The Zakah (tax) is a means of purification. It purifies the
character of the wealthy individual from the stain of selfishness that, if left unchecked, can bring ruin to the social fabric
by making society constricted and egotistical. It also purifies the wealth by taking from it the right of the poor. If this
right were not taken from it, the wealth would become bereft of all blessings. Zakah also purifies all the members of society,
rich and poor, by removing the causes of social strife and discord.
Zakah causes an increase of wealth:
It elevates the social standing of the wealthy by cultivating within the wealthy person a sense of tranquility and a kind
heart, because doing good is one of the greatest reasons for contentment of the heart. It also develops the personality
of the poor person by providing for him a sense of solidarity with others in society.
2. It increases wealth and
allows it to be blessed. The apparent decrease in the wealth of the affluent is more than offset by the social stability
and security that circulating this wealth provides for society.
3. Zakah is an important means of providing social
Islam refuses to allow individual members of society to be denied the basic needs of life, like food,
clothing, and shelter. It is necessary that these things are available to all members of society. Allah says:
“In their wealth is a clear right for the beggar and
4. It narrows the gap between the rich and the poor. Islam recognizes human nature.
People have a natural desire to possess things. Islam also recognizes that people will not possess things equally, because
people have different circumstances and abilities. Nevertheless, Islam puts regulations on the acquisition of wealth to keep
the wealthy people from going to excess and to prevent the poor people from becoming ruined by their poverty or forced into
deviant, destructive behavior on account of jealousy and hatred.
The Zakah tax is an important way of realizing this
objective. Allah says:
“What Allah has bestowed upon His Messenger from the people of the towns is for Allah,
His Messenger, the kindred, the orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer so that it may not merely circulate between the wealthy
The Zakah tax provides a minimum limit for charitable spending. It is by far not the maximum.
It is the absolute minimum that is required as a religious duty from those who possess wealth. Islam encourages everyone to
give in charity as much as they can. Allah says:
“You will never attain piety until you spend of what you