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Zakat and Vows

Zakat is given as a very important prayer in our society. Many a people who don’t even offer their prayers, pay Zakat regularly. However, in our society people consider Zakat as a way of helping the poor. They don’t know what actually Zakat is and why it is paid. As Ramadan has been set by us to fulfill our Zakat obligations, it seems suitable to guide people about the reality of Zakat on this occasion.

Zakat is actually a vow – Vow means that man is offering a part of his wealth to God to please Him. In ancient times when polytheism rules the roost, people used to go to temples and shrines and offer their wealth to the idols in different ways and then this money was spent on pilgrims by the servants of those temples.

Islam changed this situation by making the vow offered to God a form of permanent worship of Zakat, made it specific for collective arrangements, the poor and the needy. However, the spirit and the passion behind it remained the same. Even today, if a man is offering Zakat to someone, he is not giving anything to someone but to Almighty Allah, by bowing his head and heart, spreading his both hands out, feigning humility and lowliness in his character.

However, if a person tries to pay Zakat with an erect head, showing conceit and using domineering tone, he gets his wealth reduced but he is not given certificate of acceptance from the court of God. No head is able in the court of God to get honor of acceptance by being arrogantly raised. He only accepts humility and inferiority.
Those who pay Zakat or spend (for Allah) should understand that if they are giving to human beings, then of course, they can raise their head, but if they are offering wealth to God, keep their head bowed. This is the way to the door of acceptance.

Translated by Muzammil Nazeer