A Good Question Received

This came via email:

Salam,

This is the link to the content where I read that the girl can be married off without consent if she is younger than nine years old.

So again, is this true?

http://www.islamswomen.com/qa/question.php?qid=1083

Jazakallah khair.

My reply:

ASA

Thank you for your question.

The contract could be entered into, but the marriage could not be consummated (actually take place) until the girl reaches puberty. This means physical puberty, not any particular age. Of course, it varies widely among the daughters of Adam, anywhere from 8 or 9 up to 18.

The hadith is clear. She has the final decision. Children in Islam are not even legally CAPABLE of making such decisions until they reach physical puberty. And so, while a contract could be entered into between her guardian and prospective husband, it would be “on paper” only and she would have the option or “veto” once she reaches puberty before the marriage could actually begin.

Citing the Prophet’s case is weak. His spoken words are crystal clear and there is no exception given for girls under 9. While it is true that his marriage to Aisha was contracted when she was six, she only lived in his house as a child, playing with toys and being raised by his other wife. It was only when she reached maturity at age 9 (according to most narrations) that the marriage actually began in practice.

So, there are multiple possible explanations for the case of Aisha and the Prophet and there is no way that it can be regarded as contradicting the clear order spoken by Allah’s Messenger in the hadith quoted.

1) The order to seek permission before any female (virgin or otherwise) can be married may have been communicated from Allah after the time of his marriage to Aisha. Thus, that marriage would have been done within the parameters of the prevailing culture, but this was modified or restricted by the Divine Law when the rulings on this arrived.

2) The marriage to Aisha from when she was 6 until she reached maturity could have been only “on paper” – and all the narrations about what was going on fully support this – and her permission was then sought once she was legally competent to give it (at puberty) and before any consummation took place. If you read the life stories of the Prophet and Aisha, there could be no doubt in any reasonable mind that she would eagerly accept Allah’s Messenger as her husband. Moreover, the rest of their lives together are extensively documented and it is a beautiful story of love and companionship with no trace of the wicked things that many modern people conjure up upon looking at the superficial details of this story.

3) It is also possible that this is among the khususiyat of Allah’s Messenger. In such cases, the fact that he did it does not apply to others or modify rulings that he has expressed elsewhere. For example, it is agreed upon that a Muslim man may not marry more than four wives. The fact that the Prophet (sas) had nine wives at one time has no effect on that ruling.

Any scholar – no matter who they are – who says that a pre-pubescent girl can be “married” in the full sense of the word, including consummation, has erroneously enabled oppression and pedophilia and falsely attributed it to Allah’s final religion. There are some, but they are wrong. In matters like this, we refer to the inerrant texts containing Allah’s words or the Prophet’s words. As you saw in that article, the Prophet’s words on the matter are clear and unambiguous.

“The previously married woman must not be married until she is consulted. A virgin must not be married until her permission is sought.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) how is her permission given?” He said, “By her being silent.” Another narration states, “Her silence is her permission.” Yet a third narration states, “A virgin’s father seeks her permission and her permission is her remaining silent.”

We should not be surprised that even some of the greatest imams and scholars can be utterly mistaken in an individual issue. And, we should remember the famous statement of Imam Al-Awzaa’iy in this regard:

.من تتبع زلل الأئمة تزندقق.

“Whoever followed up (i.e., collected) the errors of the imams (i.e., the greatest among the scholars), became so corrupt as to be outside of Islam.”

Please feel free to comment…

The Tragedy of Zakat and Taxes

The collection of zakat on gold and silver (i.e., money) ended sometime during the caliphate of Uthman ibn Affan (ra). It continued for a while to be collected on grazing animals and agricultural produce as collectors were still assigned and sent out. The latter (cattle and agriculture) were perhaps the most important zakat properties at that time, but it seems clear that money is far and away the most important in our times.

Sadly, though it is the third pillar of Islam, is mentioned 26 times in Allah’s book and is frequently paired with prayer itself, it has been very largely neglected in our time. As an organized system the way it was instituted by Allah’s Messenger, this neglect is nearly 100%.

Even sadder than that, is that most Muslim countries and even individuals have come to accept various forms of taxation which we have adopted from the non-Muslims. These include sales tax, income tax, customs duties and other things. It is never lawful for the ruler to take the wealth of citizens in Islam without a clear evidence and reason and never under any circumstances if the funding sources instituted in the Law itself have been abandoned and not put into practice prior to levying other forms of taxation.

The Prophet (sas) said at the Farewell Pilgrimage, as recorded in Sahih Al-Bukhari:

 Your blood, your wealth and your dignity are sacrosanct among you like the sanctity of this day of yours in this month of yours and this land of yours. Let the one present deliver this message to the one absent, for the witness may deliver it to another who understands it more then he does.  فَإِنَّ دِمَاءَكُمْ، وَأَمْوَالَكُمْ، وَأَعْرَاضَكُمْ، بَيْنَكُمْ حَرَامٌ، كَحُرْمَةِ يَوْمِكُمْ هَذَا، فِي شَهْرِكُمْ هَذَا، فِي بَلَدِكُمْ هَذَا، لِيُبَلِّغِ الشَّاهِدُ الغَائِبَ، فَإِنَّ الشَّاهِدَ عَسَى أَنْ يُبَلِّغَ مَنْ هُوَ أَوْعَى لَهُ مِنْهُ

Also reported by Al-Bukhari, the Prophet (sas) said:

 I have been commanded to fight the people until they bear witness that there is no deity but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, establish the prayer and render the zakat. When they do that, their lives and property are in absolute protection from me except for the right of Islam – and their judgment is up to Allah.  أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَشْهَدُوا أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ، وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللهِ، وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلاَةَ، وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ، فَإِذَا فَعَلُوا ذَلِكَ عَصَمُوا مِنِّي دِمَاءَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ إِلَّا بِحَقِّ الإِسْلاَمِ، وَحِسَابُهُمْ عَلَى اللهِ

Note: In case any reader is not aware of these issues in Islam, the above hadith could be taken out of context. The point of this statement of the Prophet (sas) is the sanctity of the lives, wealth and dignity of individuals and that it can never be taken from them except with a specific dispensation in the Law. As for “fighting the people until they become Muslim”, we of course know from many other texts and from the life of the Prophet (sas) himself and those after him that there are other options and people can live in peace as non-Muslims under Muslim governance and many have done so in the history of this nation. However, that is not our current topic.

Aside from the general principle of the sanctity of citizen’s wealth except with a specific dispensation from the law, many of these forms of taxation were known in the time of the Prophet (sas) and have been expressly prohibited in the strongest of terms.

Some of the favorite taxes in the world today are sales taxes, income taxes and customs duties (tariffs). These are very, very forbidden in Islam – even more so if the legitimate sources of public funds have been abandoned! Once, during the lifetime of the Prophet (sas), a woman confessed to adultery and insisted on the punishment as a purification and the completion of her repentance. Eventually, the punishment was carried out. One of the Companions uttered a curse against the one being stoned. Hearing this, the Prophet (sas) said as recorded in Sahih Muslim:

Easy, O Khalid! For by the One in whose hand my soul is, she has repented such a repentance that if only the taker of maks would repent like this, even he would be forgiven!” Then, he (sas) ordered for her to be brought, he made the funeral prayer on her and she was buried.  مَهْلًا يَا خَالِدُ، فَوَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَقَدْ تَابَتْ تَوْبَةً لَوْ تَابَهَا صَاحِبُ مَكْسٍ لَغُفِرَ لَهُ»، ثُمَّ أَمَرَ بِهَا فَصَلَّى عَلَيْهَا، وَدُفِنَتْ

So, what is this maks which according to the words of our Prophet (sas) is more heinous and more in need of repentance than adultery? It is sales tax! The word was mostly used to mean small amounts that rulers would collect on every sales transaction.

It also covers customs duties and tolls on roads as these were other ways the word was used. Moreover, governments cannot take anything at all from their citizens unless:

  1. All methods ordered or allowed by the Law have been completely implemented, but are insufficient to meet a pressing need.
  2. An extraordinary situation or necessity requires the collection of additional funds. In that case additional levies could be allowed ONLY to the extent and for the period of the necessity at hand.

Even if the conditions of #2 arise, it is never permissible to jump over #1 and those must be put in place first.

All governments need sources of public funding to maintain the safety and welfare of their citizens. Islam is no exception to that. However, one of the biggest tragedies of this Ummah is that we have abandoned the methodologies commanded and permitted by Allah in favor of criminal acts which Allah has forbidden.

Every time we depart from what Allah gave us we go to something inferior in this world and in the next. Economists understand that while public funds are a necessity, there is a balance between the harms and the benefits of various methods of collecting these funds. The positives are clear: this is how government can fund public safety, defense, education and other things. The harm of most kinds of taxation is that they suppress the economy and economic activity, which in turn reduces the base for the taxes in the first place. They can also increase poverty and make life more difficult for those who have less.

Most Taxes Stifle Economic Activity

This is more pronounced the more funds are taken from people who have less. This is because if it were not taken, they would have spent it on their needs and wants. This economic activity has a ripple effect on those who provide those goods and services and on up the chain. On the other hand if money is taken from wealthier people, it has no effect on their spending and may only reduce the amount of idle wealth they have in savings.

Zakat is far superior to all modern methods of “taxation” or means by which governments collect funds for needed services from the citizenry. This is because it is only taken from “excess”. Since zakat is only due on wealth that was in one’s possession for the entire year, it is clear that it was not needed during that entire period. The focus here is on getting wealth which was “doing nothing” back out into the active economy. This is a pure benefit with no downside.

When you collect funds from people who otherwise would have spent it on their needs and wants, it is two-edged sword. Yes, you get the needed funds for public services but on the other hand you push economic activity down. Such taxes over time tend to destroy their own base and may have to be raised repeatedly as the economy slows. Because zakat is taken exclusively form excess and idle wealth, it has no such negative side-effects, in fact exactly the opposite!

 

How to Pay Zakat (Money)

Originally, Zakat was Collected in a Specific Month

As zakat was implemented by Allah’s Messenger and his righteous successors, one would not have to be concerned about “how” to pay zakat, when to pay it or to whom it should be given. The ruler’s appointee would inform everyone about all of that and come directly to receive anything due to be paid (well, OK in our age possibly electronically, but you get the idea).

You should note when reading what scholars had to say about zakat that ALL of this fiqh was written well after the original zakat commanded by Allah and implemented by His Messenger had come to an end. Thus any discussions about to whom zakat can be given would originally only be relevant to the ruler and those hired to manage the zakat. Individuals had no need of this information to fulfill this third pillar of Islam.

Absent the Original System, We Must Act on Our Own

Now, however, we as individuals are forced by necessity to take on all of these roles. We have to decide when we will assess and pay our zakat and then, since for most of us the institution of zakat is not there, we have to figure out who or what are appropriate recipients and how to deliver it to them. This is the best we can do in our current situation and it is nonetheless VERY IMPORTANT. Sadly, many of us don’t have even the basic knowledge needed to carry out this new function. It is also very easy to neglect our obligation since there are not enough reminders or discussions on the topic to keep it in our consciousness.

This is serious. Please make sure from this day that you have a plan, know how to do the calculations and are prepared to fulfill this obligation once every year. It is the third pillar of Islam and not something we can afford to ignore or be negligent about.

When Should We Pay Zakat?

Zakat was collected in a specific calendar month, except in the case of dry-able fruits and grains on which zakat was collected at harvest time. This is clear from a variety of narrations including well-authenticated ones that as late as the time of Uthman ibn Affan, there was a specific month of the year when zakat was paid by everyone. This is well established from the fact that we know collectors were sent out. Also, in several authenticated (sahih) narrations, we know that Uthman said on the minbar:

  This is the month of your zakat, so whoever has any outstanding debts should pay his debts in order to establish his true balance and pay his zakat from it.  هَذَا شَهْرُ زَكَاتِكُمْ فَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ عَلَيْهِ دَيْنٌ فَلْيَقْضِ دِينَهُ , حَتَّى تَخْلُصَ أَمْوَالَكُمْ فَتَؤَدُّوا مِنْهَا الزَّكَاةَ

What isn’t completely clear is whether this month is Al-Muharram or Ramadhan. There are narrations to support each, but nothing clear or validated enough to establish a ruling.

Muharram is the Beginning of the Year

Since most of us will be doing this by ourselves – starting from nothing as it were – we will first have to PICK which month will be our “Zakat Month”. It seems like Muharram is better supported. It also seems like the best idea since it is the beginning of the calendar year and in Ramadhan we have to give zakat al-fitr. There is already a lot of confusion among Muslims regarding zakat, many believe it is only one thing and it is done in Ramadhan, so keeping them separate by specifying Al-Muharram as the month of zakat would be most beneficial.

ِImam Ash-Shafi’i said (as reported by Al-Mawardi):

And I prefer that the ruler dispatch the collectors to arrive where they are collecting with the beginning of the new year and collect what is due. I like for that to be in the [first] month of Al-Muharram, whether it falls in winter of summer.   وأحب أَنْ يَبْعَثَ الْوَالِي الْمُصَدِّقَ فَيُوَافِي أَهْلَ الصَّدَقَةِ مَعَ حُلُولِ الْحَوْلِ فَيَأْخُذُ صَدَقَاتِهِمْ وَأُحِبُّ ذَلِكَ في المحرم وكذا رأيت السعاة عندما كَانَ الْمُحَرَّمُ شِتَاءً أَوْ صَيْفًا

So, be prepared to pay your annual zakat in the first month of the Islamic year Al-Muharram.

How Do I Know What is Due?

The main item most of us will need to look at for zakat purposes is money. If you have grazing animals, produce honey, do mining or other mineral extraction or produce crops typically dried and stored like dates, raisins or any of the grains, those things will not be addressed here and you will need to look elsewhere.

Zakat is due only on money which has been in your possession for the entire (past) calendar year. Aisha (ra) reported that the Prophet (sas) said:

 No zakat is due on any wealth until the entire year passes over it. (i.e., with it in your possession)  لَا زَكَاةَ فِي مَالٍ حَتَّى يَحُولَ عَلَيْهِ الْحَوْلُ

Reported by Ibn Majah and others and is authenticated (sahih) according to Al-Albani.

Some scholars have made the rather bizarre statement that this means that whenever you get some money, you watch it and see if it remains with you for one year. Clearly, this is one effect of the fiqh of zakat being developed after the demise of the original zakat system. How is such a thing even possible? In the normal course of life money comes and money goes. One cannot possibly tag each Dirham or each Dollar, giving each amount coming in its own “due date” after one year. That simply cannot work. In any case, there is a general principle that dirhams (or dollars) cannot be distinguished from one another. Thus, as long as one’s balance contained some amounts gotten from haraam, the entire fund is haraam to its owner. So, the issue for zakat is our balance over the year, not the dates on which this dollar or that dollar came into our possession.

So, how does this work? You must look at your balance or the total amount of money in your possession throughout the year. The lowest point of that balance represents those dollars which were in your possession throughout the year. The wisdom of this, of course, is that this represents your “surplus” since you had no need to tap into it for the whole year.

How Do I Calculate the Amount Due?

The amount due as zakat on your savings is 2.5% of the amount you owned throughout the year. As explained above, this means your minimum balance at any point throughout the year. One exception would be debts. In most cases, zakat is still due on money which has been loaned out but which you expect to be repaid or as already been repaid. So, let’s say your minimum balance was $10,000 (it doesn’t matter if it is higher at the time you are actually paying zakat at the end of the year), but you had loaned someone $5,000. This loan has either already been repaid or you anticipate that it will be repaid. You would calculate your zakat as $10,000 + $5,000 * 0.025, or $375.00.

If the amount you own at the end of the Zakat Year is more than the amount you owned continuously for a year (your minimum balance over the year), you can VOLUNTARILY pay zakat based on the year-end total. This is an extra good deed and Al-Hassan Al-Basry and others recommended it. However, it is important to understand that this is above the obligatory and so if this is once again implemented in its original form, it would not be lawful for the ruler to demand the higher amount from Muslims.

So remember, after the Hajj and after celebrating Eid Al-Fitr, start preparing to calculate and pay your zakat for the previous year. Be aware of your balance through the year and remember any low points, since the lowest is the basis of your zakat. Let’s get in the habit of reminding each other every year toward the end of Dhul-Hijjah! These are just the first baby steps in bringing this PILLAR of Islam back to life. It’s not enough but it’s a start.

 

Does Islam need to be Changed?

OK, this is part of a series of posts that I will be writing in shaa Allah.

Here’s the scenario:

  1. Something very wrong is going on frequently in one or more Muslim lands.
  2. Said wrong is also in clear violation of our Law (I mean shari’a but I don’t like using that word – later on that).
  3. We Muslims failed to do anything about these crimes in our midst for a long time, in some cases centuries. People were hurt and rights violated. The name of Islam was dishonored.
  4. It is called out as part of the ongoing attack on Islam and Muslims and paraded in the media and elsewhere with only thinly veiled inferences that “this is what Islam brought”.
  5. Most of us are quickly divided into two camps:
    1. Heads in sand. Nothing to see here. Move on. Islam is perfect. The Law is perfect and includes everything mankind needs. But, the crimes continue.
    2. Misguided reformers. Look at where Islam took us! Al-hamdu lillahi for the United Nations and all these wonderful people who have brought this to our attention. We will sign up for every program they have set up, use their terminology and methods and eradicate this horrible thing from our backward, Muslim societies.

Get the picture?

The truth is so often found between two misguided extremes.

So, those who SHOULD have explained to us what part of Islam and the Law we have failed to properly analyze, understand and implement to deal with these specific problems are mysteriously silent or off somewhere talking about every OTHER part of Islam mostly in lofty platitudes devoid of real-life application. Those with the most responsibility and accountability in this are the scholars and other social leaders.

Then, we have those who really want to improve the situation but who are quite ignorant of the Law and how it could and should address and solve these problems. Though they may never talk or even think about it explicitly, it is clear that they have come to believe that Islam is the problem and western liberalism is the solution. Others actually advocate this heresy in the open. They both run behind the western and international organizations and unknowingly make a huge contribution to the anti-Islam propaganda themselves.

Some issues of this nature which come to mind are:

  1. Huge disparities in wealth with abject poverty living alongside obscene wealth.
  2. Lack of trustworthiness in business and other areas.
  3. No “rule of law” consistency.
  4. Rampant bribery and corruption.
  5. Kleptocratic rulers stashing billions in their personal accounts.
  6. Spousal abuse.
  7. Forced marriage of very young girls.
  8. FGM.
  9. Abuse of workers of various types.
  10. Intra-familial murder ([DIS]-honor killings).

If we are really “the best nation brought forth for mankind”, how is it that so many of our lands are near the bottom among nations in matters like the above?!

We will see in each one of these cases that there is nothing lacking or in need of change or “reform” in Islam or its Law. Rather, it is our utter incompetence for centuries to:

  1. Understand the Law
  2. Understand our own reality
  3. Understand what our reality SHOULD be
  4. Analyze how – using the Law and our sound reason and intelligence – we can move ourselves and our societies from #2 to #3

The most powerful call (da’wah) we can give to the world is bringing our own affairs and societies in line with Allah’s Law. Nonetheless, this comes after our first concern which must be the Muslim victims of these ongoing crimes and transgressions.

But even worse than that is the fuel it provides for anti-Islamic propaganda. How many souls might have been guided to Islam were it not for these blemishes which are entirely our fault and our failures and shortcomings – all while we have in our possession the greatest and most complete guidance Allah has given to mankind.

Zakat – the Lost Pillar

What is Zakat?

  1. Third Pillar. Zakat is an essential part of the system of Islam. In the five pillars of Islam, it is number three. It comes immediately after belief and prayer and before both fasting Ramadhan and pilgrimage to Makka. It is a pure act of worship and obedience to Allah.
  2. Financial Worship. At the same time, it involves actions which are financial, legal, social and interpersonal. The concept of worship in Islam is quite broad.
  3. Administered. It is administered and enforced if necessary by the ruler.
  4. Wealth Redistribution. If anyone asks you if Islam advocates government-mandated and managed redistribution of wealth (a hot-button political issue in the west), the answer is, “Yes! It does.” Zakat is a huge part of that.
  5. Ownership and Rights. It is a right against the property of those required to pay it, meaning those having more than about $1000 continuously for the whole year, for example in the case of zakat on money. They have no ownership rights to the portion of their wealth which is due as zakat. It rightfully belongs to the deserving parties according to the Law. If it is not taken and put in its proper place, that would constitute a mis-allocation of wealth and a violation of rights and should be treated just as seriously as highway robbers taking the wealth of travelers or employees embezzling the wealth of businesses or government.
  6. Local First. Zakat must first be used to cover the local needs where it is collected. Then, if there is excess, it is to be transferred to the capital of the nation and from there taken to where there is ongoing need or kept in reserve.
  7. Modern Boundaries Void. Zakat is a nationwide (i.e., “Ummah-wide” if you will) obligation and system over all the Muslims in the world. So, the previous item (collection, needs assessment and distribution) needs to be executed on that level. At present, we are fragmented in small nation-states. This division is not as matters should be and it has no standing in the Law. Therefore the above procedures for redistribution according to need must happen across the Muslim world without regard for these national boundaries.
  8. Not an Individual Act. One of the many aspects of this glorious deen becoming degraded into a “religion” is that in the absence of Muslim rulers – or Muslim rulers properly implementing this third pillar of Islam, we have transformed zakat into an individual act and a voluntary charity. Even if it is still regarded as “mandatory”, without administration and enforcement the effect isn’t much different. It also doesn’t and can’t work effectively. People giving zakat individually have only limited ability to know where their funds are put to best use. This is a disaster.
  9. Current Reality not Correct. Continuing to give zakat as individuals in the absence of its correct implementation is of course correct and we must in this way make the best of a BAD situation and attempt to keep ourselves innocent before Allah as Muslim individuals. However, this must not be confused with correctly implementing the zakat which Allah ordained and his Messenger illustrated for us, which must continue to be our objective.

What is a Pillar in Islamic Terminology?

Islam is built on five pillars or fundamental supports. These are essential to Islam. They include spiritual, physical and financial action. They include acts which are individual, collective and social (interpersonal). The Prophet (sas) mentioned them in this hadith:

Islam is constructed on a foundation of five: 1) witnessing that there is no deity but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, 2) maintaining the prayer, 3) rendering the zakat, 4) pilgrimage and 5) fasting Ramadhan بُنِيَ الإِسْلاَمُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ: شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلَّا الله وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ الله ، وَإِقَامِ الصَّلاَةِ، وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ، وَالحَجِّ، وَصَوْمِ رَمَضَانَ

The precise definition of “pillar” or rukn in Islamic terminology is: something which is an essential part of something else such that its absence negates the existence of that of which it is a part.

Thus, standing at Arafat is a “pillar” of the pilgrimage. Whoever omitted this part has not made the pilgrimage. Similarly, Islam is not complete if any of its essential parts – pillars – are missing.

The Prophet (sas) is the Example

The next thing we must know is that exactly how we fulfill our obligations in Islam is according to the teachings and example of Allah’s Messenger. This is as he (sas) said about the prayer: “Pray in the manner in which you see me pray.”

When there is discordance between the reality we find ourselves in and Allah’s rulings, what is upon us is to strive our utmost to rectify that reality, not attempt the change Allah’s ruling or invent exceptions and special cases to match it instead. The practice of individual Muslims looking for recipients for their zakat and distributing it themselves is not anything brought to us by the Prophet Muhammad (sas). It may be the best we can do at a particular time, but it must not be mistaken for the zakat with which Allah and His Messenger commanded us.

Zakat in the time of the Messenger of Allah and during the righteous successors was centrally administered. There were administrators, custodians and collectors. In fact, these very workers constitute the third of the eight avenues in which Allah declared zakat funds are to be spent, meaning on their salaries. See Qur’an, At-Tauba: Verse 60.

The Prophet (sas) sent collectors locally and to outlying areas to determine what was owed by people and collect it from them. These workers have various names in the hadith such as:

jubaah (جباة): collectors
su’aah (سعاة):  agents
musaddiqeen (مصدقين):  receivers of sadaqa (charity, here referring to zakat)

We see clearly from this that zakat is to be collected, administered and distributed by those in authority in the land.

Zakat is a Right of the Recipients

Zakat is not a “charity” and it is not voluntary.  It is not left to the individual to do it, rather, the zakat of the Prophet (sas) and his righteous successors was a centrally administered system for redistribution of wealth for the good of society at large.

Furthermore, it is a RIGHT of those who need and deserve it. Allah said, speaking about the believers:

And those in whose property there is a defined right. (24) For the needy – those who ask and those who don’t.   وَالَّذِينَ فِي أَمْوَالِهِمْ حَقٌّ مَعْلُومٌ (24) لِلسَّائِلِ وَالْمَحْرُومِ

Allah mentioned the great sin of those who hoard away money, referring to that hoarded money as “kanz“.

 … And [as for] those who hoard gold and silver and don’t spend it in Allah’s way, then inform them of a painful punishment.  (وَالَّذِينَ يَكْنِزُونَ الذَّهَبَ وَالْفِضَّةَ وَلَا يُنْفِقُونَهَا فِي سَبِيلِ الله فَبَشِّرْهُمْ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ (34

(The verb for “hoard” in the above verse is derived from the same root as “kanz“.)

So, the Companions became very concerned about having any saved wealth for fear that it may fall under this threat. This was cleared up soon thereafter by the Prophet (sas) who informed them that any wealth no matter large or small, the zakat of which has been paid, is never considered “kanz“.

We understand from these two taken together that anyone who saves wealth and fails to render its zakat falls under the threat in this verse, even if the amount of wealth is not that large – as long as it is large enough to make zakat obligatory. The prophet told them:

 Once you have paid the zakat of your wealth, you have fulfilled what is upon you regarding it. And if anyone gains wealth in an illicit manner and then gives sadaqa from it, he will not have any reward in that and the sin remains. “إِذَا أَدَّيْتَ زَكَاةَ مَالِكَ، فَقَدْ قَضَيْتَ مَا عَلَيْكَ فِيهِ، وَمَنْ جَمَعَ مَالًا حَرَامًا، ثُمَّ تَصَدَّقَ بِهِ، لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ فِيهِ أَجْرٌ، وَكَانَ إِصْرُهُ عليه”

This hadith is hassan (valid) and was reported by Ibn Hibban who titled the chapter: Anything the zakat of which has been paid is not kanz. This same statement is found in many other narrations attributed to the Prophet (sas).

Although we now use sadaqa to mean voluntary giving exclusively in order to distinguish it from zakat, this is not so in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Sadaqa can in fact mean either one and is frequently used to mean the obligatory zakat.

… to be continued

 

The Deen is not a Religion

Islam is a religion, a spiritual path, a code of ethics, a political system, an economic system, a social system, a body of foundational law or “constitution” and much, much more. As such, it is very different from those things we casually know as “religions”.

Most Muslims themselves are quite confused about this issue, especially since the era of European colonialism and the final fall of what remained of the Islamic nation in the form of the Ottoman Caliphate which ceased to exist about 100 years ago.

Islam contains the solutions to all of the ills which afflict mankind – including those afflicting the Muslims themselves in the lands in which they live. And yet, most of the lands of the Muslims suffer from darkness, ignorance and oppression. This is not a surprise to any Muslim who has been paying attention to the teachings of the Prophet (sas). The problem is first and foremost the rulers in power over the Muslims.

The Prophet (sas) said:

 Imam Ahmad reported that An-Nu’man ibn Basheer (ra) said: We were sitting in the Masjid when Abu Tha’laba Al-Khushani came and said: O Basheer ibn Saad, do you know from memory the statement of the Prophet (sas) about the rulers? Hudhaifa said: I have that khutba memorized. And so, Abu Tha’laba sat down. فقد روى الإمام أحمد عن النعمان بن بشير رضي الله عنه الله، قال: كنا جلوساً في المسجد فجاء أبو ثعلبة الخشني فقال: يا بشير بن سعد أتحفظ حديث رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في الأمراء، فقال حذيفة: أنا أحفظ خطبته. فجلس أبو ثعلبة.
 Hudhaifa said: Allah’s Messenger (sas) said: Prophethood will be with you as long as Allah wills it to be and then He will remove it when He wishes to do so. Then, there will be Succession upon the path of the Prophethood. It will be for as long as Allah wills it to be and then He will remove it when He wishes to do so. Then, there will be predatory and oppressive kings and it will be for as long as Allah wills it to be and then He will remove it when He wishes to do so. Then, there will be tyrannical and dictatorial kings and it will be for as long as Allah wills it to be and then He will remove it when He wishes to do so. Then, there will be succession upon the program of Prophethood. Then, the Prophet (sas) was quiet. فقال حذيفة: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: تكون النبوة فيكم ما شاء الله أن تكون، ثم يرفعها الله إذا شاء أن يرفعها، ثم تكون خلافة على منهاج النبوة فتكون ما شاء الله أن تكون، ثم يرفعها الله إذا شاء أن يرفعها، ثم تكون ملكًا عاضًا فيكون ما شاء الله أن يكون، ثم يرفعها إذا شاء الله أن يرفعها، ثم تكون ملكًا جبرية فتكون ما شاء الله أن تكون، ثم يرفعها الله إذا شاء أن يرفعها، ثم تكون خلافة على منهاج النبوة، ثم سكت.

The above narration is sahih according to Al-Albani.

So, Islam as a system bringing its immense benefits of justice, equity and righteous leadership, lasted only between 3 and 4 decades. Then, it “stopped”. Its teachings were intact. They are protected by Allah. They continue to be available to all who seek them and we can (and will) return to the divine system which the example of the Prophet (sas) plus these thirty-some years of righteous succession manifested as an example for us.

This is further supported by the following hadith:

 Abdullah ibn Masood reported from the Prophet (sas) that he said: The millstone of Islam will turn for 35, 36 or 37 (years). If they go to destruction, it will be the same as similar ones who came before, but if they establish the deen it will flourish for seventy years.  عَنْ عَبْدِ اللهُ بْنِ مَسْعُودٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: تَدُورُ رَحَى الْإِسْلَامِ لِخَمْسٍ وَثَلَاثِينَ، أَوْ سِتٍّ وَثَلَاثِينَ، أَوْ سَبْعٍ وَثَلَاثِينَ، فَإِنْ يَهْلَكُوا فَسَبِيلُ مَنْ هَلَكَ، وَإِنْ يَقُمْ لَهُمْ دِينُهُمْ، يَقُمْ لَهُمْ سَبْعِينَ عَامًا

The above hadith is sahih according to Al-Albani.

Islam established a comprehensive system and a just state unlike any other before or since. The millstone represents this working system. It moves, it works and it produces, supplying the needs of the people.

But, it was not Allah’s decision that this would continue. The complete system of Islam continued less than 4 decades. The knowledge, however, is with us and under divine protection. Before the end of this world, it will again be manifested on this earth for all to see.

Through the centuries, Islam, or at least the “religion” part of it has survived all kinds of difficulties, but the rest of Islam has all but disappeared from the face of the earth.

The scholars of this nation have survived centuries of oppressive and tyrannical rulers. From this they learned the need to prevent “fitnah” (chaos and disorder). Great patience and wisdom was required to prevent the situation from becoming even worse. The scholars of the sunnah provided this through the ages. Unfortunately, this caution has all but squashed any real efforts in problem-solving and working through exactly HOW the foundational teachings of Islam can be applied to solve these problems. Even if the rulings of Islam in their complete form cannot be achieved at present, we must never abandon or lose the knowledge of what they are nor the desire to see them brought back to life one day.

The main obstacle to such progress is the rulers and governments. Ahlus-sunnah wal-jamaa are in agreement that rebellion against established authority is to be avoided in all but the most extreme circumstances. This is because the consequences of chaos are likely to be more extreme than the consequences of things as they are. Unjust rulers either obliterate the Law, or they filter it and apply only what doesn’t go against their interests as tyrants. Using the Shari’a only on the poor, weak or those outside of the ruling elite is not Islam, far from it, and is a sure path to destruction of a nation.

O people! What destroyed those who came before you was that when a noble person stole they left him alone, but when a weak person stole they implemented the punishment. By Allah! If Fatimah the daughter of Muhammad stole, I would cut off her hand!  أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ، إِنَّمَا أَهْلَكَ الَّذِينَ قَبْلَكُمْ أَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا إِذَا سَرَقَ فِيهِمِ الشَّرِيفُ تَرَكُوهُ، وَإِذَا سَرَقَ فِيهِمِ الضَّعِيفُ أَقَامُوا عَلَيْهِ الْحَدَّ، وَايْمُ اللهِ لَوْ أَنَّ فَاطِمَةَ بِنْتَ مُحَمَّدٍ سَرَقَتْ لَقَطَعْتُ يَدَهَا

(Reported by Muslim and Bukhari)

But even this dire circumstance we find ourselves in is no justification for completely eliminating even DISCUSSION of these principles as appears to currently be the case. If we don’t analyze and understand what is upon us, how will we ever be able to implement it?

If Islamic scholars cannot even investigate, speak and debate these ideas freely in their current situation then it is a fardh kifaya on those who can to migrate to wherever then can engage in such for the betterment of this Nation.

Reviving true Islam is not about empty claims and raising banners. An oppressor in the name of Islam is no better than an oppressor in the name of Nationalism or any other forms of “jahiliya” current in our world today.

Rather it is about looking at real problems we face and the many ways our social, political and economic structure have deteriorated since those glorious decades with the Prophet and the 30 years following his departure (sas) when Islam was still working.

 Safina (ra) narrated: Allah’s Messenger (sas) said: Succession in my nation will be for 30 years, then kingdoms after that. Then, Safina said: Count the times of Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali. And we found that to be 30 years.Narrated by Ahmad and Al-Arua’oot rated it hassan (valid). عن سَفِينَةُ رضي الله عنه، قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: الْخِلاَفَةُ فِي أُمّتِي ثَلاَثُونَ سَنَةً، ثُمّ مُلْكٌ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ. ثُمّ قَالَ سَفِينَةُ: امْسِكْ عَلَيْكَ خِلاَفَةَ أَبي بَكْرٍ، ثُمّ قَالَ: وَخِلاَفةَ عُمَرَ وَخِلاَفَةَ عُثْمانَ، ثُمّ قَالَ لي: امسِكْ خِلاَفَةَ عَلِيّ قال: فَوَجَدْنَاهَا ثَلاَثِينَ سَنَةً. رواه أحمد وحسنه الأرناؤوط

This blog is dedicated to looking into the ways in which Islam really does contain the solutions to all of our problems as a nation, but how we have failed to recognize and act upon them.

I ask Allah that this may represent some contribution to the betterment of this Ummah, to keep my intention sincere and to overlook any mistakes I may make in the process. And only Allah can bring success.

Qur’an Translation/Tafsir Now On-Line

My book which includes a new translation of Al-Fatiha and Al-Baqarah along with precise tafsir also in English, recently published by Dar Al-Maiman Publications, is now available. It is under the three links on the main menu:

Introduction
Al-Fatiha
Al-Baqarah

Notice that the footnote numbers are highlighted in blue. Click on the number to read the footnote. At the bottom of each footnote, there is a blue “up arrow”. Click on that to return to where you were in the main text.

Please provide feedback citing Sura and verse number via comments to this post.

Jazaakum Allahu khairan