الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي حفِظ سنةَ حبيبِه بالفقهاء العاملين، والشيوخِ العارفين، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدٌى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر. قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم الإسلام أن تشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وأن محمدا رسول الله، وتقيم الصلاة وتؤتي الزكاة، وتصوم رمضان، وتحج البيت إن استطعت إليه سبيلا
The Messenger of Allah said, “Islam is to bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to establish the prayer, pay the zakat, fast Ramadan and make Hajj to the House if you are able to do so.” As every Muslim knows – this deen is built on five. They are the fundamental acts of this deen, the deeds that make us Muslim. After the Messenger of Allah described Islam thus, Jibril asked,
فَإِنْ فَعَلْتُ هَذَا فَأَنَا مُسْلِمٌ
“If I do this, then I am a Muslim?” The Prophet replied, “Yes.” There can be no Islam without these elements. Without them, it is simply an empty husk. These elements must be put into practice, and not just at a personal level as so many assume, but at a communal one. For, while all these actions are individual obligations, they are not private acts. Their perfection and completion, and indeed in some cases their validity, relies on the presence of jama‘a and community. The shahada, the testimony of faith, must be witnessed by others to be valid and binding, the prayer must be established, not just done, and that implies mosques, public adhans and congregations. And the fast of Ramadan begins with a confirmed sighting of the moon by at least two people, and that is then transmitted to a people by their leadership. And as for hajj, although it is the most personal and individual journey anyone can make, it is also the biggest gathering of humankind in any one place at any one time. It is as communal an event as they come. All of these pillars, despite the disputes over the sighting of the moon, ostensibly appear to largely be in order. All Muslims say the shahada, and there are more mosques than ever in the world. And they are clearly well-attended, as this Jumua demonstrates. And there have never been more people trying each year to go on the Hajj. And as for Ramadan, it is rare indeed to find a Muslim that does not fast. Indeed, there are more who fast than pray.
So from this, it would appear that the deen is in fine fettle and good health. But you will have noticed that I only mentioned four pillars here, and that one of them is missing. That pillar is zakat. Many will think that zakat too is in rude health, with dozens of zakat organisations collecting and distributing, and meeting our zakat needs. But they would be wrong. True zakat is not just lacking in the present era, it is almost completely missing. Indeed, the fundamentals of zakat are no longer known to many. And by that, I do not mean the finer details, such as the level of nisab or the types of possession that are included or exempted. No, I mean the absolute basics – what it is due on, and those who may collect it and those to whom it may be distributed.
But before we even get to its basics, we must first address its importance, for zakat has come to be marginalised in many people’s eyes. And that is because of their perception that it is not really an act of worship in the same way as the other pillars – it is more a tool of social cohesion and welfare. It is simply a form of charity or tax, and because so much of the role of providing welfare is done by the state, which already taxes our incomes considerably, then the need for zakat is largely nullified. So the thinking goes.
Zakat is not just missing in practice, it is missing from many people’s perceptions of Islam. If someone does not pray or does not fast, they consider him to be skirting of the edge of Islam, but if he does not pay zakat, they shrug as if it is not a big deal. This is due to the modern perception of Islam as a religion, and the modern tendency to consider ibadat and muamalat as two fundamentally separate categories, one relating to our relationship with God and the other solely to our relationship to other people. Zakat appears on the surface to fall into the latter category and does not seem to be an act of worship in the same way as prayer, fasting or hajj, and so it is not afforded the same degree of religious importance.
But zakat is an act of ibada, just as much as the others, as it is a right due to Allah. Worship is not simply done with words and motions, it is done with all that you have and all that you own. Allah says,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ اشْتَرَى مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ
the translation of which is, “Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their wealth in return for the Garden.” Both our bodies and our wealth can be the cause of our entering the Garden, and not just in the context of jihad.
And secondly, this perceived separation between ibadat and muamalat does not exist. For the true mu’min, there is no ibada without mu’amala and no mu’amala without ibada. They are inseparable and indivisible. Our entire lives are opportunities to worship and with each act of worship, we interact and engage with aspects of our Lord’s creation. This deen is no religion, it is a life-transaction. It is not something added to our lives to make it more worthwhile, it is the way we go through life. The deen is the journey, and so guidance is provided by our Lord for every step of the way, for every situation in which we find ourselves, every problem we encounter, even the most mundane. Marriage, business, play – they are all chances to increase in nearness and knowledge of our Lord.
Zakat is the bridge between the two to help us better understand the way our Lord has made this world. It is given the term ibada but is clearly muamala. It is paired throughout the Book of Allah with salat/ prayer but clearly shares as much in common with business and the acquisition and distribution of wealth. It is the means to the purity of your wealth and the key to the acceptance of your worship. Ibn Abbas said,
وقال: وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَاةَ، فمن أقام الصلاة ولم يؤت الزكاة لا تقبل له صلاة
“Allah says, ‘Establish the prayer and pay the zakat’, so if anyone establishes the prayer without paying the zakat (he owes), Allah will not accept his prayer.”
Zakat is the key to the well-being of the individual, and the key to the well-being of any group of Muslims, for it is the glue that binds them. And its absence is the primary reason for our weakness today as an umma. So we must recover it in all its glory and majesty. And we start this process first by reminding ourselves of its importance and relevance, and ridding ourselves of our reluctance and objections.
Many people are neglectful about their zakat due to a fear of poverty and loss of provision. They are already paying a lot in taxes and bills and consider zakat to be an extra tax piled on top of the others. This betrays not just their lack of understanding of zakat, but their lack of understanding of their own wealth and where it comes from. They consider their wealth their own, their right, the fruits of their considerable labour, and so begrudge anything that is taken from it. But forget that it all belongs to Allah, and every part of it is His by right should He so wish it and command it. Allah says,
وَلَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الاَرْضِ
the translation of which is, “Everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to Him.” But despite it all belonging to Him, He only demands of you the smallest portion, one fortieth, two and a half percent, and only demands it of your standing wealth, wealth that has remained with you unspent for a full year, surpassing a certain minimum threshold, twenty dinars or eighty-five grams in the case of gold. And the taking of this wealth does not diminish you or what is in your hands, but instead increases you. It purifies it hence the name zakat. It is like your wealth is a rough diamond and zakat cuts and polishes it until it becomes a lustrous stone that is actually worth something. The Prophet said,
مَا نَقَصَ مَالُ عَبْدٍ مِنْ صَدَقَةٍ
“A person’s wealth has never been decreased by sadaqa (i.e. zakat).” On the contrary, it becomes filled with baraka and increase, unlike money which is invested usuriously. Allah says,
يَمْحَقُ اللَّهُ الرِّبَا وَيُرْبِي الصَّدَقَاتِ
the translation of which is, “Allah obliterates riba but makes sadaqa grow in value!” And that is because usury encourages hoarding and stagnation while zakat encourages movement and spending. And it is only when wealth moves and circulates throughout a society that it has a positive and healthy effect. If it is all gathered in one place or only circulated among a tiny segment of the population, then the rest of society withers up and dies and society collapses, as we are witnessing in the present day. And when that happens, there will not be winners and losers, there will just be losers. Their usurious wealth will not protect or insulate them, it will simply vanish away, given that it has no real substance or reality. As it is money created out of nothing, it will disappear back into nothing, It will be obliterated. Their wealth in this world will be gone and they will have no stores of wealth in the Next, while those who paid zakat will keep what they had in this world and have storehouses of wealth in the Next. And their communities and societies will be protected and insulated against the storms that are to come. We ask Allah to make our community one such community, and place us at the forefront of restoring zakat to its rightful place, thereby rebuilding the edifice of Islam.
أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم
الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين. أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته.
I mentioned in the first khutba that zakat is missing at two levels, not only has it been relegated from many people’s minds as being an essential part of the deen, but even when it is done, it is not done correctly. The basics of it are disregarded. It is often treated as just another form of charity, albeit an obligatory one. And hence those who collect it are charity organisations. The only difference between it and conventional voluntary sadaqa is which box you tick. And then those charity organisations use it to fund their charitable projects – the building of mosques, the establishment of faith schools, the running of orphanages, or they buy food, medicine and blankets with it and send it to war-zones abroad and other areas of extreme poverty.
Firstly, zakat should first be distributed locally before being sent further afield. When the Messenger of Allah sent Mu‘adh ibn Jabal to the Yemen to oversee the collection of zakat, he told him to take zakat from their wealthy and give it to their poor. In other words, the wealth was to be distributed in the same locality in which it is collected. It is only when there is no one who needs it there, that is exported.
Secondly, Allah tells us in the Quran,
إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاءِ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَاِبْنِ السَّبِيلِ فَرِيضَةً مِنَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
the translation of which is, “Zakat is only for: the poor, the destitute, those who collect it, reconciling people’s hearts, freeing slaves, those in debt, spending in the Way of Allah, and travellers. It is a legal obligation from Allah. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.The important word is innamā – ‘only’ – no-one outside the categories mentioned may be given it. These eight categories are the only categories to whom zakat may be given. It must be given to them directly, and cannot be used for projects on their behalf unless they have first been granted possession of it and then given it back to be used for said project. And fī sabīli-llāh – in the Way of Allah means jihad, battle with physical weapons, not education, not da‘wa, not halal business, not any of these other things that might be termed jihad in the wider sense of the word. This was the consensus of the four schools – and a consensus cannot be overturned by any level of qiyās – analogy, no matter how logical it may seem.
And finally, these organisations are self-appointed, no one gave the right to collect zakat. But the ‘āmilīna ‘alayhā – those who collect it – in the ayat are always appointees – put into place by the Bayt al-māl, in other words by the leader of the Muslims. Such organisations are not themselves valid recipients of zakat and have no right to accept it from anyone. They are misappropriating the funds of well-intentioned Muslims and preventing them from fulfilling their obligation correctly. The majority of those who do this are acting with the best intentions, but their actions are misdirected and are creating confusion and muddying the waters. For zakat to done correctly, the correct channels must be followed. Not just anyone can take on the role of collection and distribution, it is a function of governance, of leadership. It is not just given, it is taken. There is a fundamental difference. In surat at-Tawba, Allah says,
خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِمْ بِهَا
the translation of which is, “Take sadaqa from their wealth to purify and cleanse them.” According to the mufassirun, the word ṣadaqa in this aya refers specifically to zakat, and the Prophet is being addressed in his capacity as leader of the Muslims, not in his capacity as Messenger. So this instruction is directed at every Muslim leader. This was the understanding of Sayyidina Abu Bakr, and so when the tribes who had paid zakat to the Prophet refused to pay it to him, he said,
والله لأقاتلن من فرق بين الصلاة والزكاة فإن الزكاة حق المال والله لو منعوني عناقاً كانوا يؤدونها إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لقاتلتهم على منعها
“By Allah, I will fight anyone who makes a distinction between the prayer and zakat. Zakat is the right which is due on wealth. By Allah, if they refuse me even so much as a young billy goat they used to pay to the Messenger of Allah, I will fight them for it!” He recognised, even when others did not, how fundamental zakat was to the welfare of the Muslim umma, and was prepared to put everything on the line to ensure its survival in its correct form. He did not simply leave it up to their conscience, he insisted on them giving it directly to him and his representatives. And that is the reality of zakat, it is taken and distributed by the authorities, not given and distributed by individuals. This was the understanding of the great men of this umma and is the position of all four of the madhhabs. Imam Ahmad said, “The khalifa alone has the authority and responsibility to collect and distribute zakat, whether by himself or through those he appoints, and he has the authority and responsibility to fight those who refuse to pay it.”
And it applies just as much to hidden wealth, in other words money, as to apparent wealth, namely crops and livestock, as is proven by the statement of Umar ibn al-Khattab,
خُذ من المسلمين من أربعين درهما درهما…
“Take from the Muslims out of every forty dirhams one dirham.” He commands his zakat collectors to ‘take’ people’s money from them. The only time you are permitted to distribute zakat yourself is when the leadership is unjust and cannot be trusted. If the leadership has a fair system of collection and distribution, then whatever you distribute yourself before it has been taken is disregarded and considered to be nothing more than voluntary sadaqa. Your zakat is still owing, as has been made clear by the great Hanafi faqih, Ibn Sahl as-Sarakhsi.
So an essential aspect of zakat can only be fulfilled with leadership. That leadership is clearly lacking in the modern era, the khilafa has been gone for the better part of a century, but that does not stop us restoring the correct forms. This deen did not start with a massive state with tens of millions of people under one cetral authority, it started with a single community in a single location. And that community had a leader. That is the only way for a communtiy to be a community – to have a leader. So, here, the Muslim community of this mosque, and, indeed, we hope, the community of this city, have a leader whom we entrust with the collection of zakat. When everyone who owes zakat goes to him and lets him take their zakat from them, following the same pattern as that followed by the first umma, that is when we will truly understand what it means to be a jamaat. Great things start small and the way to restore this deen is not through some grandiose idea of khilafate imposed from above but by putting into practice the patterns upon which this great umma was formed and which helped give it the impetus and brotherhood to flower and bloom in the manner that it did. We ask Allah to make us a community upon the pattern of the first community and restore zakat amongst us so that our glorious deen can once again be made whole.
إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً.
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وعن أم المومنين عائشة التي أمرنا الله في سورة النور أن ندافع عنها، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ، وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.
رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.
إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.