Have you ever been in a position where you’ve had everything in life: a great house, new cars, money and jewellery? Where you have shopped without looking at the price tags, with a great job and a budding career? And then everything was lost and you had to start over?
Well, I have. Having a fabulous house, I found myself homeless. Having driven brand new cars, I came down to literally driving a ‘banger’, which would stall at every junction because the clutch was faulty. Having money and jewels, I came to depend on the state benefits. This was a very painful period in my life with teenage children whose basic needs were even difficult for me to provide for.
I went from having everything to having practically nothing, but my family and my faith? My belief that this was a test from Allah (SWT) gave me the courage to face the challenges that lay ahead and I found Allah (SWT) with me every step of the way. He directed my footsteps on paths that I had travelled on many times, yet had never noticed.
This was a humbling experience, but one that I was glad I had prepared for because I had always prayed to Allah (SWT) to make me the giver and not the receiver (Except from Allah (SWT)). I had, for my part, been as generous as I could and I think it was this generosity that helped me get back on my feet.
I now again have my own house, a decent car, a job that has made me self-sufficient and I now find myself on the rise again (Mash’Allah – praise be to Allah). What this stage of my life has taught me is never to take what life has given you for granted for it can be taken away in the blink of an eye! Take advantage of good deeds at every opportunity that arises before it is lost!
Allah (SWT) is forever generous and merciful in providing for us through means we cannot even identify. Why should we then not do what we have been commanded to do? The wealth we have is leased to us to see if we can share what we have been blessed with, for if I wasn’t supported, I might still find myself incapable of providing for my basic needs.
Previously giving zakat has been a blessing for me and maybe a means by which I was supported through my darkest period, for what the recipients of zakat do is utter a prayer from their hearts as their needs are met. I think this is what happened; something must have pleased Allah (SWT) for me to have the life I have now.
Zakat is only 2.5% of the excessive wealth we have in terms of goods and money that we have possessed for a whole year. It may seem a lot at the time you calculate it, but if you pay by monthly instalments, just like all other types of insurances, it really doesn’t feel like much at all. You may estimate the wealth that you will accumulate that year, pay it by instalments and at the end of the year, do an exact calculation by using the Muslim Aid Zakat Calculator and pay the difference. If you have overpaid, then you can offset the difference against next year's zakat.
‘The righteously striving believers, who are steadfast in their prayers and pay the Zakat, will receive their reward from Allah. They will have no fear, nor will they grieve’ (2:277)
Zakat is a means by which Allah (SWT) has made sure that wealth is distributed from the wealthy to the poor within society as a whole and communities at large. It purifies the heart of the giver from selfishness and greed for wealth and develops a sense of empathy for those in need. It prevents anger and frustration from developing amongst the poor and the wealthy, the emotions of envy and hatred are kept at bay and a sense of unity is developed within the community.
If everybody gave their zakat dues honestly and they were distributed amongst the poor, the needy, the tax collectors, reverts to Islam, the slaves, the debtors, in the cause of Allah (SWT) and the travellers; no one on this Earth would go hungry or without, meaning they would be able to meet their basic needs.
The reward of our actions is with Allah (SWT), He has promised us Gardens of Paradise! Why don’t we insure ourselves for a place in Paradise by fulfilling one of the Five Pillars of Islam: Zakat? Don’t waste this opportunity! I’m really glad I didn’t as it was the giving of zakat that saved me from my darkest period. Let it be your saviour too!
Do you think the people of Palestine, Iraq and Syria have chosen to become refugees? They once had homes, cars, money and jewels, jobs and security! Donate to Muslim Aid and make your wealth go further by sharing a little towards one of these good causes to promote unity in Islam today. It is said that Allah (SWT) loves those who are most useful to other people; what a beautiful thought! To be one of Allah (SWT)’s most loved creations. What are we waiting for? Donate to one of our charity programmes today!