Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on Restoration 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.
Last week, we talked about following the sunna, and how people’s understanding of that has become limited to the extent that a whole area of the deen, muamalat, has to all intents and purposes, been discarded. And we mentioned how this was largely as a result of the defeatism of the Modernists, thinking that the only way for the Muslims, and by extension their deen, to regain their glory was to adopt and adapt the practices and models that had allowed the West to strengthen and industrialise and defeat the Muslim world. And that model was based on a fundamental separation of state and religion, a limiting of the deen to the zone of the personal, to the ‘ibadat, the five pillars, with the rest of a Muslim’s identity being defined by the culture of the particular country - their language or their national dress or the food that they eat.
But even those ibadat are being watered down and practiced in a way unrecognisable from the way the Sahaba and the right-acting Muslims of every generation practiced them. For they too have been made a matter of personal choice rather than social responsibility, despite the obvious social and political ramifications of each of them.
Take prayer, for example, and in particular the jumua prayer. The khutba was a time for idha, instruction, and a time when the leaders communicated with their people. Indeed, in the time of the rightly-guided khalifas, it was the khalifas themselves who gave the khutbas. And yet, today, in far too many places, khutbas are limited to dua and delivered in a language that almost none of the congregation understand. This connection of prayer to amirate has largely been lost.
Or take Ramadan. The start and finish of the month has always been a political decision, but today that aspect has been removed and instead everyone follows whichever method of determining that that they want, leading to the crazy situation that is all too familiar to Muslims today of two Muslims in the same street openly celebrating on different days. The connection of fasting to amirate has largely been lost.
But the pillar of the deen that has been changed the most is zakat. Indeed, it has changed so much that most people no longer really know what zakat is. It has been relegated to a personal act of giving, much like sadaqa, albeit one that is obligatory. So long as we take 2.5% of our excess wealth and give it to the needy or to charity, we have discharged our obligation. But that is not truly zakat as we will show. The pillar of zakat has been lost because a correct understanding of the fundamentals of zakat have been lost. And until that correct understanding is restored, the pillar of zakat will remain broken and the house of Islam that is supported by those pillars will remain a ruin.
The first fundamental thing essential to zakat 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 as a whole, or at the very least a function of the local Muslim leadership of the land. Zakat is taken, not given. Allah says in the famous ayat in Surat Tawba,
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. That and the word khudh are crucial to the understanding of this ayat. Allah commands His Prophet to take zakat from people's wealth, not to leave it up to them to decide whether or not to they want to give it. And, indeed, that was his practice, and the practice of all the right-acting leaders of the Muslims who came after him - they took the zakat and waged war on those who refused to pay, considering that to be essential to maintaining the unity and 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, 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 pillar of zakat is revived. For it is zakat that purifies wealth and makes it tayyib, and as we know Allah only accepts what is tayyib.
But, as we have mentioned, that revival 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 instruct his governors, saying,
خُذ من المسلمين من أربعين درهما درهما...
“Khudh - 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. He did not wait for them to give it him. Proof of this is found in the Muwatta, where 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 take the zakat due on that wealth directly 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 merely 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 it directly 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 no zakat in the true sense of the word, but merely a faint echo of it. So the first step to its revival and, by extension, the revival of the deen, is the restoration of leadership, of personal rule, the giving of baya to an amir, even that only be, at first, at a 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 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 have not been appointed as collectors by any reputable authority. 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 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 element 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 and what is mined, 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
“There is no zakat except 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 farming has largely fallen by the wayside as a means of livelihood, and the vast majority of us weigh our wealth only in terms of how much money we have, the one area of these that concerns us is ‘ayn. But that is limited to gold and silver and the money that most of us use and possess is paper or numbers on a screen. So what do we do? Do we accept the status quo and consider paper to have taken the place and be fully interchangeable with them, as many of the Modernists suggest? And therefore calculate and pay our zakat in paper money based on its value in gold or silver? No, we can never do that, for that is tantamount to legalising riba, a practice upon which Allah and His Messenger have declared war. And, in any case, the Sunna of the Messenger of Allah and His Companions and the books of fiqh of the great fuqaha of the four madhhabs are clear. Zakat is due on the volume or weight of the two metals, not their value as money. Value has never come into the equation. Even if twenty gold dinars were only worth enough to buy a single loaf of bread, still would zakat be due on it. And even if nineteen gold dinars could buy you half the Karoo, still no zakat would be due on it. Value is meaningless, only the weight of the metals in your possession counts.
Zakat is due on twenty gold dinars of full weight, which is equivalent to approximately 85 grams, or on 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 coins are added so that 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. I cannot stress that enough. And the implications of that are far-reaching. It means that these substances are the only ones considered and nothing takes their place. It means that zakat is not due, strictly-speaking, on the currency we use, and definitely cannot be paid in that currency. That was the ruling of the major Muslim scholars when first presented with this issue.
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.
What does this mean? It means that we cannot continue to accept paper money or electronic money as a viable currency. It has no inherent value and is a means of control, not exchange. And its continued usage prevents us from correctly implementing zakat and establishing the deen in full. It is incumbent upon us to restore real currency, gold and silver minted into coins of the weight and denomination that enables us to easily calculate zakat, that is the dirham and the dinar as used by the first generations of the Muslims. They must be minted in sufficient numbers and circulated far and wide so that they become easily available to every Muslim. That has to be one of the primary tasks of all Muslims today. It is the jihad of the present age.
In the meantime, until they do become widely available and accepted as currency, we must make do the best we can and ensure that some form of zakat is kept alive, no matter how debased. In times of necessity, darura, the forbidden can become permissible, but only until that time of necessity can be brought to an end. So, although, strictly-speaking, 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, the best interests of the Muslims are served by its being paid. They should, in this interim period, calculate the value of that money in gold, and then pay whatever is owing. They must ensure, however, that they pay whatever they have to pay in physical gold, in dinars, 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.
Leadership and real currency - these two elements are absolutely essential to a correct implementation of zakat and thus a correct implementation of the deen of Allah. And they go hand-in-hand, for it is only with trusted leadership that you have trusted currency. We ask Allah to revive the sunna of bay’a among us, and to restore our jama’a by restoring our leaders. And we ask that He enable them to mint gold dinars and silver dirhams in such numbers that they once again become the dominant currency in the land. And that through that He enable us to revive the lost pillar of zakat and make the deen whole once again.
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.