Thursday, August 23, 2012

Zakāh In The Islamic Jurisprudence

Zakāh in the Islamic Jurisprudence

By Sayyid Sabiq

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-`ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam is His Messenger.

Zakāh or alms tax can be defined as that portion of a man’s wealth which is designated for the poor. The term is derived from the Arabic verbal root meaning “to increase.”; “To purify and to bless.” It finds its origin in Allāh’s command to: “Take sadāqah (charity) from their property in order to purify and sanctify them” (at-Tawbah, 9: 103). That is why this kind of sadaqah is called Zakāh, for by paying it; one is aspiring to attain blessing, purification, and the cultivation of good deeds. 

Taking into account its very nature, it is no wonder that zakāh constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam. It is associated with Solat in eighty-two Qur`anic verses. Allāh, the Exalted One, prescribed it in His Book (The Qur`an), His Messenger corroborated it by his (Sunnah), and the community (ummah) by consensus upholds it. Ibn `Abbas (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that when the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) sent Mu`az Ibn Jabal (radhiyallāhu`anhu) to Yemen (as its governor), Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said to him: “You are going to a people who are People of the Scripture. Invite them to accept the Shahādah: that there is no god but Allāh and I am His Messenger. If they accept and affirm this, tell them that Allāh, the Glorious One, has enjoined five prayers upon them during the day and night. If they accept that, tell them also that He has enjoined sadaqah upon their assets which will be taken from the rich of the (Muslim) community and distributed to the poor. If they accept that, refrain from laying hands upon the best of their goods and fear the cry of the oppressed, for there is no barrier between Allāh and it.” 

At-Tabarāni relates in Al-`Awsat and as-Saghir, on the authority of `Ali that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam said: “Allāh has enjoined upon rich Muslims a due to be taken from their properties corresponding to the needs of the poor among them. The poor will never suffer from starvation or lack of clothes unless the rich neglect their due. If they do, Allāh will surely hold them accountable and punish them severely.” According to at-Tabarāni: “It was reported only by Thābit Ibn Muhammad Az-Zahid (radhiyallāhu`anhu).” Of Thābit’s credibility, al-Hafiz in turn says: “Thābit (radhiyallāhu`anhu) was an honest and trustworthy person. Al-Bukhari and others related from him, and the rest of the narrators in the chain are considered as accepted authorities.” 

In the early days of Islam at Makkah, no limit or restriction was placed on the amount to be donated, for that decision was left to the individual Muslim's conscience and generosity. In the second year of hijrah, according to the widely known authorities, both the type and the quantity of zakāh revenues were determined, and detailed illustrations were provided. 

At-Tawbah, 9: 103 authorizes the Prophet, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), to take either a stipulated amount of alms from the believers' holdings in the form of The Obligatory Zakāh, or a voluntary, unstipulated amount (zakāh of tatawwul). In this ayah, “purify” means to purify them from stinginess, greed, and meanness, and a lack of remorse toward the poor and the wretched. To sanctify them is to raise them in esteem through good deeds and blessings so that they will be worthy of happiness both now and in the afterlife. 

In reference to the life hereafter, Allāh reveals: “Lo! Those who keep from evil will dwell amid gardens and water springs, taking that which their Lord gives them. For they were before doers of good. They used to sleep but little of the night, and in the hours of the early dawn they prayed for forgiveness.... In their wealth, the beggar and the outcast had due share” [Ad-Dhariyat, 51: 15-19]. Allāh views beneficence and righteousness as exclusive qualities of the pious. It is because of their beneficence that they pray at night and ask Allāh’s forgiveness at dawn as a way of worshipping and approaching Him. Their beneficence is likewise in their giving to the needy their share of mercy and sympathy. 

Allāh further confirms: “And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends of one another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, they perform prayer and pay the zakāh, and they obey Allāh and His Messenger. Upon them, Allāh will have mercy” [At-Tawbah, 9: 71]. 

Such are the people blessed by Allāh and given His mercy-- those who believe in Him, who take care of each other through support and love, who exhort fairness and restrain lewd behavior, who have strong ties with Allāh through prayer, and who strengthen their mutual relations through zakāh. 

Finally, these people, as reflected in Surah Al-Hajj, 22: 41, are: “Those who, if we give them power in the land, perform prayers and pay zakāh, and enjoin kindness and forbid inequity.” Giving zakāh is, therefore, one of the reasons for which the righteous are given authority on earth. 

Abu Kabshah Al-Anmari narrated that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), said: “I swear upon three (things) and ask you to memorize my words: Sadaqah taken from a property never decreases it; a man who suffers injustice and is patient with it, Allāh  will grant him strength; a man who starts begging, Allāh  will cause him to be poor.” Recorded by At-Tirmidzi.

Abu Hurairah (radhiyallāhu`anhu) related that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), said: “Allāh receives charity by His right hand, and then He causes it to grow for each of you. Just as you raise a horse, colt, foal, or young weaned camel, so that morsel becomes as large as the Mount of Uhud.” Recorded by Ahmad and At-Tirmidzi (and the latter graded it sahih).

Of this hadith's content, Waki' says: “This is sanctioned by the Qur'an: 'Do they not know that it is Allāh  alone who can accept the repentance of His servants and is the (true) recipient of whatever is offered for His sake - and that Allāh  alone is an acceptor of repentance, a dispenser of grace?' [At-Tawbah, 9: 104]. ‘Allāh deprives usurious gains of all blessing, whereas He blesses charitable deeds with manifold increase.' (Al-Baqarah, 2: 276).” 

Ahmad related, with a sound chain of narrators, that Anas bin Mālik (radhiyallāhu`anhu) said: “A man from the tribe of Tameem came to the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), and said: ‘O Messenger of Allāh! I have plenty of property, a large family, a great deal of money, and I am a gracious host to my guests. Tell me how to conduct my life and how to spend.’ The Messenger of Allāh , (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), replied: ‘Pay zakāh out of your property, for truly it is a purifier which purifies you, and be kind to your relatives, and acknowledge the rights of the poor, neighbors, and beggars’.” 

It was reported from `Aishah (radhiyallāhu`anha) that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), said: “I swear upon three things: Allāh does not equate one who has a portion in Islam with one who does not. The portions of Islam are three: prayer, fasting, and zakāh. If Allāh takes care of a man in this world, He will take care of him on the Day of Judgment. If a man likes a group of people, Allāh will certainly include him among them. As for the fourth, if I swear on it, I hope I will not commit a sin: that if Allāh conceals a man's sin in this world, He will certainly not expose him on the Day of Judgment.” 

At-Tabarāni related in Al-`Awsat, that Jabir Ibn `Abdullah (radhiyallāhu`anhu) reported: “A man said: ‘O Messenger of Allāh! What will be the gains for a man who pays zakāh on his assets?’ The Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), said: ‘For one who pays zakāh on his assets, he will be removed from the evil in them’.” 

On the same subject, Al-Bukhari and Muslim relate that Jabir Ibn `Abdullah (radhiyallāhu`anhu) reported: “I gave my allegiance to the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), that I will establish solāh and zakāh, and I will give advice to every Muslim.” 

Allāh says: “O you who believe! Most surely many of the doctors of law and the monks eat away the property of men falsely and turn them from Allāh 's way; and as for those who hoard treasures of gold and silver and do not spend them for the sake of Allāh --warn them of grievous sufferings [in the life to come]. On the Day when that [hoarded wealth] shall be heated in the Fires of Hell and their foreheads and their sides and their backs branded with it, [it will be said to them:] 'These are the treasures which you have hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to accumulate!' [At-Tawbah, 9: 34-35].” 

Allāh also says: “And they should not think--they who variously cling to all that Allāh have granted them out of His bounty--that this is good for them. No, it is bad for them, for that which they hoard will be hung about their necks on the Day of Judgment” [Al-'Imran, 3: 180]. 

Abu Hurairah (radhiyallāhu`anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: 

“No owner of a treasure who does not pay zakāh will be spared, for his treasure will be heated in the Fires of Hell and then made into plates. His flanks and his forehead will be branded with them until Allāh pronounces judgment on His servants during a day lasting fifty thousand years. [The individual] will be shown his path, leading him either to Paradise or to Hell. 

A camel owner who does not pay zakāh will not be spared (either). He will lay flat on a sandy, soft plain and they will run over him heavily one after another until Allāh pronounces judgment on His servants during a day lasting fifty thousand years. [The individual in question] will then be shown his path, leading him either to Paradise or to Hell. 

Equally, no owner of goats who does not pay zakāh (will be spared). He will lay flat for them on a sandy plain, and the goats will run over him as heavy as they will come and they will trample him with their hoofs and gore him with their horns--with twisted horns or with no horns--one after another until Allāh pronounces judgment on His servants, during a day lasting fifty thousand years, and [the individual in question] will be shown the path, leading him either to Paradise or to Hell. 

They [the Companions] asked: 'O Messenger of Allāh, what about the horses?' Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Horses have goodness in their foreheads (or he said 'Goodness lies in the foreheads of the horses') until the Day of Judgment. Horses are of three kinds: they are a source of reward for the owner, they are a cover, or they are a burden to a person. As to those [horses] that bring rewards, one who raises and trains them for the sake of Allāh  will get a reward from Him as well as all that they consume will be considered a reward for him from Allāh . For every stalk of grass in the meadow that one lets them graze, there is a reward for him. For every drop of water that one lets them drink from the creek, there is a reward.’ 

Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) went on describing until a reward was mentioned even for their urine and their feces. 'And for every step that they prance on elevated ground, there is a reward. As for the one to whom they will provide cover [in the life hereafter], he is the one who raises them for honor and dignity and remembers the right of their backs and stomachs in plenty and adversity. As for the one to whom they are a burden, he is the one who raises them for glory and showing off to people.' 

They asked: ‘O Messenger of Allāh, what about donkeys?’ Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Allāh has not revealed to me anything in regard to them except this one comprehensive verse: ‘He who does an atom's weights of good will see it, and he who does an atom's weight of evil will see it. [Az-Zalzalah 7]’.’” This is recorded by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, and Muslim.

Abu Hurairah  (radhiyallāhu`anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever is made wealthy by Allāh  and does not pay zakāh on his wealth, on the Day of Judgment it will become a bald-headed, poisonous, male snake with two black spots over his eyes. The snake, on the Day of Judgment, will encircle his neck, and bite his cheeks and say: 'I am your treasure, I am your wealth.' “Then he [the Prophet] recited this 'ayah: “‘and let not those who hoard up that which Allāh has bestowed upon them of his bounty...' [Al-‘Imran, 3: 180].” This is recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Ibn `Umar (radhiyallāhu`anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), said: “O Muhajirun, beware of five traits: if ever immorality spreads in a community and there is no sense of shame on its occurrence or mentioning it [and people talk about it as if nothing bad has taken place], diseases which were not present in the time of their predecessors will spread among them. If they decrease the measure and weight (of sold grains or food), they will be overcome by poverty, their provisions will decrease and their ruler will be unjust. If they refrain from paying the zakāh due on their properties, they will be deprived of rain, unless they get it only for the sake of their cattle. If they renounce their commitment to Allāh and His Messenger, they will be governed by an enemy who is a stranger to them and who will take away some of what they possess. If their rulers do not rule according to Allāh’s Book, they will be afflicted by civil war. Allāh forbids that these should happen to you.” This is recorded by Ibn Majah, Al-Bazzar, and Al-Baihaqi.

Al-Ahnaf Ibn Qays narrated: “I was in the company of some men of Quraish, when a man (Abu Zharr al-Ghafari, a companion of the Prophet) came with coarse hair, clothes, and appearance. He stood up, greeted them and said: 'Inform those who hoard property that a stone will be heated in the Fires of Hell and then placed on the nipples of their breasts until it comes out from the top of their shoulders. It will then be placed on the top of their shoulders until it comes out again from the nipple of their breasts, and they will be shaken.' Then he left. I followed him and sat near him, not knowing who he was. I said: 'These people disliked what you said to them.' He observed: 'They do not understand anything that my friend said to me.' I asked: 'Who is your friend?' He replied: 'The Prophet, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam). [One day he asked me]: 'Do you see the Mount of Uhud?' I looked at the sun to see how much of the day was left, as I thought that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), wanted to send me on an errand for him. I said: 'Yes.' Upon this he said: 'Nothing would delight me more than having gold equal to the bulk of Uhud and spending all of it (in Allāh’s way) except three dinars.' 

'Indeed, these people do not understand and go on accumulating riches. By Allāh! I neither ask them for this world, nor do I ask them anything about religion until I meet Allāh, The Exalted One.’” This is recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

As an obligation upon Muslims, zakāh is one of the essential requirements of Islam. If somebody disputed its obligation, he would be outside of Islam, and could legally be killed for his unbelief unless he was a new Muslim and could be excused for his ignorance. 

As for the one who refrains from paying it without denying its obligation, he would be guilty of committing a sin. Yet, this act does not place him outside of Islam. It is the ruler's duty to take zakāh from the defaulter by force and rebuke him, provided he does not collect more than the stipulated amount. However, in the views of Ahmad and Ash-Shaf'i`ie (in his earlier opinion) the ruler could take half of the defaulter's money, in addition to the calculated amount of zakāh, as a punishment. This view is based on what Ahmad, An-Nasā`ie, Abu Dawud, Al-Hakim, and Al-Baihaqi have recorded from Bahz Ibn Hakim all the way back to his grandfather who said: “I heard the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), say: 'Whether the camels of the zakāh payer are grown or baby camels, it makes no difference in his reward if he gave them willingly. (However,) if someone refrains from paying it, it will be taken from him along with half his property, for it is a right of our Lord, the Blessed and the Exalted, not a right of the house of Muhammad.’” 

Ahmad held its chain is good (Hassan). Of Bahz, Al-Hakim says: “His traditions are authentic.” Ash-Shāfi`ie (rahimahullāh), as Al-Baihaqi says, did not include it for fiqhi consideration because . . . “this hadith is not confirmed by the scholars of hadith.” 

If some people refrain from paying zakāh knowing that it is due and that they can afford to pay, they should be fought until they yield and pay. Ibn `Umar  (radhiyallāhu`anhu) reported he heard the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) say: “I have been ordered to fight people until they say that none has the right to be worshipped but Allāh , and that Muhammad is His Messenger, and they uphold the prayers, and pay the zakāh. If they do this, their lives and properties will be safe, except for what is due to Islam, and their accounts are with Allāh.” This is recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Abu Hurairah (radhiyallāhu`anhu) is reported to have said: “When Allāh’s Messenger, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), died and Abu Bakar (radhiyallāhu`anhu) succeeded him as caliph, some Arabs apostatized, causing Abu Bakar to declare war upon them. `Umar said to him: 'Why must you fight these men?', especially when there is a ruling of the Prophet, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam): 'I have been called to fight men until they say that none has the right to be worshipped but Allāh, and whoever said it has saved his life and property from me except when a right is due in them, and his account will be with Allāh.' Abu Bakar (radhiyallāhu`anhu) replied: 'By Allāh! I will fight those who differentiate between salah and zakāh because zakāh is the due on property. By Allāh! If they withheld even a young she-goat (`anaq) that they used to pay at the time of Allāh’s Messenger, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), I would fight them.' Then 'Umar (radhiyallāhu`anhu) said: 'By Allāh! It was He who gave Abu Bakr the true knowledge to fight, and later I came to know that he was right.'” 

The same hadith narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawud, and At-Tirmidzi has the following variant: “If they withheld the 'equal, the rope of the camel,” instead of “`anaq, young she-goat.” 

Zakāh must be paid by every Muslim who has a nisab, which is the minimum of one's holdings liable to zakāh. The nisab is conditioned by the following: 

1- Zakāh should be paid on any amount of money remaining after meeting the expenses for such necessities as food, clothes, and housing, vehicles and craft machines. 

2- A complete year of Islamic calendar should pass, starting from the very day of the nisab's possession, without any decrease during the year. In case of its decrease (being less than nisab), the year count (hawl ;) starts from the day of the nisab completion. 

Commenting on the issue, An-Nawawi (rahimahullāh) said: “In our view and the views of Malik, Ahmad, and the majority of scholars, the amount of property liable for payment of zakāh, such as gold, silver, or cattle, is tied to the completion of nisab through the turn of a whole year. If the nisab decreases in any time of the year, [the counting of] the year discontinues. Later, if the nisab is completed, the year count is resumed from the time of its completion.” 

On the same subject, Abu Hanifah (rahimahullāh) holds: “What matters is the availability of nisab at the beginning and end of the year. Its decrease at any time in between does not matter, even though the zakāh payer had two hundred dirhams and he lost all but one dirham during the year, or if he had forty sheep, all of which died except for one during the year. If, at the end of the year, he had two hundred dirhams, or forty sheep, then he must pay zakāh on all of that. This condition is not applicable to the zakāh of plantations and fruits, for their zakāh should be paid on the harvest day. Allāh, the Exalted One, says: 'And pay the due thereof upon the harvest day' [Al-`Araf, 7: 142].” 

Al-`Abdari (rahimahullah) elaborated that: “The holdings subject to zakāh are of two kinds. The first kind grows by itself: crops and fruits. The second kind is used for growing and production: money, merchandise, and cattle. In the former case, zakāh should be paid at the time of harvest. In the latter case, it should be paid at the end of the haul. This was the opinion of all jurists as reported in An-Nawawi's Al-Majrnu'.” 

The guardian of a child or of a mentally retarded person must pay zakāh on his behalf from his property if it constitutes a nisab. 

`Amr Ibn Shu'aib reported from his father backed up by a chain of sources going back to `Abdullah Ibn `Amr (radhiyallāhu`anhu) that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), said: “One who becomes the guardian of an orphan with property must trade on his behalf and not leave it passive in order to avoid depletion of the property by sadāqah.” 

However, this hadith has a weak link. Still, Al-Hafiz affirms that: “There is a similar hadith of the mursal type in the compilation of Ash-Shaf'i`ie, who confirmed that it is considered a sound one. `Aishah (radhiyallāhu`anha) used to set aside zakāh for the orphans who were under her protection.” 

At-Tirmidzi concludes that: “Jurists differ on this issue. More than one companion of the Prophet, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), said that zakāh may be taken from an orphan's property. Among these are: 'Umar, 'Ali, 'Aishah, and Ibn 'Umar (radhiyallāhu`anhum). This view is also supported by Malik, ash-Shaf'ie, Ahmad, and Ishaq. Another group, including Sufyan and Ibn al-Mubarak, hold that: 'Zakāh should not be taken out of an orphan's property.' “ 

Whoever has property must pay its proper zakāh. If the property is indebted, he may first pay off his debt, and then in case the remainder is enough to constitute a nisab, he must pay zakāh. If he does not hold the nisab, he does not have to pay it since he is poor. The Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), said: “Only the wealthy are required to give charity.” This hadith is related by Ahmad and Al-Bukhari. The latter records it in mu'allaq form. The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) also said: Zakāh is levied on the rich and paid to the poor.” It is all the same, whether he is indebted to Allāh or to man, because one hadith states: “Allāh’s debt is more deserving of fulfillment.”

If a person dies before he pays zakāh, then it must be taken from his estate. 

According to Ash-Shāf'i`ie, Ahmad, Ishaq, and Abu Thaur, it is obligatory that zakāh be paid from the property of the deceased, and this payment receives preference over debt, legacy, and inheritance for Allāh says: “... after payment of legacies and debts is what you leave ...” [An-Nisa' 12]. Zakāh is a debt payable to Allāh. 

A man came to the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), and said: “My mother died while she still had to make up one month of fasting. Shall I make it up for her?” The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) replied: “If there was any debt upon your mother, would you pay it off for her?” The man answered: “Yes.” The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) then observed: “A debt to Allāh more deserves to be paid off.” This is recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. 

Since the payment of zakāh is an act of worship, its validity depends upon the expression of one's intention. That is, the zakāh payer should pay it for the sake of Allāh; he should make up his mind, with all of his heart, that zakāh is an obligation to be discharged. Allāh says: “And they are commanded no more than this: to worship Allāh, sincere in their faith in Him alone” [Al-Bayyinah 5]. 

It is related in Al-Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), said: “The value of [one's] deeds is determined by [one's] intentions; and thus for each shall be according to his intentions.” Mālik and Ash-Shāf'i`ie say that the intention is to be made at the time of rendering zakāh. Abu Hanifah holds that the intention must be present at the time of payment or when zakāh is being set aside from one's assets. Ahmad's view is that it is permissible to express the niyyah a little earlier before payment. 

Zakāh must be paid immediately at its due time. Deferring payment of zakāh is prohibited, unless the payer for some valid reason cannot pay it on time. In such a case, he may wait until he is able to pay it. `Uqbah Ibn Al-Harith (radhiyallāhu`anhu) said: “Once I performed the 'asar prayer with the Prophet, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam). When he concluded the prayer, he hurriedly went to his house and returned immediately. Noticing the amazed faces, he said: 'I left at home a piece of gold which was meant for sadaqah, and I did not want to let it remain a night in my house, so I ordered it to be distributed.'” This was recorded by Ahmad and Al-Bukhari. 

Ash-Shāf'i`iie and Al-Bukhari (the latter in his Tarikh) relate from ‘Aishah (radhiyallāhu`anha) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Whenever sadāqah which is payable is mixed with a property, it will destroy that property.” The same hadith is related by Al-Humaydi (radhiyallāhu`anhu) with this addition: “If you have to pay sadaqah which is payable, then it must be set aside, or the unlawful [property] will destroy the lawful one.” 

It is permissible for zakāh to be paid for even two years in advance. Al-Zuhri did not see any problem in paying his zakāh before the hawl. Al-Hasan was once asked if a man who had paid his zakāh for three years in advance fulfilled his obligation. Al-Hasan answered in the affirmative. Of this view, Ash-Shawkani said: “This was the view of Ash-Shāf'i`ie, Ahmad, and Abu Hanifah. It was supported by Al-Hadi and Al-Qasim.” Al-Mu'ayyad-billah also subscribes to this opinion as being better, but he says that Malik, Rabi`ah, Sufyan ath-Thawri, Dawud, Abu `Ubayd Ibn Al-Harith, and An-Nasir (who comes from the Prophet's family) held that one's obligation is not discharged if the zakāh is paid before the expiration of the year. They formulated their stance on the Prophet's hadith, already mentioned, which makes the zakāh mandatory for the payer only when he has his possessions for a year. However, this does not invalidate the view of those who maintain that paying zakāh in advance is lawful, for undeniably the obligation of zakāh is associated with the expiry of one full year. The difference is only on the point of whether one's obligation is discharged if the zakāh is paid before the year has expired.” Ibn Rushd sums up the subject: “The controversy arises from the question whether it is an act of worship or an obligation owed to the poor. The group which considers it an act of worship, like solah (prayers), does not agree that it should be paid before its time. On the other hand, the group which views it as similar to the case of deferred obligatory dues approves its voluntary payment in advance.” In support of his view, Ash-Shāf'ie relates a hadith from `Ali that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) asked for Al-`Abbas' sadāqah before its due date. 

13 - Invoking Blessing for the Zakāh 

It is desirable that the recipient invoke blessing for the du`a of zakāh at the time of its payment, for Allāh says: “Take alms of their property that you may purify and sanctify them and pray for them. Verily, your prayers are a comfort for them” [At-Tawbah, 9:103]. It is related from `Abdullah Ibn Abu Awfa that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) on receiving sadāqah would say: “O Allāh, bless the family of Abu Awfa.” This is related by Ahmad and others.

Wa`il Ibn Hajar reported that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), prayed for a man who had offered a fine she-camel in his zakāh payment: “May Allāh bless him and make his camels beneficial to him.” This is related by an-Nasā`ie.

Ash-Shaf'i`ie (rahimahullāh) says: “According to this hadith, the leader may pray for the almsgiver upon receiving his payment by saying: 'May Allāh reward you in turn of what you have offered, and May Allāh bless what you still possess.' "

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.

[Via Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3: ‘Zakāh in Islamic Jurisprudence’ by Sayyid Sabiq]

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