Why The Islamic Faith Emphasizes Helping Those in Need

01 September, 2020
Q I am a student currently doing a research on the importance of zakaat. I would like to ask some questions in order to help my research. They have been placed in order of priority :Why does the Qu'aran promote the help towards the poor? Why is it considered crucial to help those in need in the islamic faith? Why was zakaat made one of the five pillars of Islam? Is it mandatory? Are there precise examples of rituals that are linked to charity?

Answer

Short Answer: 

  • Zakah is one of the 5 pillars of Islam, so it is a basic foundation in our religion.
  • It is an obligatory charity due on rich Muslims which they are commanded to give to the poor and those in need and in obedience to God and in order to help establish social justice and compassion in society.

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Hello Ronel and thank you for contacting our web site.

We wish you success in your research.

Zakah is one of the 5 pillars of Islam, so it is a basic foundation in our religion.

It is an obligatory charity due on rich Muslims which they are commanded to give to the poor and those in need and in obedience to God and in order to help establish social justice and compassion in society.

To answer your four questions:

Why does the Quran promote the help towards the poor?

1- Muslims believe that the Quran is God’s final Divine Revelation He sent to guide humanity.

He wants us to live a happy life in this world, and a happy eternal life in the Hereafter.

One of the basic teachings of Islam is that it is a community-based faith, not only an individual relation between a believer and God.

Allah (God) is a Kind and Merciful God. He wants us to be kind, caring and merciful to fellow human beings. One of the ways to express care towards others is through performing the obligation of Zakah, and also though other voluntary charity.

We believe that the poor have a right in the wealth of the rich.

There are several types of Zakah, and the basic Zakah is due on the money savings of those who have wealth. They are commanded to spend Zakah at the rate of 2.5% of their yearly savings that exceed the value of 85 grams of gold.

Why is it considered crucial to help those in need in the Islamic faith?

2- Because Islam is all about compassion and all about social justice.

Some people are born in poor families and for one reason or another they are unable to escape from the poverty trap when they mature, either due to illness, poor health conditions, poor education or any other reason.

Islam teaches us that we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, and therefore we are all brothers and sisters in humanity. It is a duty to take care of our brothers and sisters who are in need, and to spread compassion and well-being on earth.

But even those who are not born in poverty, when they advance in age, they are often not able to cover their basic expenses and are therefore entitled to the community’s care and support, through Zakah if needed.

By His Mercy and Compassion and love for His Creation, God wants us to make sure that the elderly when they are advanced in age and can no longer work or earn a living, have their basic needs covered through the help of their family or if they have no family through the care of the wider society.

And by helping those in need all of society benefits. Hence, as the poor have their basic needs covered and are not envious of the rich who spend part of their wealth to take care of them. On the other hand, when social justice is established, the rest of society lives in peace, and the crime rate usually drops significantly due to a reduced number of those who steal and commit other crimes for the sake of covering their basic needs.

Why was zakaat made one of the five pillars of Islam? Is it mandatory?

3- Yes, Zakah is mandatory, as mentioned in the introduction it is one of the 5 basic pillars of Islam.

Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said in an authentic hadith:

“Islam is built upon five: to worship Allah and to disbelieve in what is worshiped besides him, to establish prayer, to give charity, to perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the house, and to fast the month of Ramadan.” (Hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari & Sahih Muslim)

Islam is not only a faith, but a complete way of life, and for any community to thrive and live in peace, it needs social justice in practice, so that all the weak members of society are cared for.

Another dimension of Zakah on the individual level for the giver of Zakah is that it helps purify his or her wealth, and also it helps purify the human soul from stinginess and the love of wealth.

Are there precise examples of rituals that are linked to charity?

4- There are 2 ways of paying Zakah, or charity in general: either in secret or in public.

Allah tells us in the Quran that it is best to conceal charity but that both are accepted by God:

If you disclose your charitable expenditures, they are good; but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, it is better for you, and He will remove from you some of your misdeeds [thereby]. And Allah, with what you do, is [fully] Acquainted.” (Quran 2:271)

In the old days, the collection and distribution of Zakah was a centralized duty of the rulers of Muslim countries. Today, this is no longer the case in most Muslim countries. Therefore, Muslims may give their Zakah to individuals they know who are in need, with special priority to their poor relatives. Others give their Zakah through reliable charitable organizations whom they delegate to spend their Zakah on their behalf.

As mentioned above, Zakah on savings (money) is only one form of Zakah, but there are many other types, like Zakah on the produce of agricultural lands, Zakah on cattle, Zakah on gold, minerals and other types of wealth.

And Allah knows best

I hope this helps

Salam and please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Zakah and Distributive Justice

Zakah — The Spiritual Dimension

Zakah & Purifying Wealth