Ramadan and Zakat have become synonymous over the years. Ramadan has become the Zakat season and many people’s Zakat year-end falls within Ramadan – intentionally or unintentionally. What we typically see is a spike in the interest in Zakat in Ramadan and then remote silence on Zakat until the next Ramadan. The truth is, Zakat is a year-round activity. Technically and legally, Zakat is a 2.5% payment. But Zakat as a pillar espouses so much more than just a payment. Zakat is about empathy, purity of one’s earnings and wealth, spiritual purity, community togetherness, economic development and mutual growth.
Zakat continues, all year long as every transaction occurs, there is a direct implication with one’s Zakat. Our income and expense have a bearing and connection with Zakat. Every investment in any time of the year has a Zakat implication. Zakat teaches us about budgeting, managing our wealth and keeping a record of our finances. Zakat teaches us to be on top of our debts and to ensure that our dealings are transparent. Zakat lives beyond Ramadan.
Beyond the 2.5% monetary payment, Zakat instils empathy and a desire of wellbeing for others. This feeling and emotion sprouts at the time of paying Zakat and blossoms all year round after one’s Zakat payment. Amongst many things, Zakat is about caring for one another, giving preference to others, caring for others and well-wishing for others.
Zakat continues, as Zakat is also about the purity of one’s wealth. Zakat teaches us to earn that which is pure. Lawful wealth earnt with one’s labour and sweat has a purity greater than 24 carat gold. The Prophet of Allah told us that Allah is pure, and He only accepts that which is pure (Sahih Muslim).
Zakat continues, as Zakat encourages us to live a pure life, a life of integrity, honesty, trustworthiness, fairness and well-wishing. Zakat is about purification of the soul, elimination of the demons that creep into the heart and removal of the animalistic traits that we have. Zakat continues, as we seek to reduce greed, gluttony, pride, lust, and wrath that have corroded our souls. Zakat continues, because we purify ourselves continuously all year round with belief in the Oneness of Allah, that He alone is the Provider, Sustainer and Cherisher.
Zakat continues, as Zakat is about a society coming together and community togetherness. Zakat teaches us to prefer others over ourselves all year. Zakat is about building a positive society, conscious of Allah and economically stable. This is a continuous effort of policy making, strategising, coming together more often, building a strong network, building unity and oneness, complementing each other’s efforts and seeking the welfare of each other.
Zakat continues, as Zakat fosters annual economic growth and is very much connected to the economy. Zakat is income for the beneficiary, and eventually income for businesses who sell goods and services to these beneficiaries. The cash flow of Zakat circulates in the entire economy throughout the year, adding value to every participant in the chain.
As such, Zakat is more than just 2.5%. The technical and legals of it maybe a 2.5% calculation, but the secrets of Zakat live and blossom far beyond 2.5%. The impact of Zakat and the dialogue with Zakat occurs year-round.
By Mufti Faraz Adam, NZF Worldwide