Taking Zakat beyond Ramadan

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Taking Zakat beyond Ramadan

Alhamdulillah, we find that with the commencement of Ramadan, thousands of Muslims begin to contribute to different noble causes. They contribute whether these are specific for Ramadan, such as providing Iftar, Sehri, and hampers for the poor, or whether it is the general efforts made to alleviate the plight of those who are suffering in different parts of the world. 

Monies pour in through Zakat, Sadaqah, and Lillah—Alhamdulillah. May Allah Ta'ala accept the different contributions.

There is, however, one shortfall when it comes to the payment of Zakat, and that is the majority choose to give their Zakat in the month of Ramadan, thinking that they are getting a greater reward giving in Ramadan, whereas for many, their Zakat was sometimes due months before.

This deliberate delay in payment of Zakat makes the person a fasiq (an open transgressor). Even though one is paying later, and that too, in the blessed month of Ramadan, one reaches Ramadan, and one enters Ramadan as a flagrant sinner. Allah Ta'ala save us and forgive us.

The setback to this pattern and tendency is that we have an overwhelming amount of Zakat and charity paid out in the month of Ramadan. And since Zakat needs to be distributed and discharged as soon as possible, we find that for the next 11 months, many organisations do not have such funds to continue their assistance to the poor and needy – because of the imbalance created.

 If everyone paid his or her Zakat timeously, when it is due – whether Muharram, Safar, Rabiul Awwal, or Rajab, instead of all being given out in the month of Ramadan – then some level of balance would be established in the discharge of Zakat and in the assistance rendered to the poor and needy for the remaining year.

 Moreover, this payment of Zakat at its correct time should not make the giver negligent in spending in other avenues at other times. We should increase our generosity in the month of Ramadan and also spend whenever and wherever there may be a call for assistance – and that spending should be from our wealth because Zakah is not our wealth. 

It does not belong to us; we can not keep and use it as we wish. It rightfully belongs to the poor. It is their wealth. We should be giving from our own wealth, over and above Zakat.

Furthermore, when giving Zakat or Sadaqah, it is very important to keep in mind the recipient's dignity and to give it with respect and consideration.

Many people consider that they are doing a favour to the poor and needy when giving charity, and they do so in a manner which demeans and debases the poor and needy.

Let us understand this point: We need them. The reality is that we are the needy ones, for if there were no poor, needy, and destitute people in the world, to whom would we give our Zakat and discharge that due? To whom would we give our Sadaqat and draw rewards?

 Moreover, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) described the poor as ‘very rich people' and directed us to keep in contact with them and spend on them because, on the Day of Judgment, they will be told to lead every such person who favoured them, into Jannah.

 Other Ahadith describe how, in the Hereafter, the poor will be the ones who will come to the assistance of those who did them a good turn in the worldly life. The poor will thus become the means of najat (salvation) for many who may have been wealthy in this worldly life. They may even be the ones who will hold our hands and take us with them into Jannah.

 Thus, we need to be conscious and mindful of the dignity and self-respect of the poor. They, too, have a right to respect.

 

 May Allah Ta'ala grant us this understanding, grant us the Taufeeq to practice accordingly, grant us sincerity in our spending, and accept our Zakat, Sadaqat and other humble efforts to please Him, Aameen.