Stressing the obligation of zakat and clarification of its excellence

Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)

by Imam Nawawi

216. Chapter: Stressing the obligation of zakat and clarification of its excellence and what is connected to it

Allah says, "Establish the prayer and pay zakat" (W2:42; H2:43) and the Almighty says, "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." (98:5) He says, "Take zakat from their wealth to purify and cleanse them." (W9:104; H9:103)

1206. Ibn 'Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Islam is based on five: testifying that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (shahada); establishing the prayer (salat); paying the zakat (poor-tax), the Hajj and the fast (sawm) of Ramadan." [Agreed upon]

1207. Talha ibn 'Ubaydullah said that a man came to the Messenger of Allah from the people of Najd. His hair was unkempt. The sound of his voice could be heard, but they could not understand what he said until he drew near. He was asking about Islam. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "It is five prayers a day." He asked, "Do I have to do any more?" He said, "No, unless you want to do voluntary prayers." The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, then said, "And you must fast the month of Ramadan." He asked, "Do I have to do any more?" He said, "No, unless you want to do so voluntarily." Then the Messenger of Allah mentioned zakat to him. He said, "Do I have to do any more?" He said, "No, unless you want to do so voluntarily." The man withdrew, saying, "By Allah, I will do no more nor less than this." The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "If he is speaking the truth, he will have success." [i.e. he will be granted Paradise] [Agreed upon]

1208. Ibn 'Abbas said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent Mu'adh to Yemen and said, 'Call on them to testify that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah. If they comply with that, then let them know that Allah has made the five prayers obligatory on them every day and night. If they comply with that, then let them know that Allah has made the payment of zakat from their property obligatory on them, to be taken from the wealthy among them and given to the poor.'" [Agreed upon]

1209. Ibn 'Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and establish the prayer and pay the zakat. If they do that, their lives and property are protected from me except for the right of Islam, and their reckoning is up to Allah." [Agreed upon]

1210. Abu Hurayra said, "When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, died and Abu Bakr was khalifa and those of the Arabs who were going to reject rejected, 'Umar said, 'How can we fight people when the Messenger of Allah said, "I am commanded to fight people until they say, 'There is no god but Allah.' Whoever says that, his property and life are protected from me, except when there is a legal right to them, and his reckoning is up to Allah."?' Abu Bakr said, 'By Allah, I will fight anyone who makes a distinction between prayer and zakat! Zakat is the right which is due on wealth. By Allah, if they refuse me a nose-rope which they used to pay to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, I will fight them for refusing it!' 'Umar said, 'By Allah, then I realised that Allah had expanded Abu Bakr's breast in respect of the decision to fight and I recognised that it was the truth." [Agreed upon]

1211. Abu Ayyub reported that a man said to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "Tell me an action which will ensure my entrance into the Garden." He said, "Worship Allah and do not associate anything else with him. Establish the prayer and pay the zakat and maintain ties of kinship." [Agreed upon]

1212. Abu Hurayra said, "A bedouin came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'Tell me an action by which, if I do it, I will enter the Garden.' He said, 'Worship Allah and do not associate anything else with him. Perform the prescribed prayer and pay the obligatory zakat, and fast Ramadan.' He said, 'By the One who has my soul in His hand, I will do no more than this.' When he turned to go, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Anyone who wants to see one of the people of the Garden should look at this man.'" [Agreed upon]

1213. Jarir ibn 'Abdullah said, "I gave allegiance to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on the basis of performing the prayer, paying the zakat and giving good counsel to every Muslim." [Agreed upon]

1214. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There is no one who has gold or silver and does not pay what is due on them without them being turned, on the Day of Rising, into slabs of Fire and being heated in the Fire of Jahannam and his side, forehead and back being branded with them. Every time they cool they will be heated again throughout a day whose length is fifty thousand years, until people's fates have been decided and he sees his way open either to the Garden or to the Fire." It was said, "Messenger of Allah, what about camels?" He said, "There is no owner of camels who fails to fulfil what is due to them, and one of their rights is to be milked on the day they are watered, without, on the Day of Rising, being thrown on his face on account of them on a very wide level plain. Not one young camel will be missing and they will trample him with their hooves and bite him with their teeth. When the last of them have passed over him, then the first of them will return to him throughout a day whose length is fifty thousand years until people's fates have been decided and he sees his way open either to the Garden or to the Fire."

It was asked, "Messenger of Allah, and what about cattle and sheep?" He said, "There is no owner of cattle or sheep who fails to fulfil what is due to them, without, on the Day of Rising, being thrown on his face on account of them on a very wide level plain. Not one of them will be missing. None of them will have curved horns or no horns or broken horns. They will gore him with their horns and trample him with their hooves. When the last of them have passed over him, then the first of them will return to him in a day whose length is fifty thousand years until people's fates have been decided and he sees his way open either to the Garden or to the Fire."

It was asked, "Messenger of Allah, what about horses?" He said, "There are three kinds of horses: those which are a burden for a man, those which are a protection for a man and those which contain a reward for a man. Those which are a burden for a man are those which are kept just for showing off, boastfulness and out of enmity against the people of Islam. They are a burden. Those which are a protection for a man are those a man keeps in the way of Allah without forgetting Allah's right in respect of their backs and necks. They are a protection for him. As for those which contain a reward for him, they are those which a man keeps in meadows or grasslands in the way of Allah for the people of Islam. For anything they eat of that meadow or grassland there are good deeds written for him for what they ate and good deeds for their droppings and urine. If one of them breaks its tether and goes over a hillock or two, its tracks and droppings are also good deeds for him. If it crosses a river and drinks from it when he had not intended to allow it to drink from it, Allah writes for him the amount it drinks as good deeds for him."

It was asked, "Messenger of Allah, what about donkeys?" He said, "Nothing has been revealed to me about donkeys except for this unique, comprehensive verse, 'Whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it. Whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it.' (99:7-8)" [Agreed upon]