Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on Essential Elements of Zakat
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 الله تعالى في كتابه الكريم: وَمَا أُمِرُواْ إِلاَّ لِيَعْبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ ٱلدّينَ حُنَفَاء وَيُقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَيُؤْتُواْ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَذَلِكَ دِينُ ٱلقَيّمَةِ
Allah says in His Noble Book, the translation of which is, “They were only ordered to worship Allah, making their deen sincerely His as people of pure natural belief, and to establish the prayer and pay zakat – that is the correct deen.” This is an example of one of no fewer than thirty times in the Quran where Allah pairs zakat with prayer, as if He were suggesting that one cannot exist in any meaningful way without the other. That a society that establishes the prayer, but neglects to put zakat properly into effect is a society that is deficient and lacking and unworthy of the name. And indeed, that is the way that it has been interpreted by the majority of the Mufassirin. It may be heartening to see the mosques full, but the deen is not correct, society does not exist, without the pillar of zakat being established. Indeed, even those prayers are not acceptable in the eyes of Allah. Ibn Abbas said in a famous statement,
ثلاثة لا تقبل إلا بثلاثة، قال تعالى: "وَأَطِيعُواْ اللهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ"، فمن أطاع الله ولم يطع الرسول لم يقبل الله طاعته، وقال: "أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ"، فمن شكر لله ولم يشكر لوالديه لا يقبل الله شكره، وقال: "وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَاةَ"، فمن أقام الصلاة ولم يؤت الزكاة لا تقبل له صلاة
“There are three things that are not accepted until three other things are in place: Allah says, ‘Obey Allah and obey the Messenger’, so if anyone obeys Allah without obeying the Messenger, Allah will not accept his obedience; Allah says, ‘Thank Me and thank your parents’, so if anyone thanks Allah without thanking his parents, Allah will not accept his thanks; and Allah says, ‘Establish the prayer and pay the zakat’, so if anyone establishes the prayer without paying the zakat (that he owes), Allah will not accept his prayer.”
Alhamdulillah, we are establishing zakat, many of you might say. Do we not take 2.5 % of our excess wealth and give it to charity? Did I not discharge my obligation by sending such-and-such an amount to Palestine last year? Well, I am sorry to disappoint, but that was not how zakat was understood and practised by the first community. There is no doubt that it is good to give and that Allah will reward you for both your action in giving your wealth away to those in need and for your intention to discharge what he has made obligatory on you. But you must know that sadaqa, that charity, is not the same thing as zakat, despite the fact that the word sadaqa is used in the Qur’an to refer to it on occasion. For there are a number of fundamental things essential to zakat that are lacking when it is done this way.
The first of those is political authority, for zakat, far from being a private act of worship whose payment is left to the conscience of the individual, is in fact a function of the leadership of the Muslims, or at the very least a function of the local Muslim leadership of the land. Zakat is taken, not given. 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 sadaqa in this aya refers specifically to zakat. So Allah is commanding His Prophet to take zakat from people's wealth, not leave it up to them to decide whether or not to they want to give it. This was the practice of the Messenger of Allah and has always been the practice of its right-acting leaders - they took the zakat and fought those who refused to pay, considering that to be essential to maintaining the well-being of the Muslim umma. Indeed, that was the very first thing that Abu Bakr did upon coming to power and being told that the tribes who had paid zakat to the Prophet were now refusing to pay it to him, uttering the now famous words,
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 a hobbling rope which they used to pay to the Messenger of Allah I will fight them for it!” He knew that the survival of the deen rested upon a correct implementation and understanding of zakat. He saw that as the defining moment of the nascent Muslim umma. He saw that if that understanding were lost, and the matter of the payment of zakat was left to personal conscience, that the whole matter would fall apart at the seams and the power of the Muslims would be evaporated. And indeed that has been proven by the situation of the Muslim umma today, powerless, rudderless and ineffectual despite the frankly astonishing levels of wealth it seems to enjoy in many places. That wealth, however, is impure, dirty, and without baraka and will continue to be a source of harm and not good for the Muslim umma until the restoration of the pillar of zakat. For it is zakat that purifies wealth and makes it tayyib, and as we know Allah only accepts what is tayyib. It is only then that we will see a semblance of justice in the world, and an alleviation of the levels of poverty and hopelessness and sense of depravation that have become a defining factor in modern capitalist society and have led to the rioting and street violence we have seen in recent times in Greece, France and the UK.
But, as we have mentioned, that restoration is incumbent upon a leader being in place who takes the zakat, if necessary by force, and distributes it to those of the eight categories whom he sees fit: the poor, the destitute, the collectors, those close to becoming Muslim, freeing slaves, those in debt, travellers and fighting in the way of Allah. This was the ijma of the four imams and all the major fuqaha from their madhahib, and, contrary to what many think, applies just as much to hidden wealth, i.e gold and silver, as it does to open wealth, i.e. livestock and crops. The proof for this is found in the actions of the early khalifs, for Umar ibn al-Khattab used to say,
خُذ من المسلمين من أربعين درهما درهما...
“Take from the Muslims from every forty dirhams one dirham.”
And Uthman ibn Affan used to take zakat straight out of people’s yearly stipends before handing those stipends over, as is mentioned in the Muwatta. For Malik narrates Qudama as having said, “Whenever I used to go to ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan to collect my stipend, he would ask me, ‘Do you have any wealth upon which zakat is due?‘ If I said, ‘Yes’, then he would the zakat due on that wealth out of my stipend, and if I said, ‘No’, he would give me my stipend in full.”
Indeed the great Hanafi faqih, Shaykh Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Abi Sahl as-Sarkhasi, used to go so far as to say that anyone who pays his zakat to other than the ruler, has not discharged his obligation of zakat and still owes it. In other words, what he thought was zakat was charity and nothing more. And Imam Ahmad is quoted in the book ash-Sharh ar-Rabbani li Musnad Ahmad as having 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.” In other words, those who refuse to give to him, even if they claim they have already given it directly to the categories to which it is due. That is not their right, it is solely the right of the leadership.
Without some form of leadership being put in place, without governance, there can be zakat in the true sense of the word. What many of us think of zakat is merely a poor facsimile of it. So, if we want to restore zakat, we must restore leadership, and that starts at the local level. No grouping of Muslims, no matter how small, must be without a leader from among their midst. And when that leader is in place we must submit to him taking our zakat and him being in charge of its distribution. And we must not try to distribute it ourselves, and certainly not give it to charitable institutions to send abroad. Such institutions have no right to our zakat - they do not fall into any one of the eight categories and no authority has appointed them as collectors. And so all they succeed in doing is misappropriating the funds of well-intentioned Muslims and preventing them from fulfilling their obligation correctly. If you do want to support such institutions and the projects that they do, then give them sadaqa not zakat. It is only when zakat is understood and implemented properly that the glory that is the deen of Allah will be restored. So we ask Him to restore leadership amongst us so that we can His deen can once again be whole.
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
The second essential area that is missing from zakat today is the means of payment. Zakat is due exclusively on three areas of wealth, crops and livestock and monetary wealth, a category that includes trade goods, so long as each of these categories has reached the minimum threshold and the requisite length of time has passed. Aside from that, nothing else is zakatable. Imam Malik said in his Muwatta,
ولا تكون الصدقة إلا في ثلاثة أشياء: في الحرث والعين والماشية
“Zakat is due only on three things: crops, ‘ayn (i.e. gold and silver) and livestock.” That is clear and is well-known by the majority of the Muslim umma. What is less well-known, however, is that zakat must be paid in kind. If your wealth is made up of livestock, you give livestock, if your wealth is made up of crops, you give crops and if your wealth is made up of gold and silver or even of trade goods, you give gold and silver. These are the only substances in which it is permissible to pay zakat, and it is only when you have given it in these substances that you have discharged your duty.
As for the modern tendency to extend the category of ‘ayn to include paper money and other currencies, by adding the words in the books of fiqh, ’wa maa yaqumu maqamahumaa’ - ‘and what assumes their place’ after ‘gold and silver’, the basis for that is extremely weak if not totally false. For the zakat has always been held to be due on the volume or weight of the two metals that are in your possession, not their value as money. It is due on twenty gold dinars of full weight, which is equivalent to approximately 85 grams and 200 silver dirhams of full weight which is equivalent to approximately 600 grams. If the total weight of gold in your possession is below 85 grams then no zakat is due, even if that gold has been divided up into thirty coins each of which has been assigned a value equivalent to the dinar. (such as with coins that have been adulterated and mixed with other base metals so their gold content is drastically reduced)
Imam Malik says in al-Muwatta,
ليس في عشرين دينارا ناقصة بينة النقصان زكاة، فإن زادت حتى تبلغ بزيادتها عشرين دينارا وازنة ففيها الزكاة، وليس فيما دون عشرين دينارا عينا الزكاة،
“There is no zakat on twenty dinars that are clearly deficient (in terms of their gold content or in terms of their weight). If more is added to them until they reach the level where their weight is equivalent to twenty gold dinars of full weight then zakat is due. There is no zakat on anything whose ‘ayn (i.e. gold content) is less than twenty dinars.” The respective value of the dirham and dinar is immaterial - even if one silver dirham were worth more than one gold dinar, still zakat would only be due on 200 dirhams and twenty dinars, for the nisab is linked to weight not to value.
So, the words, ‘maa yaquumu maqamahumaa’ are a nonsense when it comes to zakat, since it is only on the physical metals that zakat is due and it is only in those same metals that it may be paid. The shariah is not a plaything to be adapted and altered to fit in with whatever abomination the enemies of Islam and the leaders of kufr dream up - no the Shariah of Allah on this matter is unambiguous. And that is clearly reflected by the fatawaa issued by Muslim scholars when first confronted by this matter and before their deen and centres of knowledge had been compromised by the defeatist ideologies of the modernists.
For example, in the late 19th century, soon after paper money had been introduced in the Ottoman empire, when the great Shaykh of al-Azhar, Shaykh Illish, was asked about whether zakat should or should not be paid on the paper money that was in circulation at that time in the Osmanli realms, he replied in categorical fashion, “No zakat is paid on it, as zakat is restricted to cattle, certain types of grain and fruit, gold, silver, the value of turnover stock and the price of stored goods. The items mentioned are not included in any of the above categories.” Zakat, he ruled, would only be owed on it if there was sufficient weight of it for its value as scrap paper to reach the nisab, in which case zakat would be payable on it in gold as merchandise. Hence, zakat is only paid on things which have intrinsic value and is only paid in something which has intrinsic value.
It might be said, going strictly by this understanding, that no zakat is owed on wealth held in bank accounts and other modern forms of saving and investment because no actual gold or silver is involved. However, going by the fact that the original intention of paper money was to represent particular amounts of gold and silver, it has been argued that, for zakat purposes only, monetary wealth held in these forms should be valued in terms of the amount of gold or silver that can be bought with it. If this amount exceeds the nisab, zakat is owed. Certainly, if zakat is to be paid at all in the present circumstances – and it is essential that it is, both to re-establish Allah’s deen in its entirety and to look after the needs of millions of Muslims who are legally entitled to receive zakat – then this is the position which needs to be adopted by Muslims everywhere in the present circumstances in which they find themselves. What must be emphasised, however, is that firstly this is only a stop gap measure until real money comes back into circulation and replaces the abomination that is paper money, and that secondly this in no way removes the obligation for Muslims to pay zakat in the actual gold or silver categorically demanded by the shari‘a. For zakat is an act of worship and acts of worship must be carried out in the exact way specified in the Quran and Sunna.
Thus, whichever way we look at it, the only way for the lost pillar of zakat to be restored and the only way for us as Muslims to fulfil our basic obligations within the deen is to mint gold dinars and silver dirhams in such numbers that we make them easily available to all Muslims, thereby reviving a firm sunna of the Messenger of Allah that has fallen by the wayside. It is only through obedience to Allah and His Messenger and revival of the Sunna that victory will be ours and we will see Allah’s deen in all its glory established in our time and in our lands. So we ask Allah that He give us the necessary himma and the necessary furqan to do what needs to be done and put in place what needs to be put in place.
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، وَعن عائشةَ وسائر أزواج النبي، 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 (3) 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.