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The Best Explanation of What Zakah is

What are the benefits of giving? We always hear that “when you give, you receive.” Zakah is actually referred to as alms to the poor and needy, or charity. Generally, it is a small percentage, perhaps two and a half percent. Allah calls it “habbah” (a seed).

Allah says:

The example of those who spend in the good cause of Allah is like the example of a seed. (Quran 2:261)

So I want to ask you, when Allah asks you to pay your zakah, what percentage is it? Perhaps two and a half percent, if there is farming or mining…, maybe the rules do change slightly but let’s speak about the general public.

When you eat fruit, what percentage of the fruit is a seed? Say I’m eating an apple, how much of the apple do I eat? Ninety eight percent, ninety seven and a half percent, two and a half percent…

What do I do with it? Well if I’m sharp enough, I’ll give it back to where it comes from (a tree, a farm)…

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So if I could be bothered to put the seed back into the soil to look after it, it will grow.

Who ate the apple? You ate the apple. The whole apple? Yes you ate the whole apple, but you left the small seed and you put it back into the earth.

What happened? Allah through His power caused that to grow and to give you how many apples? Thousands! You now have thousands of apples, but it started off with one apple.

The same applies to any other fruits.

Look at the pears subhanAllah! You have the pear, you ate all of it, but what left was just the seed.

The same applies to your wealth. If you want, when you give your charity, you ate your wealth. You ate all of it, what you gave was a small seed. Allah says “it is the example of a seed”. It’s so insignificant, two and a half percent is so small, give it.

It is actually meritorious to give more than that. And what will happen? It will go down, and as you water it, with good character good conduct… Allah says:

Don’t ever destroy your charities by bragging and being foul-mouthed. (2:264)

Be good and Allah will bless you in a million ways. You find the tree will grow and you will have lots and lots of wealth.

This is the example that we gave to the children, and I am letting you know that when you sow that seed by giving, you shall receive much more than you gave by the will of Allah.

So let this be a year of giving. Give as much as you can, and continue even beyond this year for indeed you will reap much more than you have sown by the will of Allah.

About Dr. Mufti Menk
Dr. Mufti Ismail Menk is a leading global Islamic scholar born and raised in Zimbabwe. He studied Shariah in Madinah and holds a Doctorate of Social Guidance from Aldersgate University. Mufti Menk’s work has gained worldwide recognition and he has been named one of “The Top 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” since 2010.