Imam Al-Nawawi's Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 216
The Excellence and Obligation of the Payment of Zakat

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"And perform Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and give Zakat.'' (2:43)

"And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him), and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and give Zakat, and that is the right religion.'' (98:5)

"Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it.'' (9:103)

1206.  Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "(The structure of) Islam is built on five (pillars): Testification of `La ilaha illallah' (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), that Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) is his slave and Messenger, the establishment of Salat, the payment of Zakat, the pilgrimage to the House of Allah (Ka`bah), and Saum during the month of Ramadan.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith has already been mentioned. Here it is repeated to emphasize that Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. Every Muslim who has fifty-two and a half Tola (a Tola is about 12 grams) silver or cash equivalent to it in excess of his need, and a year has passed since its possession is liable to pay it. One who has seven and a half Tola or more gold also comes in this category. It should be evaluated in terms of money and Zakat at the rate of 2.5% to be paid on it.

1207.  Talhah bin `Ubaidullah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A person with dishevelled hair, one of the people of Najd, came to the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). We heard the humming of his voice but could not fully understand what he was saying, till he approached close to the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). Then I came to know that he was asking about Islam. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: "There are five (obligatory) Salat during the day and the night." He said: "Am I obliged to perform any other (Salat) besides these?'' The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "No, but whatever you observe voluntarily.'' He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) added, "There is the Saum of Ramadan.'' The inquirer asked: "Am I obliged to do anything besides this?'' The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "No, but whatever you do out of your own free will. You may observe voluntary fasting.'' And the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) told him about the Zakat (obligatory charity). The inquirer asked: "Am I obliged to pay anything besides this?'' The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "No, but whatever you pay voluntarily out of your own free will.'' That man turned back saying: "By Allah! I will neither make any addition to this nor will I decrease anything from it.'' (Upon hearing this) the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) remarked, "He is successful if he proves truthful (to what he is saying).''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith highlights the following three points:

1. The status of some of the important obligations and voluntary prayers.

2. By mentioning practice with the precepts, it has made the fact evident that the two are inseparable.

3. It indicates the sagacious mode of preaching and invitation, and tells that ordinary people should be first of all taught the obligations of Islam and then gradually told to follow the Sunnah and Mustahabbat (desirable acts).

1208. Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) appointed Mu`adh (May Allah be pleased with him) as governor of Yemen, and at the time of his departure, he instructed him thus: "First of all, call the people to testify `La ilaha illallah' (there is no true god except Allah) and that I (Muhammad) am the Messenger of Allah, and if they accept this (declaration of Faith), then tell them that Allah has enjoined upon them five Salat during the day and night; and if they obey you, tell them that Allah has made the payment of Zakat obligatory upon them. It should be collected from their rich and distributed among their poor.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith has already been mentioned. Here it is repeated to emphasize the importance of Zakat. We learn from it that Zakat is collected from the affluent of the locality and distributed among the poor of that very locality. If there is any surplus, then that alone can be sent to the needy of other areas. In the same spirit, the amount of Zakat will be spent on the needy Muslims only and not among the non-Muslims. Alms and charity can, however, be spent on the poor of other communities. This Hadith also tells us the wisest course of invitation and preaching.

1209. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "I have been commanded to fight people till they testify `La ilaha illallah' (there is no true god except Allah) that Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) is his slave and Messenger, and they establish Salat, and pay Zakat; and if they do this, their blood (life) and property are secured except when justified by law, and it is for Allah to call them to account.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  "Except when justified by law'' means that after the acceptance of Islam, if someone commits a crime which is punishable by Hadd this will be certainly imposed on him, or her, i.e., cutting of hand in case of theft, one hundred stripes or stoning to death in case of fornication, capital punishment in retaliation for murdering an innocent person. In this Hadith the words "it is for Allah to call them to account'' means that if they are not sincere in the acceptance of Islam and would put up an appearance of Islam like hypocrites, or would commit a crime which is liable for Hadd but is somehow not detected by the Islamic court or authorities concerned, they will be taken to account for it by Allah, that is Allah will decide about them on the Day of Judgement. It is evident from this Hadith that so long as Kufr is present in this world, it is necessary to wage Jihad against it to finish it off, and so long as all the disbelievers do not openly accept Islam and adopt the Islamic way of life, Muslims are duty-bound to make Jihad against them.

1210. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: When the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) passed away, Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) was appointed as his successor (caliph). Amongst the Arabs some men apostatised. Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) resolved to fight them. `Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) said to Abu Bakr: "How can you fight them when the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) has declared: `I have been commanded to fight people till they testify La ilaha illallah (there is no true god except Allah); and if they do it, their blood (life) and property are secured except when justified by law, and it is for Allah to call them to account." Upon this Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) said: "By Allah, I would definitely fight him who makes distinction between Salat and the Zakat, because it is an obligation upon the rich to pay Zakat. By Allah I will fight them even to secure the piece of rope which they used to give to the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam).'' `Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) said: "I realized that Allah opened the heart of Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) for fighting those who refused to pay Zakat, and I fully recognized that Abu Bakr ¨(May Allah be pleased with him) was right.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith brings into prominence the excellence of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq's determination, religious firmness and deep understanding of the Islamic law. It also tells us that one who does not accept that Zakat is obligatory in Islam, is a Kafir like the one who renounces Salat. The stand taken by Abu Bakr was ultimately accepted by all the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), and this is how they unanimously agreed to wage Jihad against those who refused to pay Zakat. This unanimous consent on the issue of Zakat was based on the order of Shari`ah.

1211. Abu Ayyub (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A man said to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam): "Direct me to a deed which may admit me to Jannah.'' Upon this he (the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)) said, "Worship Allah and never associate anything with Him in worship, establish Salat, pay Zakat, and strengthen the ties of kinship.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith mentions the compassion for relatives along with the Salat and Saum which are obligatory in Islam. It indicates the importance of compassion for relation in Islam. The term `strengthen the ties of kinship' implies nice treatment of one's relatives regardless of circumstances, maintenance of contact with them and fulfillment of the requirements of relationship with them.

1212. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A bedouin came to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and said: "O Messenger of Allah! Direct me to a deed by which I may be entitled to enter Jannah.'' The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Worship Allah, and never associate anything with Him, establish Salat, pay the Zakat which has been enjoined upon you, and observe Saum of Ramadan.'' He (the bedouin) said: "By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, I will never add anything to these (obligations).'' When he turned his back, the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "He who wants to see a man from the dwellers of Jannah, let him look at him (bedouin).''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:
1. The bedouin mentioned in this Hadith was a new Muslim and for this reason the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) told him some essential obligations of Islam so that he did not feel over-burdened with exhortation. Imam At-Tabarani said: "
This Hadith and its like was addressed to bedouins who were newly -- converted to Islam. The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) told them no more than to fulfill the main obligatory acts of Islam so that they would not feel over-burdened, and therefore bored.'' Following the Divine injunctions in a gradual manner is very important. For once the hearts of the newly converted start to open to the understanding of the Divine injuctions, they will automatically start practising the optional and voluntary acts of devotion with a view to gain Allah's reward and pleasure.

2. There are two categories of people who have been granted Jannah. First, those who are called Al-`Asharah Al-Mubashsharah. They are ten most distinguished of the Prophet's followers whose entrance into Jannah was foretold by the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) himself. Second, some other persons who were given glad tidings of Jannah by the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). The bedouin mentioned in this Hadith is a case in point. The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) also declared Hasan and Hussain, the two sons of `Ali (May Allah be pleased with them), the chiefs of young-men of Jannah and also gave glad tidings of Jannah to his wives and his daughter Fatimah (May Allah be pleased with him).

1213. Jarir bin `Abdullah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I pledged allegiance to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) to establish Salat, to pay the Zakat and to have the welfare of every Muslim at heart.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith has already been mentioned and has been repeated here for its relevance to this chapter. Here the phrase "To pledge allegiance to establish Salat'' and "to pay the Zakat'' means acceptance of Islam because these are such important articles of Islam that one cannot think of Islam without them. Allegiance to them is, in other words, allegiance to Islam. It is a pledge which was taken by the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) from everyone who embraced Islam. He would also take a pledge for Jihad when there was a need for it. The third pledge is pledge of Khalifah which was taken by Khulafa Ar-Rashidun (the rightly-guided caliphs) and subsequently the Muslim rulers. These are the three pledges which are proved from the rightly-guided Muslims. The oath accepted by mystics and spiritual guides is an innovation of the later times - much after the Khair-ul-Qurun,  that is the first three generations of Muslims.

1214. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Any person who possesses gold or silver and does not pay what is due on it (i.e., the Zakat); on the Day of Resurrection, sheets of silver and gold would be heated for him in the fire of Hell and with them his flank, forehead and back will be branded. When they cool down, they will be heated again and the same process will be repeated during the day the measure whereof will be fifty thousand years. (This would go on) until Judgement is pronounced among (Allah's) slaves, and he will be shown his final abode, either to Jannah or to Hell.'' It was asked, "How about someone who owns camels and does not pay what is due on him (i.e., their Zakat)?'' He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) replied, "In the same way the owner of camels who does not discharge what is due in respect of them (their due includes their milking on the day when they are taken to water) will be thrown on his face or on his back in a vast desert plain on the Day of Resurrection and they will trample upon him with their hoofs and bite him with their teeth. As often as the first of them passes him, the last of them will be made to return during a day the measure whereof will be fifty thousand years, until Judgement is pronounced among (Allah's) slaves, he will be shown his final abode either to Jannah or to Hell.'' It was (again) asked: "O Messenger of Allah, what about cows (cattle) and sheep?'' He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "If anyone who possesses cattle and sheep and does not pay what is due on them (i.e., their Zakat); on the Day of Resurrection, he will be thrown on his face in a vast plain desert. He will find none of the animals missing with twisted horns, without horns or with a broken horn, and they will gore him with their horns and trample upon him with their hoofs. As often as the first of them passes him, the last of them will be made to return to him during a day the measure whereof will be fifty thousand years, until Judgement is pronounced among (Allah's) slaves; and he will be shown his final abode either to Jannah or to Hell.'' It was asked: "O Messenger of Allah, what about the horses?'' Upon this he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "The horses are of three types. One, which is a burden for the owner; another which is a shield, and another one which makes its owner entitled to reward. The one for whom these are a burden is the person who rears them for show or for pride or for causing injury to the sentiments of the Muslims. They will be a cause of torment for their owners. The one for whom these are a shield is the person who rears them for the sake of Allah but does not forget the Right of Allah concerning their backs and their necks (i.e., he lets a needy ride on them), and so they are a shield for him. Those which bring reward to the one who rears them in pastures and gardens are the ones that are used in the Cause of Allah (Jihad) by the Muslims. Whatever they eat from the meadows and the gardens will be recorded on his behalf as good deeds so much so that their droppings and urine will be counted for an equal number of good deeds for him. Even when they break their tying rope and every height from which they climb and every hoofprint which they leave will be counted as a good deed on behalf of the owner. When their owner leads them through a stream from which they drink, though he does not intend to quench their thirst, yet Allah would record for him the quantity (of water) of what they would drink on his behalf as good deeds.'' It was asked: "O Messenger of Allah, what about the donkeys?'' Upon this he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Nothing has been revealed to me in regard to the donkeys in particular except this one Verse of a comprehensive nature: "So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall see it.''' (99: 8,9).
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith tells us that those people who do not pay Zakat on their property will be punished with this same property which will become an anguish for them on the Day of Resurrection.

The phrase "and he will be shown his final abode, either to Jannah or to Hell'' clearly means that this would happen on the Day of Judgement and the punishment to defaulters would be given before one's entry into Jannah or Hell. If Almighty Allah will consider this punishment sufficient for a Muslim, He will send him to Jannah, otherwise He will consign him to Hell. In case he is a Muslim, he will be ultimately sent to Jannah (after suffering the punishment in Hell) otherwise, he will be sent to Hell, where he will live for ever.

The phrase "As often as the first of them passes him, the last of them will be made to return'' means that the process will be repeated again and again. Some people say that there is some alteration in the wording of this Hadith. According to them the correct wording is: "When the first camel will have passed, the last in the line will be returned on him''. This wording makes the text more orderly and evident and this is how it occurs in some of the narrations. Allah knows the truth.

In this Hadith the words "Fi sabilillah'', (for the sake of Allah, or in the Cause of Allah) have been repeated twice in connection with horses. In the first instance these words are used for noble intention. That is to fulfill humanly needs with it so that one does not have to beg them from others. In the second instance these words stand for Jihad. That is one breeds horses to make use of them in Jihad. The breeding of horses with this intention is eligible to reward, while in the former case is a means of covering one's poverty.