'ah ibn Harith ibn 'Abdul Muttalib that he and al-Fadl ibn al-'Abbas went to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace: "One of us said: 'O Messenger of Allah! We have come to you so that you may invest us with authority to administer zakah, that we shall gather (collect) the benefits the people are to receive, and render service to you that others give.' The Messenger of Allah answered: 'Indeed, zakah ought not to be given to Muhammad or to the family of Muhammad. Zakah is nothing but filth that comes out from people's properties.'" This is reported by Ahmad and Muslim. Another version states: "It is not permitted to Muhammad or to the family of Muhammad."

  • Fiqh 3.62 b: Certain people, though well-off, can still receive zakah:

    Abu Sa'id reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "Sadaqah is not allowed for the well-off except for the following five: an administrator of zakah, a purchaser of zakah holdings, a debtor, a warrior in the cause of Allah, or a person who is given a present by the needy (miskeen) from what the latter had been granted as zakah." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim. The latter grades the preceding hadith as sound according to the criteria of Muslim and al-Bukhari.

    Fiqh 3.63: What zakah collectors take from zakah is their wages for work done

    Abdullah ibn as-Sa'di related that he came from Syria to see 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, who asked him: "Is it true that you perform a certain job for the Muslims and you are given wages for that, but you do not accept them?" He answered: "Yes, indeed. I possess horses and slaves. I am well-off. I want my work to be a charity for the Muslims." Then 'Umar said: "I also wanted what you desired, but the Prophet, upon whom be peace, used to pay compensation to me. I would say to him: 'Give it to one who is poorer than I.' Once he gave me money and I said to him: 'Give it to a person more needy than I.' Then the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: 'Take what Allah, to Whom belongs might and majesty, gives you of His bounties without your having asked for it or being eager.' So take it and keep it, or give it away as charity--and what is not given should not be asked for." This is related by al-Bukhari and an-Nasa'i.

  • Fiqh 3.63 a: The wages ought to be sufficient to cover legitimate needs:

    AlMustawrid ibn Shaddad relates that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "If someone performed a job for us and has no house, let him have a house; if he has no wife, let him have a wife; if he has no servant, let him have a servant; or if he has no mount to ride, let him have one. He who clamors for anything other than these is being excessive." This is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud and its chain is sound. Commenting on the subject, al-Khattabi says: "This may be interpreted in two different ways. The first means that the individual is permitted to have a servant or a house deducted from his wages, which are similar to any other wages. He is not permitted to take anything else. The second means that the zakah worker has the right to have lodging and a servant. Thus, if he does not have a house or a servant, one may be hired to serve him and a house may be rented for him during the tenure of his job."

  • Fiqh 3.63 b: Reconcilation of hearts:

    This applies primarily to that group of people whose hearts, due to their weak Islam, need to be reconciled or strengthened for Islam. In this case, zakah is distributed to rid Muslims of their evil, or to procure their assistance in the defense of Muslims. The jurists divide such people into Muslims and unbelievers. The Muslims are divided into four groups:

    Fiqh 3.64: Leaders

    People who are leaders and notables among the Muslims and influential among their non-believing kinsmen deserve and if given sadaqah, there is hope that their kinsmen will become Muslims. Such was the case of Abu Bakr giving 'Adiyy ibn Hatim and az-Zibarqan ibn Badr sadaqah because of their high status among their people.

  • Fiqh 3.64 a: Recently converted prominent people

    Prominent people among Muslims, though recently converted to Islam and as such of weak faith but still obeyed by their people, if given sadaqah and their counsel sought in jihad and other matters could lead them to become strong in their Islam. A case in point is that of the Makkans who became Muslims after the conquest of Makkah. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, gave them a large booty after his victory over the Huwazin. Most of them became very good and conscientious Muslims later on.

  • Fiqh 3.64 b: Muslim residents at the borders

    Muslims who live at the frontiers, close to enemy land, can also be given sadaqah as an incentive to defend the Islamic territory. The author of al-Manar claims that this falls under the national defense. Jurists place it under the share allocated for the cause of Allah. It is similar to a military expedition. In our times, people who most deserve our help are those Muslims whom the unbelievers have brought over to their side by placing them under their protection or converting such Muslims to their religion. We notice that colonial powers are working for the subjugation of all Muslims and are trying to divert them away from their religion. Such states are allocating a certain portion of their resources to win over the Muslim hearts. Some they have succeeded converting to Christianity, and others have been influenced by or attracted to their tutelage. This is creating problems for Muslim states and Islamic unity. Are not such Muslims more deserving of zakah than those along the frontiers?

  • Fiqh 3.64 c: The zakah employees

    Muslims who are employed to collect zakah, either through persuasion or force, from those who are not willing to give it can also qualify as its recipients for it is better to use such people to maintain Muslim unity. Their support and their undertaking to help the government is the lesser of two evils and a preferable arrangement.

    Fiqh 3.65: The unbelievers, recipients of zakah

    As for the unbelievers, they are of two categories:

    -1- Those who may come to Islam through the reconciliation of their hearts: Such was the case of Safwan ibn 'Umayyah whom the Prophet, upon whom be peace, granted safety on the day of Makkah's conquest. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, allowed him to think about his situation for four months and then choose for himself. He was absent at the time but came forward later and went with the Muslims to fight in the battle of Hunayn before his acceptance of Islam. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, borrowed his armory for the expedition of Hunayn, and in return gave him a large number of camels, loaded with goods, that were at a certain valley. Thereupon Safwwan said: "This is a gift from someone who does not fear poverty. By Allah," he continued, "the Prophet, upon whom be peace, has given all of this to me and verily he is the person whom I dislike the most, but he continued to give me things until he became the one I loved the most."

    -2- People whose evil is feared, and it is hoped that money, if given to them, will neutralize their hostility: Ibn 'Abbas reported: "A group of people used to come to the Prophet, upon whom be peace. If he gave them money, they would praise Islam and say: 'This is a good religion.' However, if he did not give them any money, they criticized and found fault with Islam." Among such people were Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, al-Aqra' ibn Habis, and 'Uyainah ibn Hisn. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, gave every one of them one hundred camels.

    The Hanafiyyah say that the share of such people are cancelled when Islam is strong. For instance, 'Uyainah ibn Hisn, al-Aqra' ibn Habis, and al-'Abbas ibn Mirdas came to Abu Bakr and requested their share. He wrote them a letter, which they took to 'Umar. He tore the letter and said: "This is something that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, used to give you to reconcile you to Islam. Now, Allah has fortified Islam and it is no longer in need of you. Unless you stay with Islam, the sword will be between you and us. Say: 'It is the truth from the Lord of you [all]. Then whoever will, let him believe, and whoever will, let him disbelieve' [al Kahf 29]." They returned to Abu Bakr and said: "Are you the Caliph or is 'Umar? You wrote a letter for us and 'Umar tore it up." He answered: "This is the way it is."

    The Hanafiyyah continue: "Indeed, Abu Bakr agreed with 'Umar, and none of the companions disapproved of it. Likewise, it was never reported from 'Uthman or 'Ali that they gave anything to anyone in this category."

    It can be answered that the case under reference was 'Umar's own judgment. He saw that there would be no benefit in mollifying these people after Islam had become well-established among their people, and no harm would follow if they abandoned Islam. Also, if 'Uthman and 'Ali stopped spending this kind of endowment, this does not necessarily mean that the provision for it was repealed. It is possible that the change of circumstances did not call for the continuation of such an endowment to the nonbelievers. However, this does not amount to the invalidation of the provision for such endowments. Should the contingency call for its revival, the endowments in this category can be given. This is because their sanction lies in the Qur'an and sunnah.

    Ahmad and Muslim reported from Anas that whenever the Prophet, upon whom be peace, was asked for anything for the sake of Islam, he would give it away. A man came and asked for sadaqah. The Prophet ordered that the man be given the entire lot of sheep between two mountains. These sheep were part of the sadaqah. The man returned to his people and said: "Oh my people! Accept Islam, for indeed, Muhammad gives in such a way as if he does not fear poverty." Ash-Shaukani says that al-'Itrah, al-Jobbani, al-Balkhi, and Ibn Mubashshir held that sadaqah may be given to those whose hearts are to be reconciled to Islam. On the contrary, ash-Shaf'i maintains that such endowments are not for unbelievers. As for the sinner (faszq), he may be given from such allocations.

    Abu Hanifah and his followers hold that this kind of endowment was cancelled with the spread and domination of Islam and, as evidence, they cite Abu Bakr's refusal to restore endowments to Abu Sufyan, 'Uyainah, al-Aqra', and al-'Abbas ibn Mirdas. It appears that reconciliation is permitted when the need for it arises. In other words, it is permitted to give them sadaqah for reconciliation when a people obey a leader only for worldly affairs, and they cannot be controlled except by force and domination. The spread of Islam has no ramification on the issue of reconciliation because it makes no difference in this case. The author of al-Manar testifies: "This is the whole truth. Only independent judgment can be exercised to elaborate on the eligibility and the amount of sadaqah or booty to be given away when they are available, along with other kinds of property [immovable and movable]. It is necessary to seek consultation of capable people (ahl ashShura) as the caliphs did in those matters that required ijtihad. Whether a leader can force them into obedience by coercive action before resorting to the use of the endowment is an unsettled issue. Nevertheless, this cannot be followed as a rule but rather as the principle of inclining to the lesser of two evils and to the best benefit of the society."

    Fiqh 3.67: Freeing Captives

    This category includes two kinds of slaves: contracted slaves (rnukazabun) and regular slaves. Both categories were aided with sadaqah to obtain their freedom. Al-Bara' reported: "A man came to the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and said to him: 'Guide me to a deed that makes me close to Heaven and far from Hell.' The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: 'Free a person and redeem a slave.' " Then al-Bara' asked: "O Messenger of Allah. Are not the two the same?" He answered: "No. Freeing a person is to grant him freedom [by redeeming him from his bondage], but the redeeming of the neck means buying him his freedom." This is related by Ahmad and ad-Daraqutni and their report is trustworthy.

    Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "Three persons have the right to be helped by Allah: the warrior (ghazi) who fights for Allah, the contracted slave who longs to buy his freedom, and one who wishes to get married for the sake of chastity." This is related by Ahmad and the ashab as-Sunan. At-Tirmizhi grades this report as good and sound.

    As to the meaning of free captives (wa fi ar-riqab), ash-Shaukani says that scholars differ over it. 'Ali ibn Abu Talib, Sa'id ibn Jubair, al-Layth, ath-Thauri, al-'Itrah, the Hanafiyyah, the Shaf'iyyah, and the majority of scholars are reported to believe that it refers to contracted slaves (rnukatabdn) whose freedom is secured through payment from zakah. According to Ibn 'Abbas, al-Hasan al-Basri, Malik, Ahrnad ibn Hanbal, Abu Thaur, and Abu 'Ubaid, it means using zakah in the release of any kind of slave. Al-Bukhari and Ibn al-Munzhir are also supportive of this view. Their rationale is that the expression wa fi ar-riqab cannot be confined to the kind of slavery arising from a contract because, if that had been the case, then it would have fallen under the category of those in debt (gharimln), for theirs is an obvious case of debt. As such, freeing a slave from bondage is better than helping a contracted slave. He could be aided or helped, but not freed, for the contracted slave is a slave as long as he owes even one dirham. At the same time, freeing a slave is possible at any time, in contrast to the situation of a contracted slave.

    Commenting on the subject, az-Zuhri says that the preceding position entails two possibilities. The Qur'anic 'ayah on the subject alludes to these two possibilities, which have been pointed out by ashShaukani in his Muntaqa al-Akhbar. In the hadith narrated by alBara', evidence suggests that redeeming necks is not the same as freeing them. Nor is the deed of freeing slaves the same as helping contracted ones with money to pay off the contract. Both of these bring the individual closer to Heaven and distance him from Hell.

    Fiqh 3.68: Debtors

    People burdened by debts and unable to pay them are of several kinds: those who took upon themselves responsibility to discharge a debt; those who guaranteed debts of others and therefore, upon default, the debts have become their obligation; those who mismanaged their finances, those who borrowed money because they had to; or those who were involved in sinful acts and then repented, and who had to pay a fine for repentance. All of them may take sadaqah to meet their debts.

    Anas reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "Asking for sadaqah is permissible only for the following three classes [of people]:

    -1- those who are in abject poverty,

    -2- those who have severe debts, or

    -3- those who incurred it in the payment of blood money [on behalf of a relative or friend]." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmizhi. The latter grades it hasn.

    Muslim relates from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri that a man made a bad deal on fruit and then ran into heavy debt. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, recommended: "Give him sadaqah." Then the people gave him sadaqah. However, he still had some debt left over. Thereupon, the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said to creditors: "Take what you get . . ."

    As to the previously stated hadith of Qabisah ibn Mukhariq, in which he says: "I had a debt. I went to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and asked him for help. He answered: 'Wait until we have received funds for sadaqah, then we will give some to you.' " The expression hamalah in this hadith, as defined by the scholars, is to assume someone's responsibility as one's own in order to restitute a discord. In pre-Islamic times, whenever strife took place among the Arab tribes and blood was spilled, compensation was called for. In such a case, one of them would volunteer to meet the obligation until the strife had ended. Undoubtedly, this was a noble act for these people. When the Arabs would come to know that one of them had taken upon himself the responsibility (hamalah) of someone's debt, they would hasten to his help in the discharge of his responsibility. If such a person asked for help, it was considered an honorable act and not derogatory to his character. No conditions were stipulated. As for being qualified to obtain zakah in the discharge of such debts, it is not a pre-condition that the person who has assumed the debt on another's behalf should be unable to pay it. In fact, he can still ask for zakah even though he is a man of means.

    Fiqh 3.69: Sadaqah for the Cause of Allah

    Fee sabil lillah means for the sake of Allah--that is, making use of knowledge and deeds to attain Allah's pleasure. Most scholars understood this phrase as fighting for the cause of Allah. Part of zakah designated for the cause of Allah is given to volunteer fighters, especially those who are not on the payroll of the state, regardless of their financial status.

    The hadith of the Messenger of Allah, stated elsewhere, also confirms it: "Sadaqah is not permitted to the rich except to the following five: the warrior (ghuzi) for the cause of Allah . . . and so on."

    As to the pilgrimage (hajj, it does not fall under the zakah designated for the cause of Allah because it is an obligation for one who can afford it. Commenting on the issue, the authors of al-Manar say: "Spending of this portion on securing the routes of the pilgrimage and for providing water, food, and health services for the pilgrims is permissible if funds from other sources are not available."

    Included in the share designated "for the cause of Allah" are those spendings in the interest of the common good that pertain to both religious and secular matters. The foremost is the preparations for war, including buying arms, food supplies for soldiers, means of transportation, and equipment for warriors. However, the supplies for warriors are to be returned to the treasury after the war. This applies especially to unconsumable items such as weapons, horses, and so on. A warrior does not always possess such items, for he uses them in the cause of Allah only when necessary. This is not the case, however, with other recipients of zakah, such as zakah collectors, debtors, people who received money under the expense account "reconciliation of hearts," and the wayfarers. They do not have to return the zakah, even if they are no longer entitled to it.

    Also included in the expense account "for the cause of Allah" are projects such as establishing military hospitals, paved and unpaved roads, the extension of military (not commercial) railway lines, and the building of cruisers, warplanes, fortresses, and trenches. An important item in this category could be the preparation of Muslim missionaries and sending them to non-Muslim countries to spread Islam, just as non-Muslim missionaries are now spreading their religions in Islamic countries. Also falling under this heading would be school expenses to prepare adequate courses in religious sciences and in other areas of public interest. Teachers involved in such programs should be given sadaqah as long as they continue to perform their assigned jobs without resorting to other means of income. Scholars who are rich should not be paid for their work, despite their obvious benefits to the people.

    Fiqh 3.70: Sadaqah for the Wayfarer

    Scholars agree that a traveler stranded in a foreign land should be given zakah if he lacks the means to achieve his objectives. The extension of zakah is, however, tied to the condition that the journey must have been undertaken for Islamically acceptable reasons. Just what such a trip involves is open to question. The preferable opinion among the Shaf'iyyah is that sadaqah is given even when the traveler is taking the trip for sightseeing and pleasure. The wayfarer (ibn as-sabil), according to the Shaf'iyyah, is of two kinds:

    -1- a person traveling within his own country, and

    -2- one traveling in a foreign country. Both of them are entitled to zakah, even though they could find someone to lend them the needed amount and they have enough resources in their own country to pay their debts. According to Malik and Ahmad, only the passer-by is eligible for zakah and not one traveling within his own country. Zakah is not to be given to the person if he can find someone to lend him the money he needs and if he has enough of his own money in his country to pay his debt.

  • Fiqh 3.70 a: Who Has Priority in the distribution of zakah

    The distribution of zakah to those who are eligible, as mentioned in the 'ayah from at-Taubah, can now be classified as under:

    The poor (fuqdra'); the needy (rnasakm); the administrators of zakah ('amildna 'alaiha); those whose hearts are to be won over (mu'allafatu qulubuhum), slaves (ar-riqab); those in debt (gharimun) the wayfarers (abna' as-Sabil); the warriors (rnujahidln).

    The jurists differ over the distribution of zakah among the preceding eight groups of people.

    Ash-Shaf'i and his followers hold that if a distributor of zakah happens to be the owner of the property (or the agent), then there is no share of the collectors in it. In that case, it becomes obligatory to distribute the sum collected among the remaining seven categories. If other categories are for some reason ineligible for their share, it will be distributed among those still eligible. It is not permissible to disregard any category if it meets the conditions for eligibility. Ibrahim anNakha'i says that if the amount of zakah received is large, then it is possible to divide it among the different categories. However, if it is small, it is permissible to place it into one category. Ahmad ibn Hanbal holds that the division of zakah has a priority but that it is permissible to give it all to one category. Malik maintains that the distributor of zakah should make an effort to investigate those who are in need. He should distribute it according to the immediate condition of the needy and poor people. Thus, if he sees in certain years that the poor need more, they should be given priority. If he sees in another year that the wayfarers are more needy, he should distribute it among the travelers. The Hanafiyyah and Sufyan athThauri thought that the zakah payer can choose the categories he wished to distribute the zakah to. This is related by Huzhaifah and Ibn 'Abbas. Al-Hasan alBasri and 'Ata' ibn Abi Rabah base their opinions on it. Abu Hanifah holds that the distributors of zakah may give it to one person under any of the eight categories.

    Fiqh 3.71: Why the Scholars Differ

    According to Ibn Rushd: "The cause of their differences lies between the literal and the intended meaning. The literal meaning determines the classifications, but the intended meaning shows that priority should be given to the needy according to the immediacy of their needs since the aim [of the institution of zakah] is to eliminate poverty. The enumeration [of the categories] in the Qur'an is meant to distinguish the different kinds--that is, the people eligible for zakah, and not necessarily their grouping. The first interpretation is the literal one while the second is the intended interpretation." Ash-Shaf'i builds his case on the hadith of as-Suda'i which is related by Abu Dawud. A man came to the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and asked for zakah. The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Allah has not left the matter to the judgment of a prophet nor to others. He has laid the rules for it--that is, He has classified [the beneficiaries] into eight categories. If you fit into any of these, I will give you your due."

  • Fiqh 3.71 a: The Preference of the Majority Opinion Over That of ash-Shaf'i

    The author of ar-Rawdah an-Nadiyyah says: "Distributing all of the zakah to one group is more benefiting to the realization of the word of Allah." In brief, one may say that Allah made zakah applicable only to the eight specifically mentioned categories. Spelling out these categories does not mean that the zakah has to be distributed among them equally or even that it has to be divided among them. The intended meaning, however, is that the categories of sadaqah are similar to various groups of people who are eligible for it. Thus, one who is obligated to pay anything to any category of sadaqah and gives it to a person in a parallel group is considered to be fulfilling what Allah commanded him to do. Contrary to this, if one divides his zakah due into the acknowledged eight categories, if all eight exist, then that would not only be contrary to the practice of the Muslims throughout history, but it would cause hardship to the payer of zakah. For example, if the collected zakah were meager, it would be of no benefit to any designated category--even if it was of one kind, to say nothing if it was of numerous kinds. To endorse such a practice would be tantamount to counter what the Prophet, upon whom be peace, did when he permitted the payment of a penance (kaffarah) from the charity collected for Salmah ibn Sakhr. Obviously, the hadith of as-Suda'i cannot be used as evidence.

    There is not a single case in the entire corpus of hadith literature which could be used to make the distribution of zakah to all groups of people obligatory. Using the hadith of Mu'azh as evidence that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, instructed him to take zakah from the rich Yemenites and give it to their poor will not be of much help because it does not establish that the zakah was distributed to all the groups. Nor is the hadith of Ziyad ibn al-Harith as-Suda'i valid in this regard because in its chain of narrators is 'Abdur-Rahman ibn Ziyad al-'Afriqi, whose credibility has been questioned by many scholars. Assuming that this hadith is valid for the point under discussion, the meaning of the division of zakah into parts is its distribution according to the apparent meaning of the Qur'anic 'ayah and what the Prophet, upon whom be peace, had in mind. Assuming that the division of zakah itself is intended, the distribution has to be done according to the specified categories. In this case, any transfer of the share of one group to another, even if the group concerned was for some reason non-existent, will not be permissible. Such an approach will be contrary to the consensus of Muslim scholars. If we accept that, then the deciding factor for the sadaqah's distribution is the leader's wish rather than, and not the specific categories of eligible people. Thus, there is no evidence that makes division obligatory, and it is consequently permissible to give some sadaqah to those eligible people and some to other groups. Indeed, when the leader collects all the sadaqat from his people and all eight categories are eligible to receive them, each group has the right to claim its share. However, he does not have to divide the collected sadaqat among them equally or distribute it without any distinction, for he can give any amount to any group or groups that he wants to, or he can give some without giving the rest if he thinks it is in the interest of Islam and its people. For example, if the sadaqah was collected and then a jihad was announced, meaning that it would become necessary to defend the territory of Islam against the unbelievers, the leader can give some or all of it to the deserving warriors. This also applies to other concerns if the interest of Islam necessitates it.

    Fiqh 3.73: People Forbidden for Zakah

    We have discussed so far the distribution of zakah and the categories of people eligible to receive it. Now we will talk about those who are forbidden to receive it. They are:

  • Fiqh 3.73 a: Unbelievers and Atheists

    The jurists agree that unbelievers and atheists are not to be given zakah. In the hadith which says: "Zakah is taken from the rich and given back to the poor," "the rich" refers to rich Muslims while "the poor" indicates poor Muslims. Ibn al-Munzhir said that all scholars agree that the free nonMuslim subject (zhimmi) is not entitled to zakah. Exceptions to the rule are those people whose hearts are leaning toward Islam. However, it is permissible to give a zhimmi from the nonobligatory charity (tatawwu'). Alluding to the characteristics of the belivers, the Qur'an says: "And for His love, they feed the indigent, orphan, and captive" (ad-Dahr: 8.. This is also supported by the following hadith: "Be kind to your mother." The woman in this case was an unbeliever.

  • Fiqh 3.73 b: Banu Hashim

    This includes the families of 'Ali, Ja'far, al'Abbas, and al-Harith. Ibn Qudamah says there are no two opinions on the ineligibility of Banu Hashim to receive zakah. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, declared: "Indeed, sadaqah ought not to be given to the family of Muhammad ..." Muslim related it. Abu Hurairah reported that when al-Hasan took one date from the sadaqah dates, the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said to him: "Nay, spit it out! Don't you know that we cannot eat from charity?" Scholars agree on the authenticity of this hadith. As to the eligibility of Banu al-Muttalib for zakah, the scholars differ.

    Ash-Shaf'i holds that like Banu Hashim they are disallowed to take zakah. Ash-Shaf'i, Ahmad, and al-Bukhari relate from Jubair ibn Mut'im who said: "At the battle of Khaibar, the Prophet, upon whom be peace, set aside the share of the relatives of the families of Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib and left out the shares of Banu Nawfal and Banu 'Abd Shams. I and 'Uthman ibn 'Affan came to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and said to him: 'O Messenger of Allah! Do not deny Banu Hashim the grace of their position because Allah placed you among them. How about our brothers Banu al-Muttalib? You gave them and left us out? Isn't our relationship one and the same?' The Prophet, upon whom be peace, answered: 'I and Banu al-Muttalib are not to be separated either during jahiliyyah or Islam. We and they are one.' Then he joined his fingers [in demonstrating the close relationship]." Reason dictates that one should not differentiate between them (the two families) in any matter of law because they are one according to the saying of the Prophet. It is evident that they are the family of Muhammad, and therefore, sadaqat are forbidden to them. Abu Hanifah holds that the family of Banu al-Muttalib may take from zakah. Both these reports are related by Ahmad. Just as the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, made charity unlawful for the family of Banu Hashim, he also made it unlawful for their proteges (mawla). Abu Rafi', a protege of the Prophet, said that the latter appointed a man from the family of Banu Makhzum to collect sadaqat. This man said to Abu Rafi': "Accompany me so that you may get some of it." He said: "No, until I meet the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and ask him." He left and asked him. The Prophet answered: "Sadaqah is not lawful for us--and the proteges of a certain tribe are like [the members of the tribe] themselves." Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and at-Tirmizhi related it. The latter grades it good (hassan) and sound (sahih).

    Whether nonobligatory charity (tatawwu') is lawful for the family of the Prophet or not, scholars differ. Ash-Shaukani, having summarized the views on the issue, says: "The apparent meaning of the Prophet's hadith, 'Sadaqah is unlawful for us,' is the unlawfulness of the obligatory as well as nonobligatory sadaqat." A group of scholars, including al-Khattabi, says that its prohibition for the Prophet, upon whom be peace, carries consensus. Based on ashShaf'i's report, many others have ruled that the prohibition of zakah to the Prophet does not include the nonobligatory charity. A report from Ahmad equally says so but Ibn Qudamah rejects all these reports for lack of clear evidence.

    As for the family of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, the vast majority of the Hanafiyyah, the Shaf'iyyah, the Hanbaliyyah, and the majority of the Zaidiyyah hold that nonobligatory sadaqah is permissible for them but not the obligatory one, since to them the latter is nothing but filth that comes out from people's holdings. This is understood to mean that the (prescribed) zakah and not the nonobligatory sadaqat, are forbidden to them. It is said in alBahr that nonobligatory sadaqah is restricted by being confined to a donation, gift, or endowment. Abu Yusuf and Abu al-'Abbas maintain that it is unlawful for them, as is the prescribed charity, because there is no evidence of the contrary.

    Fiqh 3.75: Fathers and Sons

    The jurists agree that it is not permissible to give zakah to one's father, grandfather, mother, grandmother, son, grandson, daughter, and her children because the zakah payer is obligated to take care of all such people anyway. In case of their poverty, they should draw upon his largesse because it is their right. Thus, if he pays them zakah, he benefits himself and avoids the obligation of supporting them. Malik exempts the grandfather, grandmother, grandsons, and granddaughters because one does not have an obligation to support them if they are poor. However, if they are well-off and fought voluntarily for the cause of Allah, the zakah payer may give them some of the zakah designated for those fighting in the cause of Allah. He may also give them some of the share meant for debtors, though he is not obligated to pay off their debts. He may also give them a portion of the amount set aside for zakah collectors, provided they are in this category.

  • Fiqh 3.75 a: The Wife

    Ibn al-Munzhir says that all scholars agree that a man is not obligated to give his wife zakah, the reason being that adequate support for her is already enjoined upon him, unless she is in debt. In that case, she may be given from the debtor's share to pay off her debt.

  • Fiqh 3.75 b: The Distribution of Zakah in Order to Grow Nearer to Allah

    It is not permissible to distribute zakah so as to grow nearer to Allah other than what Allah, the Exalted One, mentions in the 'ayah: "The alms are only for the poor and the needy" (at-Taubah 60). Thus, zakah cannot be paid for establishing mosques, bridges, road repair, hospitality, shrouding the dead, and so on. Abu Dawud witnesses: "I heard Ahmad while he was asked whether spending part of the zakah on shrouding the deceased was permissible. He said: 'No. Nor can it be used to pay the debt of the dead.' " He also said: "One can pay the debt of a living person from the zakah but not that of the deceased. For a person who dies, there is no debt."

    Ahmad was also asked what would happen if it had been given to help them redeem their debt. He answered: "Yes, for his family it is all right."

    Fiqh 3.76: Who Distributes Zakah?

    The Messenger of Allah used to send his authorized agents to collect zakah. He would then distribute it among the deserving people. Abu Bakr and 'Umar did the same. There is no difference between unhidden wealth (i.e., plants, fruit, cattle, and minerals) and hidden wealth (i.e., trade goods, gold, silver, and treasure). When 'Uthman became caliph, he followed this practice for a while. Later on, when he saw that the hidden wealth was tremendous and that pursuing it embarrassed the community and while checking it harmed its owners, he left the payment of the zakah on such property to the individual's discretion. Jurists agree that the owners themselves should assume the distribution of zakah, especially when it is for hidden wealth. As-Sa'ib ibn Yazid reported: "I once heard the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace. He said: 'This is the month of your zakah. If any one of you still owes a debt, let him pay it off so that your properties become free from debts. Then, you can pay the zakah on them.' " Al-Baihaqi relates it with a sahih chain.

    An-Nawawi says that some scholars agree with this practice.: Who should distribute the zakah on hidden wealth

    Is it preferable for the owners to distribute the zakah due on their hidden wealth, or is it preferable to let the leader distribute it?

    There is more than one opinion on this subject. The preferred choice among the Shaf'iyyah is that zakah be paid to the government, especially when it is a just government. According to the Hanbaliyyah, it is preferable that the zakah payer distribute it himself, even though it is permissible to give it to the ruler. On the other hand, Malik and the Hanafiyyah hold that if the wealth is unhidden, the Muslim leader and his agents have the authority to ask for and take their zakah. The opinion of the Shaffiyyah and the Hanbaliyyah concerning unhidden wealth is similar to that on the hidden ones.

  • Fiqh 3.76 a: Paying Zakah to the Leader, Regardless of His Being Just or Unjust

    It is permissible to pay zakah to a Muslim leader, whether he is just or not, provided he rules (more or less) according to Islamic laws. The property owner absolves himself of his obligation by giving zakah to the leader. If the leader does not distribute it properly, it is preferable that the property owner do so himself, unless the leader or his agent asks for it.

    Anas reported: "A man from the tribe of Banu Tamim came to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and said: 'O Messenger of Allah! If I paid the zakah to your representative, am I acquitted of my responsibility?' The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: 'Yes, if you pay it to my representative, then you have acquitted yourself. Its reward will be yours and its sin will be upon whoever misused it.' " This is related by Ahmad.

    Ibn Mas'ud reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "After me, there will be selfishness and you will deny obligations." They said: "O Messenger of Allah! What do you command us to do?" He answered: "Pay the due which is upon you and ask Allah what is right for you." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

    Wa'il ibn Hajar reported: "I heard the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, say after a man had asked him his opinion of our leaders who deny their right [of collecting and distributing the zakah]: 'Listen and obey, for indeed, they have their responsibility and you have yours.' " This is related by Muslim.

    Commenting on the subject, ash-Shaukkani says that the hadith cited in this section are used by many scholars to justify the permissibility of transferring both kinds of zakah to unjust rulers. This applies to rulers of Muslims in the world of Islam (Dar al Islam).

    As to contemporary Muslim governments, Sheikh Rashid Rida says: "At present, the majority of Muslims do not have an Islamic govemment which establishes Islam, propagates and defends it, calls for jihad individually or collectively, implements its divine injunctions, and collects and distributes zakah according to the rules laid down by Allah, the Exalted One.

    Some of the Muslim rulers are under the influence of Western powers, while others are under the tutelage of polytheists. These foreign powers employ Muslim leaders as tools to subjugate the people in the name of Islam, thus destroying Islam itself. They use the influence of the Muslim leaders and Muslim resources, including zakah and endowments, to further their interests. To such rulers, it is not permissible to pay any part of zakah, regardless of their title or profession of faith. As for the rest of the Islamic governments whose rulers and heads of state profess Islam and whose finances are not controlled by foreigners, the payment of unhidden zakah should be made to their leaders. This also applies to hidden properties, such as gold and silver, when the leaders request it, even if they are unjust in some of their judgments, as is said by the jurists."

    Fiqh 3.78: The Preferability of Giving Zakah to Good People

    Zakah is given to a Muslim provided he is eligible to receive it. Whether he is good or sinful does not matter. If, however, it is known that he will use it to perpetuate what Allah has forbidden, it should be denied to him. It is preferable that one who pays zakah should give it to the pious, the knowledgeable, and those of kind disposition. It is related from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "The likeness of a believer and the likeness of belief are similar to the horse that, tied to its post, walks around and then comes back to its post. The believer may forget, but he returns to his belief. Thus, give your food to the righteous people and entrust your favors to the believers." This is related by Ahmad with a good chain and as-Suyuti authenticated it.

    Ibn Taimiyyah says that the needy who discards his salah will not be given anything until he repents and offers salah again because neglecting salah is a grave sin. It is not right that one who commits this sin should be financially helped until he repents to Allah. Included along with those who neglect salah are offenders who are not ashamed to commit sinful acts and remain unrepentant. Also, one whose conscience is corrupted has an innate character which is distorted and a sense of good which is virtually dead. Such a person is not given zakah unless doing so will turn him in the right direction and help him reform.

  • Fiqh 3.78 a: The Zakah Giver is Forbidden to Buy Back What He Gave in Charity

    The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, prohibited the one who gives zakah to buy back what he gave up for Allah, the Exalted One. This is similar to the case of those immigrants who were prohibited (by the Messenger) to return to Makkah after they had left it as immigrants. It is related by 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar that: "Once 'Umar gave away a horse, for the cause of Allah, as sadaqah. Later, he saw it for sale and wanted to buy it. He asked the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, if he could do so. The Messenger answered: 'Do not buy back what you gave in sadaqah.'" This is related by al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and an-Nasa'i. AnNawawi says it is a purifying prohibition, not one of unlawfulness. It is unsuitable (makruh) for a person to buy back what he has given in sadaqah, or zakah, or penance for a promise, or anything of the nature which brings one closer to Allah, the Exalted One. This is also applicable to a gift offered to someone which the donor cannot own even if it is allowed by the recipient. However, it can be owned by him again if he inherits it. According to Ibn Battal, most scholars disliked someone to buy his sadaqah back. This is in accordance with 'Umar's hadith. Ibn al-Munzhir says that al-Hasan, 'Ikrimah, Rabi'ah, and al-Auza'i allowed buying one's charity back. Ibn Hazm is also inclined to this view because of a hadith from Abu Sa'id alKhudri. The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Sadaqah is not allowed to the well-to-do except for five among them: one who fights in the cause of Allah; one who administers zakah; one who is in debt; one who bought [the article of zakah] with his money; or one who has a poor neighbor to whom he gave sadaqah, and the latter gave it as a gift to him."

    Fiqh 3.79: Preference in Giving Zakah to Husband or Relative

    A poor husband is entitled to receive zakah from his well-to-do wife, even though she is not supposed to support him. Her reward for giving it to him is more than if she were to give it to strangers. Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported that Zainab, the wife of Ibn Mas'ud, said: "O Prophet of Allah! Indeed you have ordered us today to give away sadaqah, and I have some jewelry which I wanted to give away as sadaqah. But Ibn Mas'ud claims that he and his children deserve it more than someone else." The Prophet, upon whom be peace, responded: "Ibn Mas'ud is right. Your husband and your children are more deserving." This is related by al-Bukhari. AshShafi, Ibn al-Munzhir, Abu Yusuf, Muhammad, the Zahiriyyah, and one of the reports by Ahmad hold the same view. Abu Hanifah and other scholars differ, saying that the wife is not allowed to give any sadaqah to her husband. They maintain that Zainab's hadith is concerned with voluntary sadaqah and not with the obligatory one. Malik holds that it is not permissible for a husband to spend the sadaqah he receives from his wife on her. Spending it on others is all right. Most scholars say that one's brothers, sisters, paternal uncles and aunts, and maternal uncles and aunts may receive zakah if they are eligible. Their opinion is based on the hadith which says: "Sadaqah for the poor is rewarded as one sadaqah, but in the case of a relative it is considered as two: [one reward for] blood tie and [the other reward for] the sadaqah [itself]." This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'i, and at-Tirmizhi. The latter grades it hassan.

    Fiqh 3.80: Giving Charity to Seekers of Religious Knowledge

    An-Nawawi holds that if someone is able to earn a suitable living and wants to occupy himself by studying some of the religious sciences but finds that his work will not allow him to do so, then he may be given zakah since seeking knowledge is considered a collective duty (fard kifayah). As for the individual who is not seeking knowledge, zakah is not permissible for him if he is able to earn his living even though he resides at a school. An-Nawawi says: "As for one who is engaged in supererogatory worship (nawafil) or for one who occupies himself in nawafil with no time to pursue his own livelihood, he may not receive zakah. This is because the benefit of his worship is confined only to him, contrary to the one who seeks knowledge."

  • Fiqh 3.80 a: Setting Debt Free through Zakah

    Formulating the issue, an-Nawawi says in al-Majmu': "Suppose a person owes a debt to another person and at the same time he qualifies for zakah. [When zakah is due for the lender to pay,] he tells [the borrower]: 'Consider the debt for [my] zakah.' Would it be valid?" An-Nawawi says there are two opinions on it. According to Ahmad and Abu Hanifah, who held the better opinion, it does not constitute zakah because it cannot be discharged unless actually paid, while Hasan al-Basri and 'Ata maintain that the responsibility to pay zakah will be discharged even though there is no payment of zakah (at that point in time) by its payer.

    Likewise, if an individual trustingly assigns some money to a person to keep and at the time of zakah he asks the assignee to keep the amount in lieu of his zakah, it will be valid.

    The jurists, however, agree that if a person pays zakah to another who owes him money and then receives it back to redeem his loan to him, the obligation to pay zakah will not be discharged. It is also invalid for a person to accept zakah on the condition that he will pay it back to the lender (the zakah payer) for the amount he owes him. Nevertheless, if at the time of lending and acceptance of the loan both agree to do so, even though it was not mentioned in the deal, it will be valid as zakah.

    Fiqh 3.81: Transfer of Zakah

    The jurists agree that zakah can be transferred from one city to another provided the needs of the city residents whom the zakah was originally derived from have first been satisfied. A large number of hadith on the subject stress the need for depleting zakah among the poor and the needy of the city from which it is collected. This is because zakah aims at freeing the poor inhabitants of an area from want, and thus its transfer would contribute to their deprivation. This is substantiated by the hadith of Mu'azh: "Tell them that there is a charity due upon them to be taken from their rich and to be given back to their poor." Abu Juhaifah reported: "The charity collector of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, came to us and took zakah from our rich and gave it to our poor. I was an orphan then, and he gave me a young she-camel." This is related by at-Tirmizhi, who graded it hassan.

    'Imran ibn Husain reports that he was employed as a charity collector. When he returned from this assignment, he was asked: "Where is the collection?" He responded: "Did you send me for the collection? We took it and distributed it the way we did at the time of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace." This is related by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah. On the same subject, Tawus says: "Mu'azh wrote in his letter: 'Anyone who moves from one location to another, his charity and tithe remain in the location of his tribe.'" This is related by al-Athram in his Sunan.

    Based on such hadith, the jurists say that the poor of a city have a prior claim over the local zakah than the poor elsewhere. Still, they differ over which conditions must prevail before zakah can be transferred from one city to another.

    The Hanafiyyah hold that transferring zakah is disliked (makruh) unless it is for needy relatives and serves the ties of blood, or when the needs of a group of Muslims are more pressing than those of the locals, when it is tied to the general interests of the Muslims, when it is sought from a country at war against the Muslims to the land of Islam, when it is intended for a scholar, or when zakah is paid before the completion of the hawl. In those cases, transferring zakah is not disliked (makruh).

    The Shaf'iyyah maintain that transferring zakah is not allowed and that it must be spent in the area of its origin, unless it has no poor or other categories of zakah recipients. 'Amr ibn Shu'aib reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, appointed Mu'azh ibn Jabal to a position in Jund where the latter remained until the death of the Prophet. At the time of this event, he came to 'Umar who reappointed him. He sent to 'Umar one-third of the sadaqat collected from the local people, but 'Umar turned it down and said: "I did not appoint you to go there as a tax collector or as a tribute (jizyah) taker. I appointed you to collect sadaqat from the rich and then to return them to their poor." Mu'azh replied: "I would not have sent you anything [from the collection] if I had found someone deserving [over here]."

    In the second year, he sent him half of the collected sadaqat, and they ran into the same issue again. In the third year, he sent him all of it, and 'Umar again argued with him. Mu'azh responded: "I could not find anyone who deserved to receive anything from me." This is related by Abu 'Ubaid.

    Malik holds that transferring zakah is allowed only when there is a desperate need. The administration then can send it to the other place after due consideration of all the facts. The Hanbaliyyah say that it is not permissible to transfer zakah from its place of origin to that of the place beyond which salat ul-qasr is applicable. It must be spent in the place which generated it or near to it but not beyond the point of qasr.

    Abu Dawud says: "I heard Ahmad saying 'no' when asked if zakah could be transferred from one city to another. Asked further, 'What if his [the zakah payer's] relatives are in the other city?' he replied: 'No. It can be transferred only when the needs of the poor residents of a city have been satisfied.' " This is based on the preceding hadith of Abu 'Ubaid. Ibn Qudamah holds that even if the zakah payer violated the above stipulations by transferring it, he would still have met his obligation. Most of the scholars also support this view. When a man resides in one city and his holdings happen to be in another, consideration will be given to the city where his holdings are located because the holdings generated zakah and the eligible people will be eyeing it. If part of the holdings are with the owner and some are in another city, zakah will be paid on the portion in each city. This applies to zakah on one's holdings. As for the zakah at the end of Ramadan (zakat ul-fitr), it is distributed in the city where it is due, whether the payer's holdings are there or not. This is because this type of zakah is associated with the person rather than with the holdings.

    Fiqh 3.83: Errors in the Distribution of Zakah

    The topic of recipients versus non-recipients of zakah has already been covered. It does happen, however, that a zakah payer inadvertantly gives it to an ineligible person at the expense of an eligible one. Upon the realization of such a mistake, would he be considered to have fulfilled his obligation of zakah or would it still be a debt upon him until he pays it to the right people? The jurists differ over this point. Abu Hanifah, Muhammad, al-Hasan, and Abu 'Ubaidah maintain that in such a case he would not be required to pay another zakah.

    Ma'an ibn Yazid reports: "My father set aside a few dinars for sadaqah and gave them to a man in the mosque. I went and took them and brought them back to my father. He said: 'By Allah! What have you done?' I consulted the Prophet, upon whom be peace, about it. The Prophet observed: 'O Yazid, for you is what you intended and O Ma'an, for you is what you have taken.' " This is related by Ahmad and al-Bukhari. The meaning of this hadith is that sadaqah is supererogatory (nafl); however, the word ma (meaning what) in laka rna nawayta (for you is what you intended) denotes generalization. Abu Hanifah and Muhammad are supported in their stand by a hadith from Abu Hurairah which reports the Prophet, upon whom be peace, saying: "A man [from Banu Isra'il] said [to himself]: 'Tonight I will give away something in sadaqah.' So he went out with his sadaqah and [unknowlingly] gave it to a thief. The next moming he was told by the people that he had given sadaqah to a thief. [On hearing this,] he said: 'O Allah! Praised be You. Certainly I will give sadaqah again.' So, he went out with his sadaqah and [unknowingly] gave it to an adulteress. The next moming he was told that he had given sadaqah to an adulteress. The man said: 'O Allah! Praised be You. [I gave my sadaqah] to an adulteress. Certainly I will give sadaqah again.' Thus he went out with his sadaqah again and [unknowingly] gave it to a rich person. The next moming the people said that the night before he had given his sadaqah to a wealthy person. He said: 'O Allah! Praised be You. [I have given my sadaqah] to an adulteress, a thief, and a rich person.' [In his dreams] he saw someone saying to him: 'The sadaqah you gave to the thief might make him abstain from stealing, and that given to the adulteress might make her abstain from illegal sex [adultery], and that given to the wealthy person might make him learn a lesson from it and spend his wealth, which Allah, the Exalted One, has given him in Allah's cause.' " This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim.

    The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said to a man who asked him for sadaqah: "If you were eligible for zakah, I would have given you your due." He (the Prophet) gave (zakah) to two well built persons saying: "If you wish, I will give from it [sadaqah]. There is no portion in it for a wealthy person or a healthy individual who is eaming." Ibn Qudamah says: "If he would have considered the reality of the rich person, he would not have been contented with what they said [conceming this matter]."

    The opinion of Malik, ash-Shaf'i, Abu Yusuf, ath-Thauri, and Ibn al-Munzhir is that it will not be sufficient for a zakah payer to give it to the undeserving, especially when his mistake becomes clear. In that case, he should pay zakah once again to those who deserve it. His case is similar to the case of unpaid debts (owed) to other people. Ahmad says that there are two opinions conceming one paying zakah to a person whom he thought was poor and later leamed was rich. The first contends it would be considered paid, while the second says that it would not be. When it becomes known that one who received zakah is a slave, an unbeliever, a Hashimite (a person from the Prophet's family), or an ineligible relative of the zakah payer, then one has not discharged one's obligation, the reason being that it is difficult to know who is rich and who is poor: "The ignorant man thinks that since they [who do not ask for] are modest they are free from want" [al-Baqarah 273].

    Fiqh 3.84: Disclosure of Sadaqah

    It is pemmissible for the person giving sadaqah to disclose his sadaqah, whether it is of an obligatory or supererogatory type (nafilah), so long as he does not do it ostentatiously. However, it is preferable not to disclose it. Allah, the Exalted One, says: "If you publicize your almsgiving, it is alright, but if you hide it and give it to the poor, it will be better for you" [al-Baqarah 271]. Ahmad, alBukhari, and Muslim relate from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "Seven people will be shaded by Allah on the day when there will be no shade except His. These people are: a just ruler, a young man who has been brought up in the worship of Allah, a man whose heart is attached to the mosque, two persons who love each other only for Allah's sake and they meet and depart in Allah's cause only, a person who gives sadaqah so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given, a person who remembers Allah in his seclusion and his eyes get filled with tears, and a man who refuses the call of a chamling woman of noble birth for illicit sex and says: 'I am afraid of Allah, the Exalted One.' "

    Fiqh 3.87: Zakat ul-Fitr

    Zakat ul-fitr is a type of sadaqah which must be paid by every Muslim, young and old, male and female, free and slave, at the end of the month of fasting (Ramadan).

    Al-Bukhari and Muslim relate from Ibn 'Umar that he said: "The Prophet, upon whom be peace, enjoined the payment of one sa' of dates or one sa' of barley as zakat ul-fitr on every Muslim, young and old, male and female, free and slave."

  • Fiqh 3.87 a: The Purpose of Zakat ul-Fitr

    Zakat ul-fitr was made obligatory in the month of Sha'ban in the second year of the hijrah. Its purpose is to purify one who fasts from any indecent act or speech and to help the poor and needy. This view is based upon the hadith reported by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and ad-Daraqutni from Ibn 'Abbas. The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, enjoined zakat ul-fitr on the one who fasts to shield one's self from any indecent act or speech and for the purpose of providing food for the needy. It is accepted as zakah for the person who pays it before the 'id salah, and it is sadaqah for the one who pays it after the salah.

    Fiqh 3.88: Who Must Pay Zakat ul-Fitr

    Zakat ul-fitr is incumbent on every free Muslim who possesses one sa' of dates or barley which is not needed as a basic food for himself or his family for the duration of one day and night. Every free Muslim must pay zakat ul-fitr for himself, his wife, children, and servants.

  • Fiqh 3.88 a: The Amount of Zakat ul-Fitr

    The required amount of zakat ul-fitr is one sa' of wheat, barley, raisins, dry cottage cheese (aqit), rice, corn, or similar items considered as basic foods (qut). Abu Hanifah made it permissible to set aside, as a zakat ul-fitr, an equivalent value and also said that if the payer pays in wheat, one-half of a sa' would be sufficient. Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported: "We used to give on behalf of every child, old person, freeman, and slave during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, one sa' of food, or one sa' of dried cottage cheese, or one sa' of barley, or one sa' of dates, or one sa' of raisins as zakat ul-fitr. We continued to do so until Mu'awiyyah came to us to perform pilgrimage (hajj) or a minor pilgrimage ( 'umrah). He then addressed the people from the pulpit and said to them: 'I see that two mudds of wheat of Syria equals one sa' of dates.' The people accepted that." However, Abu Sa'id contended: "I would continue to give as I used to give, namely, one sa' as long as I live." This is related by most hadith narrators. At-Tirmizhi remarks: "Some of the scholars gave one sa' from every charitable item [which is accepted as a sound practice]." Ash-Shaf'i and Ishaq sustain this view but some other scholars gave one sa' from every charitable item except wheat, of which only half a sa' would be sufficient. This is the saying of Sufyan, Ibn al-Mubarak, and the scholars of Kufah.

  • Fiqh 3.88 b: When Zakat ul-Fitr is Due

    The jurists agree that zakat ul-fitr is due at the end of Ramadan. They differ, however, about the exact time.

    Ath-Thauri, Ahmad, Ishaq, and ash-Shaf'i (in his later opinion), and Malik (in one of his reports) are of the opinion that it is due at the sunset of the night of breaking the fast, for this is when the fast of Ramadan ends. Abu Hanifah, al-Layth, ash-Shaf'i (in his original opinion), and the second report of Malik say that zakat ulfitr is due at the start of fajr on the day of 'id.

    These two different views acquire relevance if a baby is born after sunset but before dawn on the day of 'id; the question then is whether zakat ul-fitr is obligatory for the baby or not. In accordance with the first view, it is not since the birth took place after the prescribed time, while according to the second view, it is due because the birth took place within the prescribed space of time.

    Fiqh 3.89: Paying Zakat ul-Fitr in Advance

    Most scholars believe that it is permissible to pay zakat ul-fitr a day or two before 'id. Ibn 'Umar reports that the Messenger, upon whom be peace, ordered them to pay zakat ul-fitr before the people went out to perform the 'id prayers. Nafi' reports that 'Umar used to pay it a day or two before the end of Ramadan. However, scholars hold different opinions when a longer time period is involved. According to Abu Hanifah, it is permissible to pay it even before Ramadan. Ash-Shaf'i holds that it is permissible to do so at the beginning of Ramadan. Malik and Ahmad (in his well-known view) maintain that it is permissible to pay it only one or two days in advance.

    The founders of the four accepted Islamic legal schools agree that zakat ul-fitr is not nullified simply by not paying it on its due date. If such is the case, it becomes a debt on the one responsible for it until it is paid. They also agree that it is not permissible to delay it until the day of 'id, but Ibn Sirin and an-Nakha'i say that this can be done. Ahmad says: "I hope that there is no harm [in the delay of its payment]." Ibn Raslan says that there is a consensus that its payment cannot be delayed just because it is a type of zakah. Thus, any delay is a sin and is analogous to delaying one's prayers without an acceptable excuse. This is proved by the following hadith: "If one pays zakat ul-fitr before the salah, it is considered an accepted zakah. If he pays it after the salah, it is considered an ordinary sadaqah."

    Fiqh 3.90: Distribution of Zakat ul-Fitr

    The distribution of zakat ul-fitr is the same as that of zakah-- that is, it has to be distributed to the eight groups of beneficiaries mentioned in the 'ayah: "The alms are only for the poor ..." [atTaubah 60]. The category comprising the poor is considered the most deserving. This is also supported by the hadith: "The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, enjoined zakat ul-fitr as a purification for the one who fasts from any indecent act or speech, and as food for the needy."

    Al-Baihaqi and ad-Daraqutni relate from Ibn 'Umar who said: "The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, enjoined the zakat ul-fitr, and also said: 'Free them from want on this day.'"

  • Fiqh 3.90 a: Giving Zakat ul-Fitr to a Zhimmi

    Az-Zuhri, Abu Hanifah, Muhammad, and Ibn Shubrumah make it permissible to give zakat ul-fitr to a zhimmi. Allah, the Exalted One, says: "Allah allows you to show kindness and deal justly with those who did not war against you on account of religion and did not drive you out from your homes. Lo! Allah loves those who are just" [al-Mumtahanah 8].

  • Fiqh 3.90 b: Are There Other Claims on Wealth Besides Zakah?

    Islam views wealth realistically--as an essential aspect of life and the main means of subsistence of individuals and groups. Allah, the Exalted One, instructs: "Give not to those who are weak of understanding [what is in] your wealth which Allah has made a means of support for you" [an-Nisa' 5]. This amounts to saying that wealth is to be distributed to meet the basic needs of food, clothing, lodging, and other indispensables, and that no one is to be lost, forgotten, or left without support. The best way to distribute wealth so that everyone's basic needs are met is through zakah. It does not place any burden on the wealthy yet at the same time it meets the basic needs of the poor and relieves them of the hardships of life and the pain of deprivation. Zakah is not a favor (minnah) that the wealthy bestow upon the poor; rather, it is a due (haqq) that Allah entrusted in the hands of the rich to deliver to the poor and distribute among the deserving. Thus, the eminent truth about wealth and property is established--that is, wealth is not exclusively for the rich but for both the rich and the poor. This becomes obvious because of Allah's judgment concerning the distribution of booty (fay'). Allah warns: ". . . that it does not become a commodity taken by turns among the rich of you" [al-Hashr 7]. This means it is an apportionment of wealth between the rich and the poor, not something restricted to the wealthy. Zakah is an obligation due on the property of those able to pay and is to be used to meet the basic needs of the poor and the needy so that they could be kept away from hunger and they could be given a sense of security and general well-being. If the amount of zakah is not enough to alleviate the conditions of the poor and the needy, then the rich can be subjected to further taxation. How much should be taken is not specified. Its quantity will be determined by the needs of the poor.

    In his interpretation of alBaqarah 177, al-Qurtubi says: "The saying of Allah, the Exalted One: 'And to spend of your wealth out of love for Him' gives credence to those who maintain that there is a due on wealth other than zakah known as mal addir." Others hold that the preceding 'ayah alludes to the obligatory zakah. According to ad-Daraqutni's report from Fatimah bint Qais, the first view is more convincing. She relates: "Indeed, there is a due on one's holdings other than the prescribed zakah." Then he recited the following Qur'anic verse: "It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East or to the West, but it is to believe in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, the Messengers, and to spend of your wealth out of love for Him on your kin, orphans, the needy, the wayfarer, or those who ask, and on the ransom of slaves..." [al-Baqarah 177]. Ibn Majah mentioned it in his Sunan and at-Tirmizhi in his Jami'. The latter says that Ibn Majah's has a different chain of narrators than his. Besides, Abu Hamzah and Maymun al-'A'war consider Ibn Majah's chain of narrator not credible. This hadith is related by Bayan and Isma'il ibn Salim from ash-Shu'bi, who said that it is sound.

    The latter says: "If there is a question about its authenticity, it is rendered clear by the context of the 'ayah [al-Baqarah 177]. In this statement: '... to be steadfast in prayer, and to give zakah,' Allah mentions zakah with salah, which substantiates the fact that 'to spend of your property out of love for Him' does not refer to obligatory zakah, for that would be redundant in the 'ayah--and Allah knows best."

    The scholars agree that should a need arise, even when zakah has been paid, the Muslim community is bound to contribute toward the alleviation of the problem.

    Malik says: "It is obligatory for the people to ransom those taken as prisoners of war, even if doing so consumes all their property. The consensus on this subject strengthens our view, and we seek success only through Allah." According to al-Manar, the 'ayah "... and to spend your property out of love for Him . . ." [alBaqarah 177] means that one should give the property for the sake of Allah or for the love of giving it.

    Imam Muhammad 'Abduh's comments are: "The giving of property in excess of the due zakah is considered one of the basic elements of piety (birr) and is enjoined like the prescribed zakah."

    Whenever the exigency calls for it, sadaqah other than zakah is given. That could be before the completion of the year (hawl) or after the payment of zakah. The contribution is not based on a specific amount of nisab but on the ability to give. Thus, if someone possesses only a loaf of bread and sees a person who is more hard-pressed than himself, he should give it to that person. The hard-pressed person is not the only one who has a right to be satisfied, but Allah has also ordered the believers to give non-prescribed sadaqat to the following: kin, orphans, needy, wayfarers, beggars, and slaves.

    Fiqh 3.92: Kin (zhawi al-Qurba), recipients of sadaqah

    The kin are considered the most deserving people for the sadaqah gift because of the common blood relationship. When a man is in need and some of his relatives are rich, naturally he looks to them for help because they are of one family. Also, it is natural for a man to feel more sympathy and pain with his hard-pressed and needy relatives than with strangers. He is humiliated by their degradation and elevated by their honor. Therefore, any well-to-do person who cuts off his kin from assistance and lives in luxury while his relatives are in a state of misery is devoid of natural feeling or lacks belief and is far away from goodness or piety. On the other hand, for one who maintains close links with his kin, his sustenance is assured and his relationship is of beneficence to his kin.

  • Fiqh 3.92 a: Orphans (wal-yatama), recipients of sadaqah

    In the case of orphans whose guardians have died, their support and upbringing depends on wealthy and well to-do Muslims so that they will not become a problem to themselves or other people.

  • Fiqh 3.92 b: The Needy (wal-masakin), recipients of sadaqah

    Because they are unable to earn enough to maintain themselves and have become contented with the little they have and abstain from begging, it is necessary for the well-to-do to help them.

    Fiqh 3.93: Wayfarers (wab nisabil), recipients of sadaqah

    In the case of the wayfarer cut off from family and relatives, as if traveling were his household, consideration requires kindness for him as well. Thus, to sympathize with him and help him in his travels is, within the meaning of Islamic law, an encouragement which invites one to journey throughout the earth.

  • Fiqh 3.93 a: Beggars (was-sa'ilin), recipients of sadaqah

    In the case of beggars forced to ask people for their needs, they should be helped. A person may also ask for help in order to redress another's need. However, the shari'ah does not approve of begging, except under dire circumstances. Even then, one should not trespass limits.

  • Fiqh 3.93 b: Slaves (wa fi ar-riqab), recipients of sadaqah

    The liberation of slaves includes buying and setting them free, helping contracted slaves (al-mukatabun) pay off their debts, and helping captives buy their way out of captivity. By encouraging people to spend out of their wealth on slaves, the shari 'ah wants to emancipate the latter. Still, as important as the emancipation of slaves is, in terms of priorities, it is placed at the end, after the orphans, the needy, the wayfarer, and the beggar, the reason being that the former fall under the need for preserving life (which has a higher value), while the latter falls under the right to freedom (a lesser value than life).

  • Fiqh 3.93 c: Sadaqah other then Zakat

    The legitimacy of giving sadaqah other than that of zakah is not restricted by a time limit or definite nisab. The amount designated for expenditure need not be a certain percentage (for example, a tithe, a one-quarter tithe, or a one-tenth tithe). It is an open-ended matter that is left to the beneficence, generosity, and condition of the one who gives. The protection of a revered (muhtaram) man from destruction and harm is an obligation upon whoever can help him, but more than that, it is left unquantified.

    People overlook most of the public rights which the Qur'an supports, for these rights seek to establish an honorable and just social life. People spend only a smalI amount on the needy and even less for beggars because they are considered the least deserving nowadays. This is due to the fact that beggars have made begging a profession (hirfah), even though most of them are well-to-do.

    Ibn Hazm says: "It is enjoined upon the rich of every country to support their poor, and the ruler has the authority to force them to do so. This is called for when the pre~,cribed zakah or the holdings of other Muslims are not enough to meet the needs of the poor. In that case, their food and their clothing to protect them from the elements and the eyes of the passer-by would be provided by the rich." The proof for this is in the saying of Allah, the Exalted One: "Give the kinsman his due, and the needy, and the wayfarer" [al-Isra' 26]. Allah also says: "[Show] kindness to parents, to near kin and orphans, to the needy, to relatives, to neighbors who are not related to you, to fellow travelers and wayfarers, and [to the slaves] whom your right hand possesses" [an-Nisa' 36]. Generosity urges support for the above-mentioned people and forbids harming them. Referring to the guilty in the life to come, the Qur'an says that they would ask each other: "What brought you to this hellfire?" They will answer: "We were not of those who prayed, nor did we feed the needy" [al-Muddaththir 42-44]. Thus, Allah links feeding the needy with performing prayers. According to the following hadith, related by authentic sources, the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "He who does not have mercy upon people, Allah's mercy will be kept from him." Anyone upon whom Allah bestowed His grace and who sees his Muslim brother hungry, in need of clothes, and miserable, and still does not help him, he will, indeed, deprive himself of Allah's mercy.

    'Uthman an-Nahdi reported that 'Abdurrahman ibn Abi Bakr as-Siddiq informed him that the companions of as-Saffah were poor and that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "He who has enough food for two, let him invite a third, and he who has food for four, let him invite a fifth or a sixth."

    It is related from Ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "A Muslim is a brother of another, and he should neither do injustice to him nor betray him." Thus, anyone who lets a needy Muslim go without food or clothes while, in fact, he is able to feed and clothe him would have betrayed him. It is related from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "He whose holdings exceed his needs, let him support the one whose holdings do not, and he whose food exceeds his needs, let him share it with him who does not have food." Abu Sa'id al-Khudri says: "Then he mentioned so many kinds of property that we thought no one of us had the right to have anything surplus with us." This is the consensus of the companions, as it was reported by Abu Sa'id alKhudri. Concerning this tradition, it is reported on the authority of Abu Musa al-Ash'ari that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and ransom the prisoner."

    There are many 'ayahs in the Qur'an and numerous sound hadith on this subject. 'Umar says: "If I were to live again the past which I have already lived, I would take the surplus from the rich and distribute it among the poor immigrants (mujhajirun)." This is considered to be the most authentic report.

    'Ali said: "Allah, the Exalted One, has placed a due upon the properties of the rich to meet the needs of the poor. Thus, if the poor go hungry or naked or struggle because of the neglect of the rich, then Allah will hold them [the rich] accountable on the Day of Judgment and will punish them."

    Ibn 'Umar is reported to have said: "There is a due on your property other than zakah." It is related from 'Aishah (the mother of the believers), al-Hasan ibn 'Ali, Ibn 'Umar that all of them replied to those who had asked them: "If you are asked for help in cases of blood money, heavy debt, or desperate poverty, then it is a must for you to give them from your holdings."

    It was accurately reported by Abu 'Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah and 300 companions that (once) when their provisions had run very low, Abu 'Ubaidah ordered them to collect what was left and place it into two bags and then allot it to each one equally. Then he said: "It is not permissible for a hard-pressed Muslim to eat the meat of a dead animal or a pig when he can find surplus food from either a Muslim or a zhimmi. It is an obligation of the one who has food to feed the hungry." This has the consensus among the companions, and there are no contrary views concerning it. It was accurately reported from ashShu'bi, Mujahid, Tawus, and others that: "There is a due on property other than zakah." If such is the case, then a hard-pressed person is not forced to eat the meat of dead animals or pigs. He has the right to fight for it and, if he is killed, then retaliation by killing (qawad) will be imposed upon the killer. If the property holder who prevents him from receiving his due is killed, then may he have the curse of Allah upon him because he withheld a right (haqq), and he will be regarded as being among the unjust.

    Allah, the Exalted One, says: "And if one party of them does wrong to the other, fight those who do wrong until they return to the ordinance of Allah." Thus, one who withholds a right is an oppressor of his brother. The latter is the possessor of that right. On this basis, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq waged war against those who refused to pay their zakah.

    From the preceding, one can see the degree of compassion and commiseration that Islam has for the deprived. Islam, in fact, excels over all other faiths and systems. They are like weak, sputtering candles when placed next to the bright and steady light of the sun of Islam.

    Fiqh 3.97: Zakat ut-Tatawwu or Voluntary Sadaqah

    Islam calls upon the individual to spend freely in ways that please the heart of the donor, and evoke generosity, goodness, reverence, and obedience to Allah:

  • Fiqh 3.97 a: Zakat ut-Tatawwu or Voluntary Sadaqah in the Qur'an

    Allah, the Exalted One, says: "The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases; Allah cares for all and knows all things" [al-Baqarah 261].

    "By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give freely of that which you love, and whatever you give, Allah knows it well" [al'Imran 92].

    "And spend from what We have made you heir. For those of you who believe and spend, for them is a great reward" [alHadid 7].

  • Fiqh 3.97 b: Zakat ut-Tatawwu or Voluntary Sadaqah in the Hadith

    The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Sadaqah appeases the anger of the Lord and wards off the agony of death."

    It is similarly related that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "The sadaqah of the Muslim increases during his lifetime. It also softens the agony of death, and through it, Allah takes away arrogance and vanity."

    The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "There is not a day in which the obedient servants rise in the morning or two angels descend, and one of them says: 'O Allah! Compensate the one who spends freely.' The other angel says: 'O Allah! Let an annihilation come upon the one who is niggardly.' " This is related by Muslim.

    The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Acts of kindness protect one from ruin wrought by evil. Sadaqah given secretly appeases the anger of the Lord, and a gift to strengthen the ties of relationship increases one's life span. All good deeds are sadaqah, and those who do acts of kindness in this world are also the same people in the other world. Those who do misdeeds in this world are the same people in the other world. The first of those who shall enter Paradise are the people who do acts of kindness." This is related by at-Tabarani in al'Awsat. Manzhiri does not mention it.

    Fiqh 3.98: Types of Sadaqah

    Sadaqah is not restricted to any special deed of righteousness. The general rule is that all good deeds are sadaqah. Some of them are as follows:

    The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Every Muslim has to give sadaqah." The people asked: "O Prophet of Allah, what about the one who has nothing?" He said: "He should work with his hands to give sadaqah." They asked: "If he cannot find [work]?" He replied: "He should help the needy who asks for help." They asked: "If he cannot do that?" He replied: "He should then do good deeds and shun evil, for this will be taken as sadaqah." This is related by al-Bukhari and others.

    The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Sadaqah is prescribed for every person every day the sun rises. To administer justice between two people is sadaqah. To assist a man upon his mount so that he may ride it is sadaqah. To place his luggage on the animal is sadaqah. To remove harm from the road is sadaqah. A good word is sadaqah. Each step taken toward prayer is sadaqah." This is related by Ahmad and others.

    Abu Zhar al-Ghafari said: "The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: 'Sadaqah is for every person every day the sun rises.' I said: 'O Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, from what do we give sadaqah if we do not possess property?' He said: 'The doors of sadaqah are takbir [i.e., to say: Allahu-akbar, Allah is Great]; Subhan-Allah [Allah is free from imperfection]; Alhamdulillah [all praise is for Allah]; La -ilaha-illallah [there is no god other than Allah]; Astaghfirul-lah [I seek forgiveness from Allah]; enjoining good; forbidding evil; removing thorns, bones, and stones from the paths of people; guiding the blind; listening to the deaf and dumb until you understand them; guiding a person to his object of need if you know where it is; hurrying with the strength of your legs to one in sorrow who is appealing for help; and supporting the weak with the strength of your arms. These are all the doors of sadaqah. [The sadaqah] from you is prescribed for you, and there is a reward for you [even] in sex with your wife.' " This is related by Ahmad, and the wording is his. According to Muslim, they said: "O Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, is there a reward if one satisfies his passion?" He said: "Do you know that if he satisfies it unlawfully he has taken a sin upon himself? Likewise, if he satisfies it lawfully, he is rewarded."

    It is related following Abu Zhar that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Sadaqah is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises." It was asked: "O Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, from what do we give sadaqah every day?" He said: "The doors of goodness are many--the tasbih [to say 'Subhaan-Allah'], the tamhid [to say 'Alhamdu lillah'], the tahlil [to say 'La-ilaha-illallah], enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one's legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one's arms--all of these are sadaqah prescribed for you." This is related by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih. Al-Bukhari related it in a shortened form and added in his report: "Your smile for your brother is sadaqah. Your removal of stones, thorns, or bones from the paths of people is sadaqah. Your guidance of a person who is lost is sadaqah."

    The Messenger of Allah also said: "He from among you who is able to protect himself from the Fire should give sadaqah, even if but with half a date. If he does not find it, then with a good word."

    The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Allah, the Majestic and Mighty, shall say on the Day of Judgment: 'O son of man! I was ill and you did not visit me.' He will reply: 'O my Lord! How could I visit You and You are the Lord of the Worlds?' Allah shall say: 'Did you not know that My slave, so-and-so, was ill and you did not visit him? If you had visited him, you would have found Me with him. O son of man! I asked you for food and you did not give it to me.' He will reply: 'O my Lord! How could I give You food--You are the Lord of the Worlds?' Allah shall say: 'Did you not know that My slave, so-and-so, asked you for food and you did not give it to him? Did you not know that if you had given the food, you would have found that with Me? O son of man! I asked you to quench My thirst and you did not.' He will say: 'O my Lord! How could I quench Your thirst--You are the Lord of the Worlds?' Allah shall say: 'My slave, so-and-so, asked you to quench his thirst and you did not. If you had given him to drink, you would have found that with Me.' " This is related by Muslim.

    The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "A Muslim does not plant or sow anything from which a person, an animal, or anything eats but it is considered as sadaqah from him." This is related by al-Bukhari.

    The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Every good deed is sadaqah. To meet your brother with a smiling face and to pour out from your bucket into his container are sadaqah."

    Fiqh 3.100: Those Who Have Precedence for Receiving Sadaqah

    One's children, family, and relatives have precedence over others. It is not permissible to give sadaqah to a stranger when you and your dependents are in need of it.

    It is related from Jabir that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "When one of you is poor, he starts with himself. If anything is left, he spends it on his dependents. If anything is (still left) then on his relatives, and then, if more is left, he spends it here and there."

    The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Give sadaqah." A man said: "I have a dinar." He replied: "Give it to yourself as sadaqah." He said: "I have another dinar." He replied: "Give it to your wife as sadaqah." He said: "I have another dinar." He replied: "Give it to your child as sadaqah." He said: "I have another dinar." He replied: "Give it to your servant as sadaqah." He said: "I have another dinar." He replied: "You would be able to assess better [to whom to give it]." This is related by Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and Hakim. Hakim grades it as authentic.

    The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "A man has sinned enough if he neglects to feed those in need." This is related by Muslim and Abu Dawud.

    Also: "The most excellent sadaqah is that given to a relative who does not like you." This is related by at-Tabarani and Hakim. The latter grades it authentic.

    Fiqh 3.101: The Invalidation of Sadaqah

    It is unlawful for the one giving sadaqah to remind the recipient of his generosity, to reproach bim, or to make a show with his sadaqah. Allah warns: "O you who believe! Do not invalidate your sadaqah by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like those who spend their property to be seen by men" [al-Baqarah 264].

    The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "There are three [types of people]. Allah shall not speak to them, notice them, or sanctify them; and for them is a grievous penalty." Abu Zhar inquired: "O Messenger of Allah, who are the ones gone wrong and astray?" He replied: "Those who through conceit lengthen their garments to make them hang on the ground, who give nothing without reproach, and who sell their merchandise swearing untruthfully [to its quality]."

  • Fiqh 3.101 a: Giving What is Unlawful as Sadaqah

    Allah does not accept sadaqah if it is from what is unlawful: The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "O people! Allah is good and accepts only good, and He has instructed the believers through the Messengers. Allah, the Mighty and the Majestic, says: 'O Messengers! Consume what is good and work righteously. I am well-acquainted with what you do' [al-Mu'minum 51]." He also calls upon [you]: 'O you who believe! Consume of the good that We have provided for you' [al-Baqarah 172]. Then [the Messenger] mentioned a man who had traveled for a long time. Unkempt and covered in dust, he raised his hands to the heavens (and cried): 'O my Lord! O my Lord!' His food was unlawful, his drink was unlawful, his clothing was unlawful, and what he had provided to sustain himself with was also unlawful. How could his invocation be accepted?" This is related by Muslim.

    Also: "If one gives a date bought from honestly earned money (and Allah accepts only good), Allah accepts it in His right hand and enlarges [its rewards] for its owner (as one rears his foal) until it becomes as big as a mountain." This is related by al-Bukhari.

    Fiqh 3.102: Sadaqah of the wife from the property of her husband

    It is permissible for the wife to give sadaqah from her husband's holdings if she knows that he would not mind. However, it is unlawful if she is not sure of this: It is related from 'Aishah that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "When a wife gives something as sadaqah from the food of her home without causing any waste, she will get the reward for what she has given. Her husband will be rewarded for what he has earned, and the keeper (if any) will be similarly rewarded. The one does not reduce the reward of the other in any way." This is related by al-Bukhari.

    Abu Umamah reports that he had heard the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, saying in a sermon during the year of the Farewell Pilgrimage: "The wife should not spend anything from the household of her husband without his permission." He asked: "O Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace! Not food either?" He said: "That is the most excellent of our holdings." This is related by at-Tirmizhi who graded it hassan.

    Of small things which she is in the habit of giving, no permission from her husband is called for: It is related from Asma, daughter of Abu Bakr, that she said to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace: "Zubair is a well-off man. A man in need approached me and I gave him sadaqah from my husband's household without his permission." The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Give what you are in the habit of giving of what is small, and do not store property away, for Allah shall withhold his blessings from you." This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim.

  • Fiqh 3.102 b: Permissibility of Giving Sadaqah of All One's Property

    For one who is fit and capable of earning his living, giving sadaqah of all his property is permissible.

    'Umar reports: "The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, instructed us to give sadaqah, and it applied to my property. I said: 'Today I shall better Abu Bakr. I have never bettered him.' Then I brought half my property. The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: 'What did you leave for your family?' I said: 'An amount like this.' Abu Bakr came with all his property, and the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, asked: 'What did you leave for your family?' He said: 'I have left Allah and His Messenger, upon whom be peace, for them.' Then I said: 'I shall never better you in anything.'" This is related by Abu Dawud and atTirmizhi. The latter grades it authentic.

    Fiqh 3.103: Giving all of one's property in sadaqah

    The jurists say that giving all of one's property in sadaqah is permissible provided the donor is fit, earning, and steadfast, not in debt, nor has dependents for whom adequate support from him is obligatory. If he does not fulfil these conditions, then his action is makruh.

    Jabir narrated: "While we were with the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, a man came with what was like an egg of gold. He said: 'O Messenger of Allah! I obtained this from buried treasure, so take it. It is sadaqah, and I do not possess anything other than it.' The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, turned away from him and he [the man] then approached him from the direction of his left side. The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, then turned away from him again and he approached him from behind. Then the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, took it and threw it at him. If it had hit him, it would have injured him. Then he said: 'One of you comes with all his property to make sadaqah, then after [giving all he had] he sits [by the road] begging from the people. Sadaqah is given by the one who is rich.' " This is related by Abu Dawud and Hakim. The latter said: "It is authentic according to the stipulation of Muslim. In its transcription is Muhammad ibn Ishaq."

  • Fiqh 3.103 a: Giving Sadaqah to the Zhimmi and the Soldier

    One can give sadaqah to the zhimmi and the soldier, and one is rewarded for that. Allah praised a group of people (for this) when He said: "And they feed, for His love, the indigent, orphan, and captive" [ad-Dahr 6]. The captive is a soldier. Allah says: "Allah has not forbidden you with regard to those who have not made war against you on account of [your] faith and have not driven you out of your homes to deal kindly and justly with them; Allah loves those who are just" [al-Mumtahanah 8].

    Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr, reports: "My mother came to me and she is a polytheist. I said: 'O Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace! If my mother came to me and she is willing, do I establish a link with her?' He said: 'Yes, establish a link with your mother.' "

    Fiqh 3.104: Sadaqah on Animals

    The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, is reported to have said: "While a man was walking along a road, he became very thirsty and found a well. He lowered himself into the well, drank, and came out. Then [he saw] a dog protruding its tongue out with thirst. The man said: 'This dog has become exhausted from thirst in the same way as I.' He lowered himself into the well again and filled his shoe with water. Then he took the dog by the mouth until he had raised himself. He gave the dog some water to drink. He thanked Allah, and [his sins were] forgiven." They asked: "O Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace! Is there a reward for us in our animals?" He said: "There is a reward in every living thing." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

    The two also related that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "While a dog was walking around a well, his thirst was near to killing him. One of the prostitutes of the Banu Isra'il saw him. She took off her shoe and drew water for him with it in order to quench his thirst. [For that] she was forgiven [by Allah]."

  • Fiqh 3.104 a: Perpetual sadaqah

    The perpetual sadaqah (sadaqat ul-jariyah): Ahmad and Muslim relate that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "When a person dies [the benefit] of his deeds ends, except three: a continuous sadaqah, knowledge from which benefit is derived, or a pious child invoking Allah for him."

  • Fiqh 3.104 b: Thanking for a Good Deed

    'Abdullah ibn 'Umar reports that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Whoever seeks the protection of Allah, give him protection. Whoever asks you in the name of Allah, grant him refuge. Whoever does a good deed to you, reward him and if you do not find anything, invoke Allah on his behalf until you know that he has been rewarded." This is related by Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i with an authentic chain.

    Ashab ibn Qais reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, is reported to have said: "Whoever does not thank people, does not thank Allah." This is related by Ahmad with a trustworthy chain.

    Usamah ibn Zaid adds that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "To whom a good deed is done and who says to its doer: 'May Allah reward you with goodness,' also reaps the reward." This is related by at-Tirmizhi.

    Allah is the Most Knowing, and all praise is due to the Lord of the Worlds.

    Fiqh 3.107: Fasting (As-siyam)

    As-Siyam generally means "to abstain from something." For example, a verse in the Qur'an says: "I have vowed to the Merciful to abstain--that is, from speaking.

    What is meant here is abstaining from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn until sunset with the explicit intention of doing so (for the sake of Allah).

  • Fiqh 3.107 a: The Virtues of Fasting

    Abu Hurairah reported the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, saying: "Allah said: 'Every action of the son of Adam is for him except fasting, for that is solely for Me. I give the reward for it.' The fast is a shield. If one is fasting, he should not use foul language, raise his voice, or behave foolishly. If someone reviles him or fights with him he should say, 'I am fasting,' twice. By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the [bad] breath of the one who is fasting is better in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection than the smell of musk. The one who is fasting is happy at two times: when he breaks his fast he is happy with it, and when he meets his Lord he will be happy that he has fasted." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and an-Nasa'i. A similar version was recorded by al-Bukhari and Abu Dawud, but with the following addition: "He leaves his food, drink, and desires for My sake. His fasting is for Me... I will give the reward for it, and for every good deed, he will receive ten similar to it."

    'Abdullah ibn 'Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "The fast and the Qur'an are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: 'O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.' The Qur'an will say: 'I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.' And their intercession will be accepted." Ahmad related this hadith with a sahih chain.

    Abu Umamah reported: "I came to the Messenger of Allah and said: 'Order me to do a deed that will allow me to enter Paradise.' He said: 'Stick to fasting, as there is no equivalent to it.' Then I came to him again and he said: 'Stick to fasting."' This hadith is related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'i, and al-Hakim who classified it as sahih.

    Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the hellfire seventy years further away from his face." This is related by "the group," except for Abu Dawud.

    Sahl ibn Sa'd reported that the Prophet said: "There is a gate to Paradise that is called ar-Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection it will say: 'Where are those who fasted?' When the last [one] has passed through the gate, it will be locked." This is related by alBukhari and Muslim.

    Fiqh 3.108: Types of Fasting

    There are two types of fasting: obligatory and voluntary. Obligatory can be further subdivided into the fast of Ramadan, the fast of expiation and the fast of fulfilling a vow. Here we shall discuss the Ramadan and voluntary fasts.

  • Fiqh 3.108 a: The Fast of Ramadan

    The fast of Ramadan, according to the Qur'an, sunnah and consensus, is obligatory.

    The evidence from the Qur'an consists of the following two verses: "O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for the people before you in order for you to gain God consciousness, and, "...The month of Ramadan, during which the Qur'an was revealed, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance and the criterion; and whoever of you is resident, let him fast the month" [al-Baqarah 185].

    From the sunnah we have the following statements of the Prophet: "Islam is built upon [the following] five pillars: testifying that there is no God except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, the establishment of the prayer, the giving of zakah, the fast of Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Makkah." Talhah ibn 'Ubaidullah reported that a man came to the Prophet and said: "O Messenger of Allah, tell me what Allah requires of me as regards fasting." He answered, "The month of Ramadan." The man asked: "Is there any other [fast]?" The Prophet answered: "No, unless you do so voluntarily."

    The whole Muslim nation agrees that the fast of Ramadan is obligatory. It is one of the pillars of Islam, and if one disputes this, he cannot be called a Muslim.

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