Zakat or Cleansing Charity
The Quran stresses very heavily on “giving”. The truth of the matter is that nature that God has created is a “giving” nature. This is because the Creator of nature has infinite generosity. Just imagine, you plant one plum seed and a whole tree grows out of the ground giving you thousands of plums, not to mention the shade it creates, the oxygen it produces, the beauty it provides and even if it dies, it provides you with firewood! This is how giving nature is. On the other hand those who are stingy always want to find a way not give to charity. This is not a beautiful aspect of creation and those who are stingy never wish to publicize their stinginess because deep down they know it is not a natural instinct. Since, we are part of God’s creation and belong to nature we also must give to charity. This act of giving cannot be forced upon someone and has to be an inspiration from God. Charity should be given willingly, spontaneously and with an open heart. God has called the minimum act of charity Zakat which means “Cleansing” charity.
Money that we earn comes from different sources. Some of us work for companies or the government, we own a business or we have rental properties or buy and sell commodities. In all these different types of work that we perform going after God’s bounty, we may not be 100% equitable and God knows it. He therefore, has decreed for us the Cleansing charity, by which our earnings are cleansed. This is only beneficial for us since it purifies our worship of God, and what a better reward than that.
As I mentioned above this act of giving is a business that never fails. Its dividend is infinite and God will repay us manifold, both in this world as well as the Hereafter where the real life is. The following last five verses of Sura 92 describe the inspired charity giver.
92: 01 – By the night as it gets dark.
92: 02 – By the day as it gets bright.
92: 03 – By Him, who created the male and female.
92: 04 – Your works are various kinds.
92: 05 – As for the one who is charitable and righteous.
92: 06 – Who upholds the scripture.
92: 07 – We will direct him towards happiness.
92: 08 – But the one who is stingy and arrogant -
92: 09 – - and rejects the scripture.
92: 10 – We will direct him towards misery.
92: 11 – His money will never help him, once he falls.
92: 12 – It is Us who guide.
92: 13 – To Us belong the last, as well as the first.
92: 14 – I have warned you of a blazing Hell.
92: 15 – Burning therein are the wicked.
92: 16 – Who disbelieved and turned away.
92: 17 – Avoiding it is the righteous
92: 18 – Who gives from his money in order to cleanse it.
92: 19 – He wants nothing in return.
92: 20 – He seeks only the face of his Lord, The Exalted.
92: 21 – And he will soon be pleased.
I am therefore replacing all “obligatory charity” in my Quran translation to “cleansing charity”.