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- General Objectives of Zakah [ Tax ] -

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:

1. 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 security.

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 the destitute.”

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 among you.”

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 love.”

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